I looked out my window last week and saw snow. Snow! In mid-April! (And it hasn’t gotten much warmer since.) I love winter as much as the next gal, but this seemingly endless winter’s got me dreaming of warmer weather. Reading a guilty pleasure book on a sandy beach under an umbrella shading me from the toasty sun… That divine scene makes me think it might be time to plan a trip to Florida!
Whether you’re booking a family vacation, looking to get away with your significant other, or dreaming of summer adventures, military folk have lots of options in the Sunshine State. Check out this list of 13 Florida attractions with awesome discounts for service members and let me know if you have any to add to the list.
1. Busch Gardens Tampa, Tampa
Through the Waves of Honor program, active-duty service members, reservists, and National Guardsmen and up to three dependents are eligible to receive one complimentary admission annually to Busch Gardens Tampa (or SeaWorld or Sesame Place.) The offer is only valid for one visit at one park, so plan accordingly.
2. Dinosaur World, Plant City
Looking for a less lethal alternative to Jurassic Park? Check out Dinosaur World in Plant City where you’ll find outdoor and indoor dino displays along with interactive exhibits for kids. You’ll also find a great deal for service members and their families. With a valid ID, active duty military members receive free admission to Dinosaur World and their dependents receive $1 off admission to the park.
3. Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key
Hawks Cay Resort in the Florida Keys boasts a marina, lagoon, a variety of outdoor adventure experiences, and an annual Salute to Heroes. Active duty military and veterans receive a special discounted room rate. (Check the website for details on this year’s offer.) If you can’t visit during the Salute to Heroes, military personnel with a valid military ID receive 20% off accommodations year round.
Service members visiting the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex can receive $4 off general admission tickets with a valid military ID at the ticket window or by using the ID.me portal to purchase online tickets. Reservists, retirees, and active duty can also get their discount through a MWR/ITT travel office. Previously, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has offered complimentary admission to active duty, veterans, retired, and reserve service members plus 50% off admission for up to three guests on Veterans Day, so keep an eye on their website for a 2018 offer.
5. Legoland, Winter Haven
Build some colorful memories at Legoland Florida Resort and Water Park. All U.S. service members receive free admission to Legoland by bringing a valid military ID to a Legoland Florida Resort ticket window. Non-active duty, family members, and veterans can get discounted tickets at their base’s ITT office for a free second day admission, or receive 10% off daily tickets at the gate with a valid military ID. Legoland Resort also offers a 10% military discount on Legoland Hotel reservations booked online and with a valid military ID.
6. Miami Seaquarium, Miami
Want to dive with dolphins or party with penguins? Maybe you’d rather roam through a reef or swim with a seal? Find your way to the Miami Seaquarium. It offers active military personnel free admission, as well as 50% off general admission for up to 5 guests. Be sure to provide your valid military ID at the gate to receive this awesome offer!
7. SeaWorld, Orlando
Through the Waves of Honor program, any active duty military, reservist, or National Guardsman can receive one complimentary admission and up to three complimentary admissions for his or her dependants annually. The complimentary tickets can be requested for one visit to SeaWorld, Busch Gardens, or Sesame Place. A military ID must be provided for the benefit and verified with TroopID via ID.me. Additional tickets can be purchased at a base MWR office.
Interested in seeing a show while in Tampa? The Starz Center for the Performing Arts has you covered. Military members with a valid ID can receive two specially priced tickets for selected shows at Starz Center. These tickets are subject to availability and cannot be combined with other offers, so be sure to call the ticket sales office (813-229-7827) for up-to-date offers and additional details.
9. Sunken Gardens, St. Petersburg
Sunken Gardens is the urban oasis you need. This “living museum” is a botanical garden filled with tropical flora and fauna in the middle of St. Petersburg. While an everyday military discount is not available, the city of St. Petersburg has offered free admission to active duty and veterans on Veterans Days in past years. Be sure to check out the website for this year’s offer.
10. Treetop Trek, Melbourne
If you’re looking for skyhigh fun with rock bottom rates, Treetop Trek in Melbourne might be the thrill you seek. At the self-guided outdoor adventure park, service members can present a current and valid ID to get $5 off a variety of aerial adventure courses including the Canopy, Challenge Reloaded, Black Diamond, and Zip Only.
11. Universal Orlando, Orlando
Check out the specially priced tickets for Universal Orlando Resort available at your LTO or MWR. (Check the website for participating bases.) Whether you want base 1-park, 2-park, or 3-park tickets, you can get discounted tickets for one to five days at Universal Islands of Adventure, Universal Studios Florida, or Universal’s Volcano Bay. If you’re active duty, your military ID at the front gate ticket window entitles you to discounted ticket rates at Universal Orlando Resort.
Looking for something more all-inclusive? Universal Orlando created a vacation package just for service members. The package gives you hotel accomodations for three nights, early admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Universal Volcano Bay, and a three-park park-to-park pass good for four days. You can choose from a variety of resort accomodations, starting at $129. Check out all the options here.
12. Walt Disney World Resort, Lake Buena Vista
If you’re looking to head to Walt Disney World Resort, be sure to check out this offer for military personnel. Purchase your admission before December 15, 2018 and get up to six 4-day passes for $226 each or six 5-day passes for $246 each. You can even add the Park Hopper Plus option for only $40 per person and the Memory Maker product for $98. Valid military IDs are required for pass purchase and use. This deal does have a few more important details than some of the others in this list, so be sure to check out all the fine print here or contact your U.S. military base’s ticket office.
13. Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Spring Hill
Weeki Wachee Spring State Park is known for its live mermaids, but it should be known for its military discounts, too. Retired and active military service members receive 25% off annual passes (available for $60) and give the passholder free admission to Weeki Wachee Springs State Park, Buccaneer Bay Waterpark, Mermaid Shows, Wildlife Animal Shows, and River Boat cruises, plus free admission to all Florida State Parks. Any person with a service-connected disability can receive a free annual pass.