All About Florida – Land of Sunshine

Remember the tourism campaign from years ago- Florida- See It Like A Native? Like the New Yorkers who never make it to the Empire State Building, too often it takes a visit from out of towners to encourage us to sample all that our state has to offer. Maybe the slogan should have read- See It Like A Tourist.

For instance- the beach. None of us are much more than an hour away from the coast but when was the last time you went? Have you ever had­ a yen to take a detour on the way home from work or from picking the kids up from school? It doesn’t have to always be a major packing ordeal- people often attempt to carry more out onto the sand than Hannibal did crossing the Alps. Simplify your life and your beach time.

Let this be your encouragement to grab a couple subs, some sodas and take the kids to the beach for dinner or wake them up 45 minutes early and eat your English muffins on a sand dune. All day long the stray grains in your shoes will remind you of that last game of tag you played.

Get out on the water. From the largest cruise ship or Jungle Queen to your canoe or blow up raft, there is something to be said about celebrating a fact we learned in elementary school, Florida is a peninsula- surrounded by water. Why not take a day to enjoy it?

Day in and day out we pass by the best ethnic restaurants, internationally respected museums and natural wonders that should take our breath away. How about Ethiopian food tonight? This weekend might be the perfect time to explore Peanut Island. Driving in South Beach is sure to be more entertaining then the next movie you download. 

In the interests of introducing you to some of the treasures in our own back yard, down the street or even across the state, this issue is all about the activities, events, people and places that make South Florida the envy of the nation. We’ll remind you of your first sub at Las Spadas and encourage you to tube down the Peace River. Whether your idea of a great day is watching the dolphins cavort at the Miami Seaquarium or Sun Life Stadium, we’ll have plenty of great suggestions for you and your family to enjoy.

It would take more than a single issue to present an exhaustive list. So we encourage you to add your input online at www.goodnewsfl.org whether you are offering more details about your experiences at a destination that we touted or want to castigate us for overlooking a treasure. 

Some of the activities are free, many are very inexpensive, and we’ve even thrown in a splurge item or two for that once in a lifetime experience. In hopes to get you out to enjoy our all our beautiful state has to offer, we will be giving away tickets to these must visit spots in the month of March. So check us out on twitter or facebook to enter to win tickets to the listed hot spots.­

From the days of Flipper and Miami Vice to last week’s episode of The Glades or CSI: Miami, the world is transfixed by the characters, images and beauty we take for granted. There’s a reason that Florida is one of the few states in the country experiencing a rise in population. There is so much that is unique to Florida. Ever strolled down Worth Avenue, watched the cruise ships come in at Port Everglades or the sun rise on one side of the state and set on the other? Have you taken an airboat ride through the Everglades, seen the Polynesian dancers at the Mai-Kai or gotten scuba certified? 

On the topic of only in Florida, alligator wrestling anyone?

When you’ve got friends visiting from out of town, what’s on your “Must Do” list? Not everything will strike your fancy or suit your interests but within this issue, we’ll remind you of some familiar local wonders and introduce you to some others which are sure to rank as your favorite memories of 2011. 

Florida Has a Church for Everyone

South Florida is home to a variety of Christian Churches; big ones, small ones, mega ones, house ones. Conveniently, there is something for everyone, although it might be hard to decide what’s for you. Many of these Churches are making a difference locally and globally. So if the Christian life seems a little boring, maybe you need to check out a few of these churches near you.

Calvary Jupiter 
Located in Jupiter Farms, Pastor Dan Plourde teaches chapter by chapter and verse by verse, illuminating the practical application of living out the Bible. The worship there is upbeat and contemporary. Their children’s and youth Life is an awesome example of the church’s responsibility to invest into the upcoming generation. If you’re looking for a church with a warm welcoming feel where sandals and jeans are the norm, than Calvary Jupiter is the place to be.

Bow Down Church 
For those living in West Palm Beach, checkout Bow Down Church located on North Australian Ave. Bow Down is pastored by Chris Tress who spent ten years plus involved in inner-city out reach. Bow Down is strongly founded on teaching the Bible as means to empower the church to reach out to their community. Bow Down encourages discipleship by plugging congregants into Christian community and Life . 

Grace Emanuel Bible Church 
In Jupiter, another church to consider is Grace Emanuel Bible Church. This church is strongly dedicated to the study of God’s Word and how it can be applied to every facet of one’s life. It is a great church to attend to be educated in the principles of the Bible and learn the importance of good doctrine. Weekly they have all sorts of different classes and ways to grow deeper in a relationship with God and others. They even have Hand Bell Rehearsal and a Dorcas Sewing Circle.


 Spanish River Church 
Spanish River Church, located in Boca Raton, is a well-known church in the 561 and 954 area. It is a great church to attend to get plugged into the Christian community of Boca. They have great worship, concrete bible teaching and a place for everyone in the family to get involved. Spanish River is filled with ministries that cater to infants, young single adults and married couples.

 Epic Church
If you are interested in attending something smaller, check out Epic Church. Epic is a home church in Coconut Creek. The slogan is: “Encouraging everyone to find their place in God’s story.” Getting to know each other is strongly valued in their gathering, and for a home church, they have a pretty awesome website. Check it out at www.epic-remix.org . How will you find your place in God’s epic story?

The Harbor Church 
The Harbor Church in Fort Lauderdale is a down-to-earth church to get plugged into. It is strongly founded on biblical principles and encourages Christians to find their purpose and place in the body of Christ through whatever one’s gifts and talents might be. Their focus is on building strong fellowship by sharpening each other in the midst of home fellowships. They provide powerful teaching and an intimate and energetic time of worship; it’s also a great place to burn calories while you worship. 

Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale
Try visiting Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. They provide satellite campuses in Boca Raton, Plantation and Hollywood. Pastor Bob Coy delivers powerful chapter by chapter, verse by verse teachings. There is a great range of ministries to get connected with. Calvary Chapel is heavily involved in missions, supporting missionaries in twenty-two plus countries. Calvary also has a strong influence on the local community. One rare Life provided there is called King’s Kids (a Life for children with special needs.) King’s Kids provide excellent care for the special needs child so the parents can attend service without having to worry about a thing. Calvary Fort Lauderdale has so much to do and they are able to meet almost everyone’s need; they provide no excuse not to grow into an amazing relationship with Jesus.

Community Christian Church 
If you’re in the Tamarac area, visit Community Christian Church. Through Pastor Scott Eynon’s Sunday Bible teachings, you will see that he does a great job of communicating God’s infinite love for each individual. This truth is well represented through this church’s heart for missions and their strong involvement in ministries and non-profits throughout Broward County. If you’re looking to get plugged into a church quickly, consider checking out their wide range of ministries and classes. One of the best ways to get to know more about God and His purpose for your life is through Journey Classes which are short, information packed classes designed to assist you in your journey with Christ.

Christ the Rock Community Church 
In Cooper City one of many great churches to check out is Christ the Rock Community Church. An admirable trait about this church is their love to see the congregation studying God’s word daily. Visit their website (crcconline.org), where they provide daily devotionals and bible reading tracks. Their vision is to “Lead people to an ever-growing personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”

Calvary Chapel Kendal 
For those down south in Miami, check out Calvary Chapel Kendal. CCK is hip, relevant and does a great job of incorporating media into their services. Download their podcasts or watch their videos at their website www.calvarykendall.com. CCK’s impact is evident through Pastor Pedro Garcia’s applicable Bible teaching and the churches involvement in overseas missions and local ministries. Also check out Life 90.3. This new Christian radio station is owned by CCK and they have great teachings and music. Thanks 90.3 for bringing Christian music back to Miami! 

Florida Home Grown Ministries

What comes to mind when most people think of South Florida is fashion, beaches and Miami Vice. But look past the glitz and glam and you'll discover that South Florida is home to several ministries whose impact reaches across national, ethnic and generational boundaries. Below is a sampling of the South Florida organizations dedicated to making a difference.

Food For The Poor
Food For The Poor's mission is to turn the church of the first world to the church of the third world. The organization makes its home in Coconut Creek, Florida, and is the third largest international and development charity in the country. They feed over 2 million poor people every day. Food For The Poor doesn't just give away food and water, however. They teach the recipients to sustain themselves through raising livestock, starting small businesses and agricultural farming. Since their founding in 1982, Food For The Poor has become the most significant relief organization in the Caribbean and Latin America. For more information about how to get involved through a short-term trip or financial contribution, go to www.foodforthepoor.org

 Sheridan House Family Ministries 
Troubled teens want a relationship with adults they can trust. Restoring broken relationships with adolescents whose lives have gone off the rails is what Sheridan Hills Family Ministries has been doing for over 40 years right here in South Florida. The Life started in 1968 with a house that became home to eight wayward boys. Today some 70 middle school aged boys and girls are cared for, discipled and taught how to navigate life. Biblical principles are the magnetic north the compass points to. The organization’s president, Dr. Bob Barnes, and his wife Rosemary, teach growing, healthy family skills through seminars, books, cd’s and parenting curriculum. Check www.sheridanhouse.org to find a way to become involved in restoring lives and repairing families.

 Crown Financial Solutions
America’s Great Recession has more Americans pinned under the weight of debt than ever before in our history. Governments from federal to local, corporations big and small and individual families are all living through the consequences of years of unbridled spending, unsecured debt and unbalanced budgets. Lantana, Florida based Crown Financial Solutions, lead by Rob Kosberg, is restoring peace to families through the application of Biblical principles to the management of personal finances. Information on how to get started getting control of your finances is available on the Crown Financial Solutions website at www.yourcfs.com.

Christian Skaters
Skateboarding is a phenomenon sweeping through cities around the world with its own language and culture. Christian Skaters, formed in 2005, is penetrating the skater subculture with the gospel. Wherever skaters kickflip, boardslide or grind anywhere on the planet, disciples are being made through the Life that calls Fort Lauderdale home. There are several ways to be involved with Christian Skaters. Joining the prayer team, hosting an outreach in your community or contributing to the Life monthly are just a few of the ways to be involved. Roll on over to the Life website at www.christianskaters.com for the full downlow.

First Priority
Remember high school? Do you wish you could go back and do things over differently, equipped with the life experiences you have now? First Priority of South Florida targets one of the most hostile environments to the gospel of Jesus Christ: public middle and high schools. The Life reaches over 120 South Florida schools with teams made up of student leaders, teacher sponsors, and youth pastors from local churches. First Priority encourages students to view their campus as a mission field and equips them with a strategy to reach their peers. First Priority Campus Clubs have high visibility as they lead prayer at See You at the Pole rallies. Ways to be involved include serving as a Campus Coach, Faculty Sponsor, a donor or prayer partner. Churches and pastors also have an incredible opportunity to impact their communities’ students by partnering with First Priority. More details are available at www.firstpriority.cc

Hannah’s Home
Nothings defines “single” more than the loneliness of an unwed woman learning about an unplanned pregnancy. For the single woman, it can be the crisis of a lifetime. Hannah’s Home provides a haven for single pregnant women who find themselves in this situation. Here, the young woman will learn life skills and continue her education in nurturing, Christian surroundings. To volunteer at this Tequesta, Florida based Life , go to www.hannahshomesf.org and fill out the form or call 561.277.9823.

Hope Women’s Centers
“This was not the first time I had faced this situation. I had already made a choice for abortion in a previous unplanned pregnancy, and I was leaning in that direction again,” one young woman said as she told her story. Abortion is foisted on the public as a “smart” and “empowering” woman’s “choice” with very few tangible consequences. Hope Women’s Centers provides women that find themselves with an unplanned pregnancy the information to make a well-informed decision regarding the life growing inside their bodies. Counselors at Hope Women’s Centers teach that every life is precious and valuable to God. “My daughter is the greatest blessing of my life. Her life encourages me to keep on doing better and to strive to make something of my life. She fills me up with so much love – no one can take that bond away from us,” says another young client of Hope Women’s Centers. Find out more at www.friendsofhope.com.

His House Children’s Home
Abused, neglected and drug exposed children are cared for by Miami Gardens based His House Children’s Home. The organization was founded in 1989 by Jean Caceres-Gonzalez and provides a home-like campus setting. Committed to breaking the cycle of abuse, His House provides a range of services including residential care, foster and adoption placement, counseling, tutoring and many other life-enriching activities. Over 4,500 children have had their lives impacted by His House Children’s Home since its founding and, recently, His House is impacting lives internationally. To find out how to get involved at His House Children’s Home, log onto www.hhch.org.

4 Kids of South Florida
On a normal South Florida day, some three to four thousand children languish as orphans in the foster care system. 4Kids has made it their mission to reach kids in crisis with hope and provide them with a home centered on the love of Christ. The goal is to protect, provide and offer permanent solutions for children and their families. The list of volunteer opportunities includes becoming a foster parent, working as a mentor, providing administrative support, volunteering in a crisis pregnancy program or financial support. Find out more at www.4kidsofsfl.org.

OneHope
Founded in 1987 by missionary Bob Hoskins, and currently directed by Assemblies of God Missionary Rob Hoskins, OneHope is an organization driven to affect destiny by proving God’s eternal Word to all the children and youth of the world by equipping the local church and various ministries with Scripture engagement resources that speak to the heartfelt needs of a generation. In collaboration with the local church and other ministries – and working with local governments, schools and other non-government organizations – a message of hope has been given personally to over 714 million children and young people in over 125 different countries. To find out more, please visit www.onehope.net.

 Reef Ministries
“I feel closer to God underwater than anywhere else on Earth,” writes Tec Clark on www.reefministries.com. This is a sentiment expressed by the many SCUBA divers he’s worked with over the years. The Fort Lauderdale Life provides Christ-centered underwater adventures around Florida in Key Largo, Crystal River, Fort Lauderdale and Venice. They also host a cruise to Exuma Islands, Bahamas. At the core of the trips is the presentation of creation-based curriculum fortified with Christian doctrine. Professional SCUBA instructors provide the safe, Christian experience perfect for families, church groups and students. Contact Reef Ministries on their website at www.reefmimistries.com.
Schools 

Everyone wants their child to get the best education possible. With so many schools out there, how do you know which will be the best fit for your son or daughter? Here is a list of some of the best schools and Universities located in South Florida that offers students a great education and also a strong biblical foundation – ensuring success in life, both personally and professionally.

Palm Beach Atlantic University
This University was founded in 1968 and offers students 51 majors to choose from. Palm Beach Atlantic University is an interdenominational Christian university with a core emphasis on liberal arts. Students can choose from many undergraduate programs and also graduate programs in fields such as Pharmacy, Business and Psychology. Its location along the Palm Beaches and student population made up of many various races and nationalities make it an ideal college choice. More information can be found at www.pba.edu

Trinity International University
The Florida Regional Center of Trinity International University allows students to thrive in an environment of top-notch academic instruction combined with solid Christian doctrine. Located throughout Miami and Broward County, the University offers flexible schedules, accelerated courses and also divinity and graduate programs. To learn more about the Florida Campus, visit them online: www.tiu.edu/florida

Florida "Things to Do" List

Whether you are visiting Florida, or have lived here for a long time, you are bound to hear people talking about “the places you have to see”. Florida offers more than just beautiful beaches – cities with rich histories and historic landmarks to match are scattered throughout this beautiful state. Below are some favorites of South Floridians.

Museums

Miami Children’s Museum
This museum encourages those of any age to play, learn, imagine and create. Located in Miami on MacArthur Causeway, Miami Children’s Museum is open every day (with the exception of Thanksgiving and Christmas). The museum is chock full of permanent (and seasonal) interactive and bilingual exhibits and programs. For more info, visit: www.miamichildrensmuseum.org

Vizcaya Museum
This breathtaking museum is located in the heart of Miami and is officially a National Historic Landmark. Vizcaya Museums and Gardens deliver ten acres of stunning formal gardens, a Main House that will take its visitors back in time and also a rockland hammock (native forest). For those interested in art, interior design, landscaping, architecture and horticulture, this museum is a must see! More information can be found at: www.vizcayamuseum.org

Young at Art Museum
This Children’s art museum, located in Davie and currently showing its “Treehouses” Exhibition, also features studio art classes (drawing, painting, ceramics, sculpture, cartooning, etc), children’s birthday parties and art camps, along with exhibits and educational resources. A full calendar of events, as well as hours and location, can be found at: www.youngatartmuseum.org

Antique Car Museum
Established to preserve the history of the Packard Motor Company, this Fort Lauderdale Museum features a stunning collection of 22 pre-war Packard Automobiles and automobile memorabilia from 1900 to the 1940’s. A must visit for any car enthusiast! For more information, please visit: www.antiquecarmuseum.org

Flagler Museum
This Museum, also known as Whitehall and the Palm Beach mansion belonging to Henry Flagler, is a magnificent 75-room, 60,000 square-foot paradise. Built as a wedding present for Flagler’s wife, Mary Lily Kenan Flagler, this home was used as a winter getaway and established the Palm Beach season for the wealthy. To learn more about Museum tours, adult and children’s exhibits, or more about the Museum’s café, please visit: www.flaglermuseum.us

South Florida Science Museum
Explore amazing exhibits, a planetarium and aquariums…all at the South Florida Science Museum, located in Miami. With current exhibits including the Egypt Gallery, Out of This World and the biological exhibit – Nano World – this Museum is not to be missed by anyone – young or old! Learn more about the Museum at www.sfsm.org

Zoo’s/WildLife Activities

Jungle Island
African Penguins, Ligers, Orangutans, Tigers and more, all located right here in South Florida. Jungle Island is one of Miami’s most unique attractions – featuring exotic animals, exhibits and shows. For more information about events, birthday parties, weddings, etc and for hours and location, please visit: www.jungleisland.com

Butterfly World

One of Broward County’s finest attractions, Butterfly World features over ten acres of aviaries, botanical gardens and a breathtaking butterfly farm. Adults and children will be in awe of the wide array of stunning butterfly’s and hummingbirds that fly freely around visitors. With educational programs and a phenomenal gift shop, tourists and natives should take advantage of one of the best attractions Florida has to offer! For more information, please visit: www.butterflyworld.com

 Flamingo Gardens
Visitors of all ages can explore over 60 acres of lush gardens and an Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary at Flamingo Gardens. Tour groves, visit the Wray Botanical Collection or take a walk through the free-flight Aviary. Also on the grounds is a historic 1930’s Wray Home and gift shop. For more information, please visit: www.flamingogardens.org

 

Lion Country Safari
An adventure you and your children will never forget! Florida’s only drive-through safari and walk-through amusement park. Spend an entire day with over 900 animals, be a part of animal feeding experiences, eat, shop, enjoy the rides and more! Located in Loxahatchee, visit: www.lioncountrysafari.com for hours and address.

 

Miami Seaquarium
A 38- acre tropical paradise, located in Miami, Florida – here you can interact with dolphins, watch killer whales fly through the air, get up-close-and-personal with sea lions, manatees and endangered sea turtles. This world-class marine-life park features eight different marine animal shows daily and is sure to educate and inspire every visitor – child or adult! More information can be found at: www.miamiseaquarium.com

The Little Farm
Ditch city living for a while, bring the family down to The Little Farm and get a taste of the country life! The Little Farm is a traditional family farm with an emphasis on basic livestock production. With every animal hand raised and carefully selected, visitors can touch and learn in a safe environment. Over 50,000 children visit the farm every year. The farm also offers field trips, birthday parties and special events. To learn more about The Little Farm, visit: www.thelittlefarm.us

Monkey Jungle
With their motto being, “Where humans are caged and monkeys run wild”, visitors know they are in for a unique experience when they visit Monkey Jungle. Adults and children will be able to encounter gibbons, guenons, spider monkeys and a total of 30 primate species at Florida’s timeless attraction. This 30-acre reserve is home to over 400 primates. To plan your day trip, visit: www.monkeyjungle.com

Palm Beach Zoo
Located at Dreher Park in West Palm Beach, the Palm Beach Zoo is home to 1,400 animals and is situated on 23 breathtaking acres of tropical habitat. The Zoo also features a full-service restaurant, “Wings Over Water” daily bird show, an interactive water play fountain and numerous events and programs scheduled throughout each day. A summer camp program, field trips, outreach programs and special events are also offered at the zoo. Events, hours and location can be found at www.palmbeachzoo.org

McCarthys Wildlife
A breathtaking Palm Beach Sanctuary that rescues and rehabilitates wild animals. This #1rated attraction gives you the chance to explore (and photograph, if you like) animals such as White Tigers, Lemurs, African Lions, Great Horned Owls, Florida Panthers, Snakes and Reptiles galore! To learn more about tour info and directions, visit www.mccarthyswildlife.com

South Florida Not-To-Be-Missed Landmarks

Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour
Featured on Good Morning America and The Food Network, Jaxson’s Ice Cream Parlour is one stop that should be one everyone’s list – whether they are visiting South Florida, or taking up residence. Jaxson’s owner, Monroe Udell, has been serving up phenomenal ice cream treats and other delectable goodies to both children and adults for over 50 years. Located in Dania, one of Florida’s oldest city’s, Jaxson’s is home to the one and only Kitchen Sink – an ice cream masterpiece big enough to feed an army and served up….well, in a kitchen sink! To learn more about Jaxson’s, where the ice cream and toppings are made fresh daily, visit www.jasxonsicecre

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