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Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

Forget Las Olas and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Give those out-of-towners a taste of the real grit-in-your-teeth, mosquito-in-your-ear, 'gator snappin' Florida. Here's the Sunshine State without the convention-and-visitors-bureau crapola. The village is a little bit of modern-day, Native American life in a clearing in the middle of the Everglades. Sure, there...
Article

Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

Forget Las Olas and Fort Lauderdale Beach. Give those out-of-towners a taste of the real grit-in-your-teeth, mosquito-in-your-ear, 'gator snappin' Florida. Here's the Sunshine State without the convention-and-visitors-bureau crapola. The village is a little bit of modern-day, Native American life in a clearing in the middle of the Everglades. Sure, there are guys who wrestle alligators for your entertainment (look for scars on the rasslers' faces, if you doubt the danger) and air boats to take you skimming through the marshes. There are foodstands with fry bread and Indian burgers, too. But the centerpiece is the village's classy Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum ($6 for adults, $4 for kids), with artifacts, full-size models, and a mile and a half of boardwalk nature trails that give you the up-close skinny on the wilderness that's ready to move in when your back is turned. On your way out of town, pull over to the side of the road, turn off the motor, and watch the surface of the still water that laps against the berm. Those log-like things floating out there -- those are alligators ready to snap. (Take I-75 to Exit 49, drive north for 17 miles.)
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Best Place to Take Out-of-towners

When we want to impress visitors, we show them a slice of Florida the way Juan Ponce de Leon encountered it 500 years ago. The beaches will never be the same, of course, but the Everglades have the same silvery light they always had, the same towering clouds, the tropical...
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Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

The cousin-from-Camden contingent has arrived, half a dozen nippers in tow, and by day six, you've stage-managed everything from airboat rides in the Everglades to daytrips to Disney. Worse news is in store: Your loud-mouthed sister-in-law has dropped in for a surprise inspection. Drastic times require drastic measures, so raise the salty old ghost of Cap Knight. Cap's Island Restaurant, which is set in two 80-year-old buildings on an island at Lighthouse Point, can be reached only by ferry. And it boasts enough nostalgic charm and locally caught seafood to stifle the in-laws -- at least for as long as it takes 'em to down a glass of chablis at the hand-built bar, peruse a couple of hundred old-Florida photos, and read all about how Cap and his wife ran a gambling and bootleg rum operation on the premises. If you still need a little distraction, introduce them to the Knight family -- a sister and two brothers who still run the place. Then all of you can polish off a plate of broiled dolphin ($24.95) and a slice of lime pie ($5.95). Sate them with histories, stuff them full of house-made fish dip, and for pity's sake, send them home on the next 747.
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Best Place to Take Out-of-Towners

The Marinelife Center has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 1983, when it opened in borrowed space in a real-estate agent's office. Now, the center cares for about 1,500 turtles a year. Most are hatchlings that couldn't make it to the ocean, but many are injured or sick sea turtles brought to the center for rehab. Fishing equipment and boat propellers cause the most damage. But turtles also convalesce at the center for shark bites and another widespread turtle ailment: flatulence. Yes, gas, which prevents turtles from sinking (as you'd guess, they're fed Beano). Visitors can view the turtles as they rehab in tanks in the center's backyard and watch as they're fed sardines by the six paid staff and a team of volunteers. During turtle egg-laying season in the summer, the center also leads nighttime beach walks and has a "junior marine biologist" program for teenagers. And soon, the center will spend $4 million in donations on a new, 10,000-square-foot facility that will triple its existing building. That is quite a ways from sharing space with a real-estate agent.
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