By Ben Gurglebop
Carol McFadden a travel and destinations writer living and enjoying the social life in Palm Beach. Even though I get to travel the globe, trek the world and dream of outer space, Palm Beach and West Palm Beach will always own my heart.
Henry Morrison Flagler Museum, Palm Beach
Whitehall was originally the home of Henry Flagler and his third wife, Mary. The 75-room Beaux Arts mansion has an eclectic décor, encompassing an array of styles from Louis XIV to Italian Renaissance, while its architecture was inspired by the palaces of Italy and Spain. It was designed by Carrere and Hastings, who also designed Flagler’s Ponce de Leon Hotel in St. Augustine and the main branch of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. You can check out Flagler’s private Railcar #91 in the Flagler Kenan Pavilion on the museum’s South Lawn or sip tea and nibble cucumber sandwiches in the Café Des Beaux Arts (open during the winter/spring season only). Inside, experience the changing exhibits of art related to Florida history and America’s Gilded Age one of three ways: through a narrated audio tour, a self-guided tour with a brochure for your guide, or a docent-led tour that’s given twice daily. Admission is $18 for adults; $10 for ages 13-18; $3 for children 6-12; free for kids 5 and under.
One of the major museums in Florida, the Norton is home to a permanent collection of more than 5,000 works of art, among them American, Chinese, Contemporary and European art and photography. Within its walls, you’ll find 19th- and 20th-century paintings and sculpture by artists including Gauguin, Matisse, Monet and Picasso, among others, as well as American artists like O’Keeffe and Pollock. Events take place throughout the year here, including lecture series and youth programs. Admission is $12 for adults and $5 for visitors ages 13-21.
When you want a break from strolling around looking at Old Masters paintings and Balenciaga shoes, you can go for some let-loose-and-scream-with-abandon adrenaline at Rapids Water Park. There are more than two dozen rides of varying levels of wildness, classified as Wild and Thrilling, Mild Attractions and Kids’ Attractions. We like the Wild and Thrilling ones the best. The Pirate’s Plunge twists, dips and goes over a seven-story drop; Black Thunder puts you in the pitch darkness until you go flying out the bottom of the enclosed slide into the plunge pool. Once you’ve had your share of thrills, float in the lazy river and let your blood pressure return to normal. Admission Monday-Friday is $32.95 per person; Saturday-Sunday, $35.95; children 2 and under get in free.
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