Big Cat Habitat: Big Cat Habitat and Gulf Coast Sanctuary, a nonprofit safe haven for big cats, bears and other animals in need, will offer free admission to local law enforcement officers, firefighters and their immediate families through October. The habitat will begin its winter schedule Oct. 16. Hours will be 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. Visitors can have an up-close view of the exotic and other animals in the sanctuary on self-guided tours. Regular admission: $15 adults, $7 children ages 12 and younger. Reservations are not required. Parking is free. Refreshments are available for purchase. The sanctuary is at 7101 Palmer Blvd., Sarasota. Information: 941-371-6377 or www.bigcathabitat.org.
Medieval Times Special Discount for Florida Residents: Now through Nov. 1, Florida residents can receive discounted admission at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament at $33.95 for adults, $29.95 for children ages 12 and younger, and children ages three and younger who can sit on a parent's lap are admitted free. Guests can celebrate fall medieval style during the Second Annual Masquerade and Costume Party Oct. 26 with shows at 6 and 8:30 p.m. and again 7 p.m. Nov. 1. Guests are invited to come dressed as their favorite knight, villain or vixen and partake in contests, games and raffles. In addition, there will be a special appearance by the Beck's Beer Girls. The Medieval Times tournament show features live jousting, sword fights, horsemanship and falconry. Visitors are taken back in time and encouraged to cheer for one of six "Knights of the Realm," with dramatic lighting, choreography and battle scenes conducted in period costume. To receive the Florida Resident Special, guests will need to present a valid Florida driver's license at the door. Medieval Times is at 4510 W. Vine St., Kissimmee. Information: 888-9356878 or www.medievaltimes.com.
Bank of America "Museums on Us": Bank of America's "Museums on Us" is offering cardholders free admission to some of the most exciting cultural venues in the United States Nov. 1-2. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can get free access to more than 150 participating museums in 94 cities and include the Florida Holocaust Museum and Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa and the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg. Present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card along with a photo ID to gain free general admission. The offer is valid for cardholders only, guests are not eligible. The program excludes fundraising events, special exhibitions and ticketed shows the first full weekend of each month. Information: http://museums.bankofamerica.com.
South Florida Museum New Planetarium and Projection System Debut: A free Open House Celebration for the South Florida Museum's new planetarium and projection system and shows will be 5-7:30 p.m. Nov. 7 to give the public the opportunity to view the most advanced planetarium technology in the world and the many interactive features this system offers. The event will offer ongoing Planetarium demonstrations, as well as astronomy games and activities, manatee presentations and access to the entire Museum. Light refreshments will be served and a cash bar will be available. The new Bishop Planetarium is state-of-the-art in astronomy education, with stunning multimedia capabilities. In addition to the new technology, the South Florida Museum will open several new shows over the next few months, including "Passport to the Universe" and "Perfect Little Planet." Information: 941-746-4131, ext. 0 or www.SouthFloridaMuseum.org.
Eighteenth Epcot International Food and Wine Festival: Disney guests can grab a Marketplace Discovery Passport and embark on a global tasting tour during the 18th Epcot International Food and Wine Festival now through Nov. 11 featuring inspired food-and-beverage marketplaces, high energy concerts and premium dining events. The aromas of more than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces, Africa, France, South Korea and Florida Local included and the new Scotland and Brazil marketplaces, waft across the World Showcase Promenade, and guests can have their own complimentary "passport" stamped at each location for a fun festival souvenir. There will be daily wine tastings and mixology seminars, culinary demonstrations and taste seminars, and nightly eat-to-the-beat concerts featuring Spin Doctors Oct. 31-Nov. 1, and Christopher Cross Nov. 2-3. Returning fan favorites include The Pointer Sisters, Smash Mouth, Boyz II Men, Sister Hazel, Air Supply, Hanson and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. The event is included with regular Epcot admission. The park is at 1200 Epcot Resort Blvd., Lake Buena Vista. For hours, ticket prices and detailed information go to www.epcotfoodfestival.com.
Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and Film Festival: Join Mote Marine for a screening of the film "Operation: Blue Pride" and celebrate the work of young people in the field of ocean conservation through a screening of student-created ocean conservation short films and exhibits highlighting youth-driven ocean conservation projects 6 p.m. Nov. 15 in Mote's Immersion Cinema and a Youth Ocean Conservation Summit 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Nov. 16 providing middle and high school students the opportunity to learn about the current threats facing marine ecosystems from marine scientists and conservationists. Participants will learn what fellow youths are doing to protect marine ecosystems and then will work with their peers to develop action plans for their own ocean conservation projects. Registration fee for the summit is $13, tickets for the Film Festival are $12 for adults, $6 for youth. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota. For detailed information and registration call 941-388-4441 or www.mote.org/education.
Herrmanns' Royal Lipizzan Stallions Homepractice performances: Herrmanns' Royal Lipizzan Stallions will begin their homepractice performances 3 p.m. Dec. 19 at 32755 Singletary Road, Myakka City. See these magnificent white stallions as they continue their homepractice performances 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. Saturdays through April 2014. Cost: $5 donation at gate. Information: 941-322-1501 or www.hlipizzans.com.
SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment Salutes Military with "Waves of Honor Program": SeaWorld Parks and Entertainment is honoring the men and women of the U.S. armed services through its Waves of Honor military salute program, providing free admission to the SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Parks, and Sesame Place through 2013. The program provides one complimentary admission through 2013 to the participating parks for the service member and as many as three of his or her dependents. Service members need to register either online at www.wavesofhonor.com or in the entrace plazas of the parks. All dependents 10 and older must present a valid military dependent identification of entry into the park. For park locations, hours and tickets, call 888-800-5447 or visit http://seaworldparks.com.
Busch Gardens and SeaWorld Weekday Tickets Offer: Explore Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin and the wonders of the sea at SeaWorld Orlando, or experience thrilling attractions and amazing land animals at Busch Gardens Tampa with the all-new $50 weekday ticket Mondays-Fridays through Dec. 20. For park location, hours and tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com.
Tampa Bay History Center: "Charting the Land of Flowers: 500 Years of Florida Maps," an exhibition featuring over 150 rare maps, documents and other artifacts from the 16th Century through today, will be on display now through Feb. 16 at The Tampa Bay History Center. The maps are on loan from the Library of Congress, the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, the University of Florida, the Matheson Museum in Gainesville, and other collections and include the first printed map to use the name "Florida," the first printed map to use the name "Tampa," an earliest known map of the City of Tampa, an earliest plat of St. Petersburg, the first map of Miami Beach, and the first map of Ybor City. The history center is at 801 Old Water St., Tampa. For hours and admission, call 813-675-8985 or www.tampabayhistorycenter.org.
Space Shuttle Atlantis: Historic spacecraft Space Shuttle Atlantis' is permanently on display at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This one-of-a-kind experience delivers extraordinary access to Space Shuttle Atlantis -- from only a few feet away, guests of all ages will be awed and inspired with an up-close, 360-degree view of the orbiter, the wear of its 33 missions apparent on its protective external tiles. Space Shuttle Atlantis features state-of-the-art multimedia presentations and more than 60 interactive exhibits and high-tech simulations. Kennedy Space Center is at State Road 405, Kennedy Space Center. For hours, admission prices and detailed information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex new annual pass program: Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has begun offering a new three-tiered annual pass programs allowing guests to customize their experience. The new tiered annual pass structure and benefits are:
Tier 1: Discovery Pass, $75 adults, $60 children ages 3-11
Unlimited admission for one year, 10 percent off admission tickets for up to six guests per visit, a Discovery Pass lanyard, and the Visitor Complex Newsletter
Tier 2: Atlantis Pass, $89 adults, $71 children ages 3-11
All Tier 1 Discovery Pass benefits plus free parking, 10 percent off souvenirs, 10 percent off food and beverage, 10 percent off Astronaut Training Experience and Camp KSC, exclusive special events and privileges, and an Atlantis Pass lanyard
Tier 3: Explorer VIP Pass, $129 plus tax for adults and children
All Tier 1 and Tier 2 Pass benefits plus one free KSC Up-close tour, one free lunch with an astronaut, a free collectible souvenir, and an Explorer Pass lanyard.
Guests who have purchased the previous Commander's Club annual pass within the last year will continue to receive those benefits through the expiration date of their pass. Among the new Visitor Complex attractions and enhancements included in admission are the Space Shuttle Atlantis, Angry Birds Space Encounter, and a new entry and fountain honoring President Kennedy. Kennedy Space Center is at State Road 405, Kennedy Space Center. For hours and detailed information, call 877-313-2610 or visit www.KennedySpaceCenter.com.
2013 Christmas Town at Busch Gardens: Busch Gardens' "2013 Christmas Town," featuring Santa's House, Penguin Point, SnowWorld by Coca-Cola and much more, will transform the park into a nighttime holiday wonderland of wintery surprises and all things Christmas, filling guests' senses to continue the beautiful new tradition for families on 18 select nights Nov. 29-Dec. 23. Guests can look forward to special entertainment, live music, festive treats, holiday shopping and thousands of twinkling Christmas lights. Christmas Town is a separate-ticketed night event, and regular daytime Busch Gardens admissions is not required or included. For park location, hours and tickets, visit www.SeaWorldOrlando.com or BuschGardensTampa.com.
"Santa Jaws at Mote Marine": 'Tis the season to meet Gilly, Santa's helper shark at Mote Marine Laboratorium and Aquarium nonn-2 p.m. Nov. 30, Dec. 7, 14 and 21. Guests can take pictures with Mote mascot Gilly the Shark, who will be dressed for the holidays as Santa Jaws. Photo ops with Santa Jaws are free with admission to Mote. Aquarium visitors can also see more than 100 marine species, including sharks, dolphins, sea turtles, manatees and fish of all shapes and sizes. Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium is at 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota. For hours, and ticket prices, call 941-388-4441 or www.mote.org.