Fun in Fantastic Florida
Baseball Enthusiasts and More
By Jake Kone
Watching a game at Jetblue Park
It's the first day of your Florida adventure. We're going to watch the Red Sox play a spring training game at their spring training field. Some history of the field is that the Red Sox refer to their new spring training field as Jet Blue Park at Fenway South simply because the ballpark was designed to replicate Boston's home up north. This was most noticeably accomplished with the installation of a 211-foot long green wall in left field. The Fort Myers version of the Green Monster also features a hand-operated, vintage scoreboard. The Jet Blue Park's manual board was the same one affixed to Fenway Park's Green Monster until 2001, after which it was moved to South Dakota for storage. It was retrofitted to reappear in Southwest Florida, where the playing field dimensions are identical to those of the fabled century-old ballyard in Massachusetts.
Scuba Diving in Orlando
This is the second day of your trip. We are going scuba diving in Orlando. Scuba World’s roots in this community go all the way back to the days when sporting good stores were the only place to find swim and scuba (self contained underwater breathing apparatus) equipment. Ed Peasley was the owner of Edgewood Sports Center (later Jim Hollis´ Scuba World) located at Winter Park Road and Corrine Drive here in Orlando. Ed was one of the first businessmen to cater to the new sport of scuba diving in the 1950s and ‘60s. In the early years of scuba diving there was very little industry policing of the sport, and Ed did something that you would never see today, a coin operated air fill station, truly ahead of his time for diver convenience.
Visiting a Sunflower Seed Making Factory
It's day 3 of our Florida adventure. Today I'm bringing you to a sunflower seed making factory in Orlando. The seeds are shelled using a centrifugal air machine. The seeds are dropped into an air stream and shot towards a hard metal plate. They hit the plate with great force and crack open. As the residue drops the husk is lighter and is blown by air to the side and the finished seeds drop into a bin where they are moved on to packaging. At the end of the tour, you will get to sample the product!
It's now day four of our tour. Today we are going to watch a baseball game at the brand new Marlins Park. The history of the Marlins home field before playing at Marlins Park, goes back 18 years to Sun Life Stadium. Sun Life Stadium was hampered by South Florida's weather which affected the draw of fans that attended Marlin games at the stadium. People were just not willing to sit in the extreme heat or rainy weather. Therefore, in April 2012, that changed as the Marlins moved into the newest ballpark in baseball. It was built at a cost of $515 million dollars. On April 4, 2012 a new chapter began in the history of the Marlins as they played their first game against St. Louis Cardinals. The team moved from the largest stadium in baseball to the smallest as Marlins Park has a seating capacity of 37,000. The structure consists of white stucco, silver metal and glass. The three panel retractable roof prevents any rain delays and opens or closes in 13 minutes. Behind the outfield fence in left-centerfield is one of the most unique homerun features in baseball. The colorful, $2.5 million, 75 feet tall structure features moving waves along the bottom and spins marlins, seagulls and flamingos anytime a Marlins player hits a homerun. Marlins Park will be the second ballpark in baseball to feature a pool. This will be a great day!
A Fun Day at Busch Gardens
On our last day we will relax and enjoy a theme park. Busch Gardens is a great combination of attractions, rides and animal exhibits. The history of the park starts when itopened on March 31st 1959 as a hospitality center for Anheuser Busch Company. They use to let customers sample their product. They use to have a bird garden and a Stairway to the Stars which was an escalator that took guests to the roof of the brewery. The park keep expanding until it became what we call Busch Garden today.