Sunny Southern Sunshine Tour

An Uplifting Journey Through the Heart of the Sunshine State

Day One: Swim with Manatees in The Fountain of Youth

Ponce De Leon Springs in Ponce De Leon, Florida is a state park named after the explorer who once thought these springs might be the "fountain of youth." Ponce De Leon was one of many explorers who came to Florida in search of treasure. His treasure, however, was an idea that there might be a fountain that provided immortality.


Today manatees, tourists, and locals swim together in the turquoise springs that remain a cool 68 degrees all year long! The spring is the convergence of two underground waterways and is surrounded by a hardwood forest.

Day Two: Yo Ho Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for We!

Today we will experience a living history experience on the high seas at Tampa's Gasparilla Pirate Festival!


This festival celebrates the rich pirating history that makes Florida so unique. Florida's pirate history was most active during the 1700s and influences popular culture to this day!

Day Three: Timucua National Preserve

Today we will visit the Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve and experience 6000 years of human history in Florida as well as one of the last remaining untouched coastal wetlands on the Atlantic coast.


This special site is loaded with Florida history beginning with the Indigenous group the Timucua. The Timucua were a nation of American Indians who were known as fierce, athletic and independent. The preserve also includes the Kingsley Plantation that exhibits what life was like on a Florida Plantation in the 1800s. There has also been discovered on this preserve a graveyard of Enslaved Africans that is located close to the plantation's slave quarters.


The special natural features that are here to see include salt marshes, coastal dunes, and hardwood hammocks. All of these elements make Florida's ecology unique and worth observing and protecting.


DID YOU KNOW?

The first translation of an American Indian language into a European language – which was Timucuan translated into Spanish - occurred on lands within the Timucuan Preserve in the late 1500s.

Day Four: Haitian Heritage Museum and Dinner at Tap Tap

Haitian culture is an important part of our Florida tapestry because there is strong Haitian presence in our state and the Florida Haitian population is rising. At this special museum dedicated to celebrating the heritage and art of Haiti, we will see three exhibits: Heroes, Art Journey, and Map Quest. Heroes will show us important Haitian heroes and their contributions throughout history as well as today. Art Journey will take us on an exploration of the beautiful, unique and intricate visual art of Haiti. Map Quest will educate us about the unique landscape of Haiti as well as Haitian contributions around the world, in Florida and France.


Our Dinner at Tap Tap will give us a taste of delicious Haitian foods that are abundant in Florida like fish in lime, pumpkin soup, stewed chicken and lime sauce! Yum! While we eat our eyes will feast on the bright, vivid and narrative murals that are uniquely Haitian.

Day Five: A Panhandle Pioneer

Thursday, Aug. 22nd, 9am

Blountstown, FL

Blountstown, FL

Today we will visit the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement! This amazing attraction is a living history site. This settlement will bring us back in time to the period 1820s and the time Florida was considered part of the American Frontier. However, this site has artifacts from the 1820s to the 1940s throughout periods of Florida History known as the American Frontier, Statehood, Civil War, Reconstruction, Immigration, and WWI.


Some things we might see are an old fashion general store and blacksmith shop. You will have a choice of enrolling in either a pine needle weaving, blacksmith, fireplace cooking and a jam and jelly making class!

Day Six: Seminole Saturday

We will start the day at the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum where we will discover the beauty of Seminole Culture. Seminole history in Florida began in the 1700s and is still alive today.
Alligator Wrestling at the Museum.mp4