Universal Orlando Resort 2017 Mardi Gras Celebration
The family-friendly version of the famed New Orleans bash will feature Cajun-style cuisine, authentic New Orleans flare, a spectacular nightly parade with exquisitely detailed Mardi Gras floats, and on select nights, live concerts by a star studded lineup of musical artists performing in the Music Plaza. They are: Jason Derulo, March 18. Earth, Wind and Fire, March 19, and The All-American Rejects, March 25. Various bands will be performing in the French Quarter, they are: Dirty Bourbon River Show, March 16-25. 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, 407-363-8000 or universalorlando.com. Through March 25.
Universal Orlando Resort Limited Time Offer for U.S. and Canadian residents
With the purchase of a 2-day, 2-park ticket for as low as $199.99 per adult, guests will receive two extra free days to enjoy the thrills and excitement of the destination’s award wininng theme parks, Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. The offer gives fours days’ access to select live entertainment venues at Universal CityWalk. This limited time offer is valid for purchase through May 3 and is valid for seven days from the first use and must be used in full by May 31. 6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, 407-363-8000 or universalorlando.com. Through May 3.
SeaWorld Seven Seas Food Festival
Come and sip an sample your way around the world of international street food traditions at the all-new Seven Seas Food Festival. Enjoy local craft beers and surprise your taste buds as you discover exciting new Asian, Latin, European, Polynesian and Middle Eastern flavors. The event will bring 14 live acts to SeaWorld Orlando’s Bayside Stadium. The line up is: ZZ Top, March 18. Phillip Phillips, March 25. Jack Hanna at Nautilus Theater, April 1. Village People, April 8. Commodores, April 15. Oscar d’León, April 22. Olga Tañón, April 29, Grupo Manía, May 6. May 13 artist to be announced soon. Tickets: $79 and up. All shows are included in the ticket price. 7007 Sea World Dr., Orlando, seaworldparks.com. Through May 13.
Bearadise Ranch, home to the famous Welde family bears, is offering Fall/Winter tours 11:30 a.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through May 2017. Educational presentations are part of the tour offering plenty of photographic opportunities for the nature lover or bear enthusiast. Donation: $8 children, $12 adults. Reservations are required. 6908 245th St. E., Myakka City, 941-322-2464 or bearadiseranch.com.
“Dinos Alive!” at Lowry Park Zoo
Grab the whole family and step back in time to the Jurassic and Cretaceous Eras and share in the fun surrounded by life size animatronic dinosaurs. Guests can transport and immerse themselves in another time when dinosaurs ruled the Earth. Take pictures and learn fun facts about how they lived. Tickets are $24.95 and up; free to members. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.org. 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. daily, February-August.
Busch Gardens Annual Food and Wine Festival
The annual festival returns with signature dishes and exciting new cuisine, as well as an expanded selection of wines, craft brews and cocktails. The festival will feature chart-topping artists every weekend with the headlining act starting at 7 p.m. on Gwazi Field. They include: Young the Giant, March 18. Jason Isbell and John Hiatt Trio, March 19. NBC’s The Voice finalists Craig Wayne Boyd and Adam Wakefield, March 25. El Gran Combo, March 26. DNCE, April 1. Walk Off The Earth, April 2. Hunter Hayes, April 8. Daya and and Matt Nathanson, April 9. The Band Perry, April 15. Newsboys, April 16. Gilberto Santa Rosa, April 22. Lynyrd Skynyrd, April 23. Bachata Heightz, Justin Quiles, Milly Quezada April 29. Tribute bands performing best of Jimmy Buffet, Queen, Bon Jovi and Prince, April 30. 10165 McKinley Dr., Tampa. seaworldparks.com/en/buschgardens-tampa. March 11-April 30.
‘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. Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can get free access to more than 150 participating museums in 94 cities and include the Tampa Museum of Art in Tampa and the Florida Holocaust Museum and 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. museums.bankofamerica.com. First weekend of each month, April 7-8.
Star Wars Celebration
Lucasfilm will host “Star Wars Celebration” featuring four fun-filled days of costumes, exhibits, a vibrant, interactive show floor, screenings, exclusive merchandise, celebrity guests, panels, autograph sessions, fan-inspired activities, and other surprises celebrating all things Star Wars 10 a.m.-7 p.m. April 13-15 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. April 16 at Orange County Convention Center, 9800 International Dr., Orlando. Tickets: $35-$75, children ages 5 and younger are admitted free. For detailed information visit starwarscelebration.com.
African Penguins at Lowry Park Zoo
Peer into the life and plight of the endangered African penguins at the newly renovated Penguin Beach campus at the Zoo. Eleven birds have returned to their outdoor beach-themed habitat following an extended “staycation” during construction, welcoming new colony member “Marcus,” a 1-year old male. The new facility is critical to the Zoo’s role as a leader in African penguin conservation. 1101 W. Sligh Ave., Tampa, 813-935-8552 or lowryparkzoo.org.
For a limited time Florida residents can ride the Orlando Eye, a 400-feet observation wheel at a special rate of $18 for adults, and $13 children ages 3-12. Proof of residency is required. Restrictions apply. 8401 International Dr., No. 100, Orlando, officialorlandoeye.com.
Palma Sola Botanical Park
Palma Sola Botanical Park features landscaped grounds, specialty gardens, a rare fruit tree section, lakes, a gazebo, a screened pavilion and play ground. Restroom and picnic tables are provided. Sidewalks and paths wind through the 10 acre grounds. The Galleria building features a large room, suitable for weddings, parties and other celebrations and is for rent through the administrative office. Admission to the park is free. 9800 17th Ave. NW., Bradenton, 941-761-2866 or palmasolabp.com. 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
RealRail Train Displays
Come enjoy the operating train displays. Admission is free. 6804 14th St. W., Bradenton, realrail.org. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays, except on holiday weekends.