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Palm Beach

Long heralded as a playground for the rich and famous, Palm Beach County is also surprisingly replete with family-oriented activities.

Palm Beach County’s illustrious past is on display in the fabled town of Palm Beach, where mansions commissioned by Vanderbilt, Whitney and Wanaker line shady avenues and more than 100 private residences are historical landmarks.

Visitors can view the lovely homes and explore exclusive residential streets on bike rides through the area. For an intimate glimpse at opulent turn-of-the-century living, Henry Flagler’s mansion, Whitehall, is open to the public, featuring many of its original Victorian furnishings and 'The Rambler, an 1886 railroad car built for Flagler’s personal use. Visitors can also walk in the wake of the rich and famous on Worth Avenue, one of the world’s most exclusive shopping districts. Here, shoppers may spot one of the many celebrities who visit or make their home in Palm Beach County, including Zsa Zsa Gabor, Prince Charles, Estee Lauder or Donald Trump.

In addition, several narrated sightseeing cruises offer waterfront views of the mansions of Palm Beach, Manalapan and Boca Raton.

In northern Palm Beach County, Jupiter’s historic triangle provides families with a peek into the area’s history. The historic complex is comprised of the Florida History Center and Museum, a Florida cracker-style building featuring the "History Shaped by Nature" exhibit; the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, the county’s oldest structure; and the DuBois Pioneer Home, the county’s oldest home and repository for historical artifacts.

To the west, visitors can meet a 6-foot-tall blue emu face-to-face and tour the production facilities for movies such as "Smokey and the Bandit," at Burt Reynolds’ Ranch and Studio Tour. On the 168-acre ranch, families can wander through interesting historical buildings, tour on-site production facilities and meet a variety of farm and exotic animals. And over at the Pahokee Museum, visitors will find tributes to two other famous native sons - country western singer Mel Tillis and professional football player Ricky Jackson.

For a wild time in West Palm Beach, visitors can drive through the Lion Country Safari’s 500-acre wildlife preserve and spot more than 1,000 free-roaming wild animals, from giraffes and bison to elephants and lions.

Unique sporting events await visitors to Palm Beach County. Join in a game of croquet, but be forewarned — locals take this game very seriously. Of the 250 clubs around the country, 16 are located in Palm Beach County. Spend a Sunday watching a polo match at one of several area polo grounds. Called "the sport of kings," royalty and celebrities alike flock to the matches played from December through April.

For a truly off-the-beaten-path experience, head out to the Callery-Judge Grove, a 4,000-acre citrus grove featured on the "Palm Beach County Growing Tour." Showcasing 17 different varieties of citrus and a newly opened packinghouse that is more than two acres under one roof, the Callery-Judge Grove is the only commercial packing operation currently open to the general public. Visitors learn about the citrus industry from fruit production to packaging.

For an aquatic adventure beneath the water’s surface, visitors can suit up and dive to explore the more than two dozen wrecks and reefs that lie off Palm Beach County’s shores. Diving enthusiasts can search the brilliantly colored corals alongside such reef inhabitants as large sea turtles, moray eels, nurse sharks and a spectacular array of tropical and sport fish of every size and color. And only off Palm Beach will divers find an artificial reef created by a 1965 vintage Rolls Royce!

Further south, divers can explore more than 54 artificial reefs and 18 major shipwrecks offshore from Broward County. Sixty-nine miles of natural reef in three tiers frame shallow waters ideal for snorkeling, as well as silent depths to challenge the most proficient scuba diver.

Along Palm Beach County's sparkling beachfront, taking in Jupiter/Tequesta in the north to Boca Raton in the south, couples can visitors the romance of the sea. In the northern part of the county, climb the 105-foot-tall, bright-red Jupiter Lighthouse, the oldest existing structure in the county, or explore unusual underwater reefs. For a truly one-of-a-kind experience, visit Jupiter’s Last Galleon, the only facility in the United States where the public can observe the archaeological process of artifacts being recovered from a 400-year-old sunken Spanish galleon, believed to be the oldest found in Florida waters.

Many art galleries, museums, theater troupes, orchestras, and ballet and opera companies adorn the Palm Beaches. Stroll through the Norton Museum of Art’s prestigious collection of French impressionist masterpieces, meditate in Japanese-style gardens at the Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens or gaze at the planets through South Florida Science Museum’s public-use telescope.

With world-class accommodations and world-renowned style, Palm Beach County offers business travelers luxurious surroundings and plentiful recreation. With 145 area golf courses, Palm Beach County boasts more golf courses than any other county in the nation. Business travelers can tee off on the same courses that famous golfers such as Jack Nicklaus and Beth Daniel enjoy. Special "Golf-A-Round" packages include free greens fees during the "value season" and reduced fees during the "high season." In addition, visitors can serve and volley at over 1,100 tennis courts throughout the county.

Enjoy nearly 50 miles of beaches and dozens of offshore reefs, tempting visitors to plunge into the sapphire waters as soon as the meeting ends. Fishing fanatics will want to 'drop a line' along the Palm Beach County coast, where the Gulf Stream comes closer to shore than anywhere else in the United States. Whether heading offshore for sailfish and blue marlin or inland for bass and panfish, anglers will find plenty of game fishing opportunities.

After hours, visitors can choose from more than 2,000 restaurants and night spots, or spend the night enjoying an opera, symphony, ballet, Broadway show or modern dance performance at one of the area’s numerous cultural venues. And visitors can shop the world-famous Worth Avenue in Palm Beach or the modern Gardens Mall in Palm Beach Gardens.




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Source: FLAUSA; magazineUSA.com
Last modified: 20070424
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