Established in 1894 by railroad tycoon Henry Flagler, West Palm Beach is at the northern end of Florida's "Gold Coast" which also includes Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach. To the east lies Palm Beach and the Atlantic Ocean; to the west Loxahatchee Wildlife Preserve and Everglades National Park.
West Palm Beach is the largest municipality in one of the fastest growing areas in the United States. The Port of Palm Beach, Palm Beach International Airport, The Florida Turnpike, US Highway 1, and I-95 are the sea, air and highway ports of entry to this city of blue skies and sunshine.
Over the past decade, the city of West Palm Beach has succeeded in restoring and revitalizing its downtown area, and has recently opened an amazing 55 acre shopping, living, and entertainment center known as CityPlace. CityPlace does not replace downtown, but is a natural extension of downtown. Free parking for 3200 cars, and replicas of vintage trolleys make transportation a "no problem" situation.
CityPlace adjoins the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts, a 2200 seat glass, marble, and copper showcase which has additional parking to accommodate its guests. The 250 seat Rinker Playhouse on premises includes a space for children's programming, family productions and other special events. The Palm Beach Opera stages four performances at the Kravis Center each winter. There are performances by the Palm Beach Philharmonic Orchestra as well.
Along beautifully landscaped Clematis Street are boutiques and restaurants in authentically restored buildings, a very popular fountain, and the center of area nightlife. There is a free downtown shuttle by day and free on-street parking at night and on weekends. For those who wish to enjoy a night or afternoon of gaming, there are daily casino cruises departing from the Port of Palm Beach for nearby international waters. On land , there is the Greyhound track and Club.
Golf, polo, and the full spectrum of water sports including snorkeling, diving, swimming, surfing, boating and fishing are all available year round. Museums and galleries provide exceptional collections, and there are many activities of interest to families with children. Among these are the 22 acre Dreher Park Zoo with its creature friendly natural habitats, the South Florida Science Museum, Aquarium and Planetarium, and Lion Country Safari. The latter is a 500 acre preserve which contains species - appropriate habitats in which 1300 wild animals roam and are protected. Residents of the preserve include lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, antelopes, chimpanzees, ostriches, and water buffalo. Visitors drive through on 8 miles of paved roads accompanied by an excellent self guided tour on cassette tape.
Across the Flagler Bridge is the exclusive island community of Palm Beach. Its world renowned trademark is Worth Avenue with countless designer boutiques. A few short blocks from downtown, along County Road and Ocean Boulevard (the shore road, also designated as Route A1A), are Palm Beach's mansions and the well tended beaches leading down to the glorious expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.
South of Palm Beach, along Route A1A, are Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, and Delray Beach, which offer more shopping, dining, and recreation options. North of West Palm Beach are Singer Island, Juno and Jupiter with their miles of inviting beaches and parks. The phenomenon of the migration, nest building, and hatching of sea turtles takes place annually in that area, and outshines any human - engineered attraction. The 221 square mile Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, a part of the incomparable Everglades, is located in the surrounding area. Beyond are sugar cane fields and the road to Lake Okeechobee.
Whether you are seeking relaxation, entertainment, shopping, or a variety of land and water sports, you will find that your vacation dreams are sure to come true in this popular vacation destination.
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