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Conquering Florida: Tamiami Triathlon Through the Everglades

In this episode of Conquering Florida, motocross champion Ricky Carmichael and his manager, J.H. Leale, go head-to-head on the Tamiami Triathlon through Everglades National Park in South Florida. They kayak through the swamps, hike the trails and bike to the finish line. Along the way, they learn about the beauty of the Everglades and get close to some of its inhabitants.

Calendar of Events for SeaWorld Orlando

NOTE: All events, festivals and concerts are included in park admission. 

Wild Days – Saturdays and Sundays, January 16-31

Wild Days connects guests to the wild and wonderful world we all share, with educational and interactive shows that give guests the opportunity to meet leaders in the world of animal rescue, rehabilitation and preservation.

Praise Wave – Saturdays, March 12-26

With the return of Praise Wave, guests can celebrate Christian fellowship and fun at SeaWorld Orlando. Uplifting, live concerts from the hottest names in faith-based music will light up the stage at Nautilus Theater.

Viva la Música – Saturdays, April 16 & 23 and May 7 & 14

Viva la Música is a fiery Latin music and food festival for the entire family. Guests enjoy hot concerts by popular Hispanic artists and bands, and authentic Latin flavors specially prepared by SeaWorld’s very own executive chef, Hector Colon.

Summer Nights presents Summer of Mako – Every night, June 18 - August 7

As the summer sun goes down, the fun heats up at SeaWorld Orlando. Summer Nights gives families and friends the chance to stay in the park for more thrills and laughs. Nightly festivities feature a high-energy Shamu show, awe-inspiring celebrations and late-night thrills on everyone's favorite coasters. 

Learn More

SeaWorld Orlando's 4th of July Weekend Celebration – July 1- 4

On July 2 and 3, guests can enjoy performances from Country music icon Lee Greenwood at Bayside Stadium. Concerts begin at 6:30 p.m. and are included with park admission.

On July 4, families and friends can enjoy one of Orlando’s most magnificent fireworks displays at SeaWorld Orlando. The night sky will light up as bursts of bright colors fill the air during this spectacular, patriotic-inspired show featuring the 13th Army Band, Florida National Guard. Fireworks are included with park admission and can best be viewed from Bayside Stadium, show begins at 10 p.m.

Island Nights presented by Coca-Cola® at Aquatica, SeaWorld's Waterpark -July 8 - August 6

Beginning July 8, Aquatica heats things up with Island Nights presented by Coca-Cola® – an evening celebration of summer, taking place every night through August 6. Guests can enjoy a special Island Nights soundtrack, extended park hours, a daily happy hour from 5-7 p.m., an evening menu sizzlin’ with flavor at Waterstone Grill and evening kick-off parties with a DJ and dancers on Friday and Saturday nights. Event included with park admission to Aquatica.

Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

Halloween Spooktacular – October 1-30, 2016

SeaWorld Orlando’s Halloween Spooktacular immerses families in an underwater "fantasea" filled with trick-or-treating, whimsical characters, sea-themed activities and up-close animal encounters that could only come from SeaWorld.

Credit: SeaWorld Orlando

Christmas Celebration – 11/25/2016 - 12/31/2016

Waves of holiday spirit splash over SeaWorld Orlando during its Christmas Celebration, where guests can make holiday memories by enjoying live shows, festive shopping and delicious food.

For more details and to purchase tickets, visit SeaWorldOrlando.com. Follow SeaWorld on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest news. Join the conversation with #SeaWorld.

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Summer Nights presents Summer of Mako – Every night, June 18 - August 7 As the summer sun goes down, the fun heats up at SeaWorld Orlando. Summer Nights gives families and friends the chance to stay in the park for more thrills and laughs. Nightly festivities feature a high-energy Shamu show, awe-inspiring celebrations and late-night thrills on everyone's favorite coasters.  Summer Nights presents Summer of Mako – Every night, June 18 - August 7 As the summer sun goes down, the fun heats up at SeaWorld Orlando. Summer Nights gives families and friends the chance to stay in the park for more thrills and laughs. Nightly festivities feature a high-energy Shamu show, awe-inspiring celebrations and late-night thrills on everyone's favorite coasters. 

Conquering Florida: Ricky Carmichael Tackles Florida Triathlon

Ricky Carmichael takes on the challenge of a Florida triathlon in Everglades National Park that combines kayaking, a hike through swamp land, and a bicycle ride.

Disney looks for family to be face of park

If you and your family think they could be the faces for Disney, you may be in luck. 

A casting agency in Miami has posted an ad for families to star in a new Disney commercial. 

It appeared earlier this month on Miami Talent Casting's Facebook page and has gained a lot of interest. 

>> Read more trending stories 

Apparently the Mouse House has a commercial planned that features real families, parents in their '20s to '50s and kids from 8 to 16 years old according to the write up.

Nationwide - Disney Commercial - REAL FAMILIES - MIXED ETHNICITIESrate $2500 per person plus travelshoots first week...Posted by Miami Talent Casting on Thursday, September 8, 2016

The gig pays well -- $2,500 per person plus travel. But there is a catch, you have to be able to travel to Europe, which means families would need passports for all family members, and they all have to be available during the first two weeks in October. 

Florida Seafood Festivals

Here’s a sampling of seafood festivals in the Sunshine State from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

All feature delicious local seafood, and many have live musical performances, arts and crafts vendors, children’s rides, parades, 5K run/walks, cooking demonstrations, and competitions such as oyster shucking.

Let’s eat.

JANUARY

Enter your best recipe and be a contestant in the oyster cook-off or just come out and enjoy a day of wonderful food, refreshments and music at the Apalachicola Oyster Cook-Off.

Photo: Bill Strength for VISIT FLORIDA 

Apalachicola Oyster Cook-Off

Apalachicola           

Florida Keys Seafood Festival

Key West

Port Salerno Seafood Festival

Port Salerno

FEBRUARY        

Clearwater Sea-Blues Festival    

Clearwater  

Chowder Cook-off Seafood Festival

Port Canaveral       

           

Cortez Commercial Fishing Festival

Cortez           

           

Everglades City Seafood Festival          

Everglades City      

Jupiter Seafood Festival  

Jupiter          

           

Port Canaveral Seafood Festival

Port Canaveral       

Did you know? Florida harvests four species of shrimp: pink, brown, white and royal red.

Daron Dean for VISIT FLORIDA

           

ShrimpFest

Fellsmere  

   

MARCH          

Dania Beach Arts and Seafood Festival           

Dania Beach

           

Deering Seafood Festival

Miami           

           

Grant Seafood Festival

Grant

           

Homosassa Seafood Festival      

Homosassa  

           

Marathon Seafood Festival

Marathon    

           

Marco Island Seafood Festival  

Marco Island          

           

Shrimpapalooza Festival 

Homosassa  

           

St. Augustine Lions Seafood Festival

St. Augustine          

           

Taste of the Sea Seafood Festival

Fort Pierce  

APRIL

Fort Pierce Oyster Festival         

Force Pierce

Isle of Eight Flags Shrimp Festival         

Fernandina Beach 

           

Panacea Blue Crab Festival         

Panacea       

           

Pompano Beach Seafood Festival        

Pompano Beach    

           

Treasure Coast Seafood Festival

Port St. Lucie          

MAY

Blue Crab Festival  

Palatka         

AUGUST

Did you know? Florida’s commercial spiny lobster season runs from August through March.

Julie Fletcher for VISIT FLORIDA

Key West Lobsterfest

Key West 

SEPTEMBER

Pensacola Seafood Festival        

Pensacola    

OCTOBER

Cedar Key Seafood Festival        

Cedar Key    

           

Destin Seafood Festival   

Destin           

           

Naples Stone Crab Festival         

Naples          

           

Panama City Beach Seafood and Music Festival      

Panama City Beach           

One of the most popular ways to serve stone crab is cold on a bed of ice with a mustard dipping sauce, but they are also commonly eaten hot with drawn butter and lime juice.

Stephen Kubiak for VISIT FLORIDA

          

St. Marks Stone Crab Festival    

St. Marks     

 

NOVEMBER  

 

Florida Seafood Festival  

Apalachicola           

           

John’s Pass Annual Seafood Festival   

Madeira Beach       

           

Ormond Beach Riverfest Seafood Festival     

Ormond Beach      

           

Ruskin Seafood Festival   

Ruskin           

           

Sponge Docks Seafood Festival

Tarpon Springs      

 

Stone Crab Jam      

Crystal River

           

Stuart Seafood Festival   

Stuart

           

Yankeetown Seafood Festival   

Yankeetown

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Let a Local Show You How Locals Live

From dining to arts to sports, companies offer private tours and tips from local experts to cater to your interests

The idea took root when Sarah and Shawn Ward, a longtime marketer and entrepreneur respectively, were vacationing with friends in the Hamptons. They wanted to go to a club but it was sort of exclusive and there was a line. One of the friends they were with was much more connected in town; he had a few words with the doorman, who quickly whisked the group inside.

That’s when it occurred to them: how cool would it be if anyone could hangout with a local while traveling? It affords you dependable advice about local haunts and hidden gems overlooked by guidebooks and, if you work it right, access to places that might otherwise be exclusive and inaccessible. And with that, Gibby Road was formed.

“It’s not that you’re told where to go. You don't get a curated list of places to check out. It’s just a chance to go around with someone—whether you know the person or not—and it’s like having a friend of a friend who’s an expert," explains Sarah Ward. "There’s this idea of ‘come with me’ infused throughout the whole Gibby Road concept.”

The site went live in in August with more than 100 local “gibbies” in three states. The guides sign up, explain the experience they offer, and provide a bio and their contact information on the website so that you can get in touch with them directly while deciding on whether to hire them. Fees are variable and range between $5 and $250. But the coolest thing about the site—and others like it—is that each individual offers highly specified tours, usually around a particular theme. You can go on a food tour in Brooklyn or San Francisco for instance, but there’s plenty that are more eccentric featuring places and things you likely didn’t know were a thing. In Detroit, for instance, you can go on a music tour with a longtime Detriot dweller and music industry vet. In Joshua Tree, CA, there’s a “surreal” art crawl with a local film producer featuring little known installations in the desert and a visit to Junk Dadaist, an outdoor museum. In Palos Verdes, CA, an adventure-loving ski instructor takes you to test drive a Tesla along the coast. Detroit’s every growing hipster haunts (pictured) are the focus of a tour of the Motor City's increasingly vibrant Downtown

“Going local trend that everybody is obsessed with. You even hear it from hotels that say ‘don’t be a tourist, live like a local,’ but that’s just four walls and a bed,” says co-founder Rachel Harrison. “What really allows you to be a local is actually interacting with and spending time with locals.”

Gibby Road is very much a product of our time. After all, that “come with me” ethos that Ward describes is increasingly infused throughout most of the way we travel, from AirB&B to Uber and other rideshare services. In fact, thematic local-led tours are a growing trend. 

Viator is the elder statesman of destination tourism, having launched in Sydney in 1995. It’s a bit more slick and glossy than the newer indie start-ups, having been acquired by TripAdvisor in 2014. It’s a network of more than 3,000 tour operators around the planet and its site is available in ten languages.  Vestigo, which launched in 2015, focuses on outdoor activities, from yoga to hiking to mountain biking. It’s largely offered in Georgia, where it was founded, and surrounding states. 

Your Local Cousin is much broader in scope. Like Gibby Road, locals sign up to offer tourists tips and insight when they travel. There are over 1200 “cousins” in 250 cities in 110 countries. Unlike Gibby Road, it is not a marketplace for purchasing hours’ or days’ worth of time with a guide. (Many of its cousins are independent tour operators, though, so the connection could end up with the option of a private tour.) YLC's network of cousins is pretty broad and eccentric. There’s a fishing expert in Victoria Falls, Zambia, for instance, and an Olympic silver medalist in field hockey offering tips in Amsterdam, to name a few.

YLC’s services are communication-based, allowing you to pick someone’s brain and answer your specific questions. You can connect with a Cousin over text (20 questions for $15) or communicate through the YLC platform (3 questions for $10). Have a phone conversation with a local to help you plan your trip (30 minutes for $15), or get a custom designed itinerary for one to 11 days ($25 to $60) to use as a guide as you explore a city on your own.

“The best source of information is always a network of friends and family,” says co-founder Aarti Kanodia. “We have a family of 1200 locals who really help you explore the way you should. They're a way to get a deep dive in the city.” 

See More From Budget Travel:Park-to-Park Adventure: Glacier to YellowstoneAmerica's Greatest Walking ToursBest Foodie Cities in America

Conquering Florida: Ricky Carmichael At Busch Gardens

Watch as Ricky Carmichael and his buddy experience all that Busch Gardens has to offer. They start on the 60 mph Cheetah Hunt roller coaster. Then their blindfold challenges are riding the SheiKra roller coaster and getting to know some of the park's flamingoes.

Sip Craft Cocktails at Odd Birds in St. Augustine

Odd Birds is a craft cocktail bar in the heart of St. Augustine's historic district that's serving up tasty tapas dishes and craft cocktails that use local ingredients and spirits.

Sip Craft Cocktails at Odd Birds in St. Augustine

Odd Birds is a craft cocktail bar in the heart of St. Augustine's historic district that's serving up tasty tapas dishes and craft cocktails that use local ingredients and spirits.

Sip Craft Cocktails at Odd Birds in St. Augustine

Odd Birds is a craft cocktail bar in the heart of St. Augustine's historic district that's serving up tasty tapas dishes and craft cocktails that use local ingredients and spirits.

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