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Act like a tourist this Memorial Day


Looking for a little bit of old, touristy tropical South Florida? Here are some of the best places to visit, from drive-by lions to bicycle-riding parrots.

1. Lion Country Safari -- SR 80 (Southern Boulevard), 15 miles west of West Palm Beach; 561-793-1084. Web site: Get up close and personal with wild animals at this drive-through safari featuring thousand of animals roaming free. There's also a walk-through park with exhibits and shows, a petting zoo, a bird feeding exhibit, boat tours, paddle boats, miniature golf, a restaurant, gift shops, picnic area and KOA campground. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, with park closing at 5:30 p.m. Admission: $24 adults, $22 seniors, $18 children 3-9, free for children under 3. Parking: $5. Pet kennels available.

2. -- Tradewinds Park South, 3600 W. Sample Road, Coconut Creek; 954-977-4400. Web site: Wander around three acres of lush, tropical gardens as thousands of live, brilliantly colored butterflies soar in the air. The park also features waterfalls, fish, hummingbirds, an insectarium, orchids and roses. Admission: $24.95 adults and seniors, $19.95 children 3-11, free for children under 2. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11-5 p.m. Sun. Gates close at 4 p.m.

3. -- 3551 N. SR 7, Hollywood; 954-961-4519. Web site: This private zoo and wildlife sanctuary is dedicated to "eco-tourism" and offers a unique experience for close encounters with native wildlife, including baby alligators, and panthers. Hours: 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11-4p.m. Sunday. Admission: $4 for children 4-12, $5 for adults, free for children under 3.

4. -- 4400 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami; 305-361-5705. Web site: Home of Lolita, the Killer Whale and TV superstar Flipper, this park for aquatic animals features sea lions and dolphins, a dolphin encounter, crocodiles, white-tailed deer, indigenous fish and sting rays. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Admission: $35.95 adults, $26.95 children 3-9. $8 for parking.

5. -- 12400 SW 152nd Street, south Dade, just west of Florida's Turnpike exit 16; 305-251-0400. Web site: This first-rate zoo is home to lions, tigers and bears as well as more exotic creatures like Komodo dragons and okapi (the only relative to the giraffe). You can also see a variety of feathered friends in their massive aviary called the Wings of Asia. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. daily. Ticket booth closes at 4 p.m. Admission: $15.95 adults, $11 .95 children 3-12, free for children under 2.

6. -- 16711 W. Dixie Highway, North Miami Beach; 305-945-1461. Web site: Built in Segovia, Spain, in 1141, the monastery cloister is the oldest building in the Western Hemisphere. Newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst brought the pieces of the building to America and in 1952, and Miami developers reassembled the monastery on its current site. Hours: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 1:30-5 p.m. Sunday. Gate closes at 4:30 p.m. Closed for special events. Admission: $5 adults, $2.50 students and seniors, $2 children.

7. -- 28655 S. Dixie Highway, Homestead; 305-248-6345. Web site: This amazing walled palace was constructed out of 2 million pounds of coral stone -- by one man working alone. Latvian immigrant stonemason Ed Leedskalnin is said to have discovered the secret to how the pyramids were built as he moved stones as heavy as 30 tons to create his castle, furnished with stone rocking chairs, a sun couch, coffee tables, a solar bath, a 9-ton gate, a sundial and a Polaris telescope. The privately owned home is on the National Register of Historic Places and open for tours and weddings. Continuous, 45-minute guided tours are offered of the three-acre site. Hours: Monday -Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday - Sunday 9 9 p.m. all year. Admission: $9.75 adults; $6.50 seniors; $5 children 7-12, free for children under 7.

8. -- 14805 SW 216th Street, Miami; 305-235-1611. Web site: It's monkeys monkeys everywhere at this tropical rain forest that also features more than 5,000 specimens of plants. Hours: 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Ticket office closes at 4 p.m.daily. Admission: $29.95 adults, $21.95 children 3-9, $27.95 seniors.

9. Jungle Island-- 1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, off Route 395, between downtown Miami and South Beach; Web site: This world-famous bird sanctuary features bird shows and exhibits, an open aviary, serpentarium and lush tropical gardens. Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. Admission: $27.95 adults, $22.95 children 3-10, free for children under 3.

10. -- 3251 S. Miami Ave., Miami; 305-250-9133. Web site: Vizcaya was built by agricultural industrialist James Deering, who spent his winters on the property from 1916–1925. Today, this history-rich Italian villa on Biscayne Bay includes a Main House filled with art and furnishings, 10 acres of gardens on Biscayne Bay, and a hardwood hammock (native forest). Hours: 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily, with gardens open until 5:30 p.m. Ticket booth closes at 4:30 p.m. Admission: $15 adults, $10 Miami-Dade County residents with ID and seniors, $5 children (6-12), and free for children under 5.

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