Busch Gardens "Howl-O-Scream" 2012: Howl-O-Scream 2012 opens with a Freaky Preview 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Sept. 21-22 and continues Thursday-Saturday nights, Sept. 27-29, Oct. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20 and 25-27 as Busch Gardens will be overgrown with dark, sinister, adult-targeted fun, including new haunted houses, scare zones, thrilling live stage shows, streets filled with insatiable hoards of devious creatures and a terrifying Trickster, and adrenaline-fueled coasters in the dark, including Cheetah Hunt. From 13 sinister superstitions to the claustrophobic halls of an insane asylum, Howl-O-Scream 2012's new haunted houses include Blood Asylum, Circus of Superstition 3-D, the Ultimate Gamble: Condemned, Nightshade Toy Factory: Mutation, Nevermore, Zombie Mortuary, and more. The event include dance club Club XIII, and Howl-O-Scream Shop of Horrors. Hours are 7:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursdays, and 7:30 p.m.-2 a.m. Fridays-Saturdays. Howl-O-Scream is a separate ticketed night event. No costumes are allowed. For tickets and full schedule of events call 1-888-800-5447 or visit TheDarkSideOfTheGardens.com. The park is at 10001 McKinley Dr., Tampa.
Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Epcot International Food and Wine Festival returns Sept. 28-Nov. 12 for its 17th year with beer and cocktails joining wine at the center of the festivities, along with over 25 Marketplaces with eclectic small tastes. Dozens of dishes will be served at the new Florida Local Marketplace, the Canada Marketplace, for vegans Terra Marketplace, and the Dessert and Champagne Marketplace. There are more than 70 tastes, ranging from $3-$8 each. Beyond food and drink, the popular Ocean Spray "Discover the Cranberry Bog" returns, the new and also fun for kids is the Watermelon Patch, and "Eat to the Beat" is back with live entertainment at the American Gardens at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. nightly during the festival with new bands Smash Mouth performing Oct. 11-12, Javier Colon Oct. 13-14, Blues Traveler Nov. 5-6, and Dennis deYoung Nov. 7-8. For ticket prices and a full schedule of events visit www.disneyworld.disney.go.com/parks/epcot. The park is located at 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd., Lake Buena Vista.
GWIZ: In a strategic move to secure its future, the Gulfcoast Wonder and Imagination Zone is eager to take a hiatus and renovate. This project will completely transform GWIZ and renovations are expected to be at least a two-month project beginning after Labor Day. GWIZ is taking the lead in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education with this renovation. The GWIZ galleries will be filled with new, modernized exhibits that GWIZ now refers to as Education AIDEs (Adventure, Imagine, Discover, Explore). GWIZ has launched a fundraising campaign that includes naming opportunities for the gallery zones and each individual AIDE. An online giving campaign is ongoing at www.Indiegogo.com/gwiz. GWIZ guests with current memberships, including all Faulhaber Fab Lab members, will be granted a membership extension equivalent to the amount of renovation time. GWIZ is located at The Blivas Science & Technology Center, 1001 Blvd. of the Arts, Sarasota. Hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For more information, call 941-309-4949 or visit www.gwiz.org.
Adventure Island Student Discount: Students of all ages can save up to $15 on an Adventure Island single-day admission ticket now through Oct. 14. Student tickets, elementary to high school, are $29.99. College students can receive the same rate with a valid college ID presented at time of purchase. Adventure Island is open weekends through Oct. 14 and offers 30 acres of water-drenched fun in the sun within a soothing Key West atmosphere featuring slides, corkscrews, waterfalls, a wave pool, a children's water playground and other family attractions. Regular single day admission tickets are $44.99 for adults and $40.99 for children ages 3-9. Children ages 2 and younger are admitted free. All children must be accompanies by an adult. For hours, tickets, schedules and information, visit www.adventureisland.com.
Big Cat Habitat Summer Schedule: The sanctuary is on its summer schedule and offers Sunset Safaris 4:30-7 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday through October. Visitors can have a up-close view of exotic and other animals at the sanctuary with special encounters daily. Admission: $15 adults, $7 children ages 12 and younger. Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary is at 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Information: 941-371-6377 or visit www.BigCatHabitat.org.
Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament: Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is inviting guests to travel back to the 11th Century with its new show. While some of the most popular traditions remain such as live jousting, sword fights, horsemanship and falconry, the show offers many new elements and a new story, battle scenes, costumes, new horse dressage, equine presentations by pure Spanish horses, Quarter horses, Friesians and Menorcans, a new musical score and an upgraded menu for the utensil-free meal. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament is at 3707 Edgewater Dr., Orlando. For a full schedule, hours and ticket prices, call 888-935-6878 or go online at www.medievaltimes.com.
Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween: Ghouls and goblins gather at Disney for a bewitching Halloween spooktacular during Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on 23 select nights through Nov. 4 at the Magic Kingdom. Guests are invited to dress up in favorite Halloween costumes for trick or treating and more 7 p.m.-midnight. Many popular Magic Kingdom attractions, including the Haunted Mansion, are available to experience and nightly entertainment features the twice nightly "Mickey's Boo-To-You Halloween Parade" led by the infamous Headless Horseman, followed by "HalloWishes," a green and orange fireworks display complete with Disney villains. Advance savings of $6 per ticket are available for select dates. Special after-hours tickets are required. Call for ticket prices and full schedule of party dates. The park is located at 1494 E. Buena Vista Dr., Lake Buena Vista. Information: www.disneyworld.disney.go.com.
New "Christmas Town" at Busch Gardens: Busch Gardens theme park is producing its first-ever after-hours Christmas event "Christmas Town," beginning Nov. 30. Spotlight will be on Christmas lighting, but also included will be special holiday decorations, shows, shopping and musical guests. The park will have distinct zones of decorations such as animal pattern decorations in the Cheetah Hunt walkway, and children's TV characters decked out in holiday great at Sesame Street of Fun, and pink, twinkling lights in the flamingo area. Some popular rides and coasters will be open on event nights, and Christmas Town visitors will also be able to experience many attractions not available during the day. Guests will board a steam locomotive for a carol sing-along, encounter penguins and visit Santa's house, experience real snowdrifts and other snow-related activities, and enjoy its traditional Christmas shows such as Christmas on Ice, Christmas from the Heart, Christmas Celebration and some added shows such as Jimmy Osmond's Christmas Jukebox, with nightly performances, and a Jars of Clay concert at Gwazi capping off the evenings. Christmas Town programming will be held 6-11 p.m. Fridays-Sundays Nov. 30-Dec. 23. General admission: $39.99 per person. The park is located at 10165 N. McKinley Drive, Tampa. Information: 888-800-5447 or visit www.buschgardens.com.
Kennedy Space Center 50th Anniversary: NASA is offering visitors rare access to several key areas of Kennedy Space Center during its 50th anniversary year featuring an array of authentic attractions showcasing the space program and opportunities for up-close viewing of ongoing rocket launches. A special Kennedy Space Center Up-Close Tour, giving visitors an insider's view of the space program from launch preparation to liftoff, has been extended through the end of 2012. A "Cape Canaveral: Then and Now" guided tour has been added, guiding visitors through the cape's 50-year history of space exploration. Photo ID is required for guests ages 18 and older. International guests must present valid passport to participate. Tickets for each tour: $25 adults, $19 children ages 3-11, in addition to admission. Included with admission is the regular bus tour, which explores the history of the Apollo moon and space shuttle programs. It includes a shuttle launch experience, astronaut training experience, live space launches, an astronaut encounter, lunch with astronauts, and a visit to the "Rocket Garden," the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame, Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, and an interactive exploration space exhibit. It provides visitors with panoramic views of launch pads, and stops at several key areas such as the Apollo/Saturn V Center and gives access to all exhibits. Call for operating hours. Kennedy Space Center is at State Road 405, Kennedy Space Center. Information: 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.