You never know what you will find happening at the Melbourne Auditorium, a public venue that is offered through the City of Melbourne's Parks and Recreation Department. Festivals, shows, private weddings, conventions, trade shows – the building is large (20,000-plus square feet) and flexible, and also centrally located, making it home to a wide range of events. The stage appeals to concerts and performers, too, and the outdoor space means you can often find events spilling out into the Florida warmth. Over the years, the Melbourne Auditorium has presented the Melbourne Community Orchestra, the Melbourne Gun & Knife Show and the Space Coast Nerd Fest, two days of "all things nerd," such as science fiction, comic books, video games and collectables.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: The Melbourne Auditorium is the home to a wide variety of private and public events. You never know what you're going to find happening here.
Aimee's expert tip: Check out the Space Coast Nerd Fest in May, where you can surround yourself with "all things nerd."
Pump It Up of West Melbourne is another family favorite on the Space Coast. This indoor kiddie play attraction has all kinds of goodies, like inflatables, trampolines and slides, but it also promotes imagination – and healthy activity. The emphasis on imagination is what sets Pump It Up apart from other play areas. The center reserves a window on the second Tuesday of every month for kids with sensory-processing challenges and kids on the autism spectrum. Games are specifically chosen to resonate with these children. In fact, Pump It Up has raised money for Autism Speaks. Pump It Up is popular for birthday parties and other special events, as well as just a way to get your kids' energy out in the air conditioned indoors. Check the calendar for open jump hours, as well as special events, holiday celebrations and fundraisers.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Pump It Up is an indoor play area for kids with a huge emphasis on imagination.
Aimee's expert tip: The second Tuesday of every month is reserved for children on the autism spectrum.
Melbourne is home to Brevard County's biggest indoor family fun center, Fun Town, where kids of all ages and their families can take a break from the Florida sun but stay active. Fun Town has it all: roller skating, mini bowling, an arcade, playground, a bounce house and even a cafe on site, where you can order everything from pizza to chicken wings. Skating is a popular activity at Fun Town – what with a large 10,000-square-foot wooden rink. Of course, younger kids go crazy for bouncy houses and indoor playgrounds. Older kids and teens can test their aim in the laser tag room. Fun Town can be rented for private parties and events, and is also hosts theme nights, like a "throwback night," with old-school tunes and costume contests.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Get out of the hot sun, but stay active, in Brevard County's biggest indoor family fun center.
Aimee's expert tip: Rent Fun Town for special events, like kid birthday parties.
The Melbourne Greyhound Park (with Club 52 inside) is where adults in Melbourne, Florida, go to play. Here, you can catch live greyhound racing, play Las Vegas-style poker Find poker games, from Texas Hold 'Em to Omaha Hi-Lo, on 45 different tables. Got a special occasion? Rent the VIP room for private parties. Not on site? Wage your bets via simulcasts. Check the website for the schedule. In the evening, the park is also home to Club 52's VIP Room, where you can catch live stand-up comedy by the well-known, long-standing Groucho's Comedy Club. You may know Groucho's from Comedy Central or the Tonight Show, to name just a few. Groucho's attracts big-name comedians who have made a name for themselves on TV. This property was converted into a greyhound race park in 1990 and was renovated in 2004.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Experience Vegas-style poker in Florida, watch stand-up comedy, bet on greyhounds and more.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss live comedy at Groucho's Comedy Club, in Club 52. It's the best stand-up comedy in Central Florida.
Ring a full-sized replica of the Liberty Bell at this museum dedicated to the national heritage of America. Catch a glimpse of over two dozen reproductions of important documents, such as the Mayflower Compact and the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence. Many historical periods in American history are brought to life through original exhibits here. In addition, check out the Brevard County Hall of Fame, featuring actors, athletes, coaches and an astronaut. (You have to go visit the museum to learn who; we're not telling!) Best of all: The Liberty Bell Museum is free and open to the public.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: American history comes to life here, with a replica of the Liberty Bell and many other fascinating reproductions.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss the annex to the museum, the Freedom Hall, where you can see artifacts, photos, uniforms, weapons and models from past wars.
The Rossetter House Museum, in the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne, Fla., is a history-lover's paradise. The Rossetter House and Gardens dates back to 1908, and other historical properties on site stretch back even farther. The cemetery dates to 1865. Tour the Rossetter House, named after its former inhabitants, as well as the beautiful gardens, the cemetery and a vintage car – all for free. More in-depth tours of additional historical points of interest are available for a fee. The Rossetter mansion itself gives a peek into the region's pioneer history. Before you leave, make sure you swing by Ella's Closet, the on-site gift shop.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: This historical site, dating back to 1908, gives a glimpse into Melbourne's pioneer history.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't miss Ella's Closet, the on-site gift shop.
If you're looking for wildlife and a chance to experience Florida's natural habitat, set aside a day to tour the swampland. You can find a variety of airboat and lagoon tours around the Space Coast, but one of our favorites is Camp Holly in Melbourne, along the St. Johns River. Camp Holly is also one of the longest standing – since 1923 – and with a reputation to go with that legacy. Book an airboat tour, led by knowledgeable staff who can teach you about the native flora, fauna, birds, fish, snakes, turtles and, of course, alligators. There's a good chance you'll see a gator – or many, right up close. But viewing wildlife isn't all Camp Holly offers. Go hunting or fishing on and around the St. Johns River, grab a cold drink and snack on site and even enjoy live entertainment on the deck.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Camp Holly is a Melbourne staple and tours St. Johns River, one of the best places to see Florida's wilderness.
Aimee's expert tip: Don't forget to wear mosquito repellant! And if you want to see gators, ask about the best time of day to tour.
The Andretti Thrill Park is where you go in Melbourne for the thrills. This family park features a long list of attractions: five different Go-Kart tracks, a mini golf course, paddle boats, train rides, laser tag, a playground, a spinning coaster, various other kid rides and the Space Coast's biggest arcade. The arcade is more than 7,000 square feet big, with some of the most exciting arcade games available today. The Andretti Challenge is one of the most popular rides, a Euro-style course where you can drive as fast as 40 miles per hour. The 15-year-old park seems to always have something new to appeal to guests of all ages – even toddlers. Food and drinks are on site, so no need to plan lunch. The park can host private events, too.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: The Andretti Thrill Park is a family favorite, if you're seeking speed, games and a full day of fun.
Aimee's expert tip: Try the Andretti Challenge, where you can drive up to 40 miles per hour.
Located in a historic district of Brevard County, this large space serves as an artistic hub for the area. Artists globally and native to Florida are showcased in seven spacious galleries. The Foosaner Art Museum of Florida Institute of Technology (formerly the Brevard Art Museum) features Asian artwork, environmentalist photographs, a collection on American industrial design and the world's largest collect of art by Ernst Oppler. Temporary exhibits also continuously rotate through these walls, so you can expect to always be surprised. Don't miss the education center, where you can enroll in a variety of fine arts classes. Come to the museum to think, discuss and enjoy beautiful and provoking pieces of art.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Get out of the heat and dive into creativity and culture at Melbourne's Foosaner Art Museum.
Aimee's expert tip: Enroll in a fine arts class. The programming changes often, so you never know what you can learn here.
The coast that reaches for the stars succeeds with great evening entertainment. Stomp, Ray Charles, Chicago, John Tesh, Leslie Nielson, Tony Orlando and Alabama are just some of the nationally known artists that have performed at the King Center. Over the years, the center has also seen Broadway tours, ballet dancers, opera, a variety of theatrical performances and more. In addition to the performance hall, the center also boasts dance and rehearsal studios and art displays. Melbourne's popular performing arts center, named after the former president of Brevard Community College, has been a regional staple since 1988. It aims to help foster the artistic and cultural development of the Space Coast.
Recommended for Melbourne's Best Attractions because: Melbourne's performing arts studio has attracted some big-name artists, as well as high-quality ballet and Broadway touring shows.
Aimee's expert tip: Two hours before some performances, check out the King Center's Picnics on the Patio, where you can score burgers, chicken sandwiches, hot dogs and more.