De Leon Springs State Park Drive - January 25 We all want to be young again, so let's start off the new year with a trip to De Leon Springs State Park, the mythical source of "THE FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH"! The outstanding feature of the 625 acre park is the spring, overlooking beautiful Spring Garden Run, producing 19 million gallons of water a day at 72 degrees year-round. After entering the park, we will go for breakfast at the popular Sugar Mill Restaurant, located in a 100 year-old replica of the original 1830s sugar mill. It features cook-your-own pancakes at the table and freshly made bread and cookies. Then it's time to board theFountain of Youth Eco/Heritage boat tour aboard the M/V Acuera for a 50 minute trip through Lake Woodruff National Wildlife Refuge, where alligators and birds abound.
Swimming With The Manatees - February 15 Let's swim with the Manatees in the pristine, clear waters of the Crystal River, home to the largest concentration of manatees in the world. Join us on the Captain Mike's Swim with the Manatees Boat Tour. Captain Mike’s is the #1 customized manatee tour located at King’s Bay in Crystal River, Florida. About 600 manatees visit the Crystal River springs each winter. During your tour, you’ll swim and snorkel with the manatees and experience their beauty up close. It’ll be a one-of-a-kind experience you’ll never forget. Those not wanting to get into the water can stay on the boat and enjoy the boat ride while seeing the manatees from the boat. Wetsuits, masks and snorkels will be provided.....you just need to bring a towel. Cost is $35/pp. Afterward, we will be going to Margarita Breeze for lunch.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art - March 22 We are going to The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art to for a private tour of the the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933)The Tiffany collection includes the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, decorative art. After touring the museum, we will be dining at the Coop Restaurant (A Southern Affair). Serving up hospitality at every table, Chef/Owner John Rivers offers comfort food classics made from scratch daily. Passed-down recipes and seasonal ingredients come together in the form of iconic dishes from Southern Fried Chicken, Low Country Shrimp & Grits to Mississippi Mud and Lemon Icebox pies. erving up hospitality at every table, Chef/Owner John Rivers offers comfort food classics made from scratch daily. Passed-down recipes and seasonal ingredients come together in the form of iconic dishes from Southern Fried Chicken, Low Country Shrimp & Grits to Mississippi Mud and Lemon Icebox . Of course, we will take the local roads riding through the beautiful Florida countryside, never on the highways. The ride should take about an hour and a half.
Yuengling Brewery Tour - April 17th we are going to tour the Yuengling Brewery in Tampa, Florida. Step out from under the hot Florida sun to discover how the cool, crisp taste of Yuengling is brewed and bottled. Tour the Yuengling brewery in Tampa where “America’s Oldest Brewery” uses modern technology to brew fine beer in a time-honored tradition. We will sample the Yuengling heritage for ourselves at the brewery’s biergarten. After the tour, we'll stagger over to Shell's Great Casual Seafood Restaurant which is right around the corner. Shell's has been serving the Tampa area for over 30 years. The history of Shells began in 1985 when owner John Christen's father, a Swiss Gourmet Chef, saw the need for a seafood restaurant that focused primarily on quality, service, and value instead of a fancy atmosphere and high prices.
Mt. Dora Canal Tour - May 10th Experience the beautiful and historical Mt. Dora Canal, on a spectacular and serene “Old Florida” boat ride between Lake Dora and Lake Eustis. Bald eagles, herons, anhingas, turtles and alligators are all common sightings on the tour. This two hour narrated tour is with Premier Boat Tour, highly rated by TripAdvisor. We will leave The Villages in the morning for a backroads ride to Mt Dora with parking at the Lakeside Inn where the tour will begin at 11:00am from the Inn’s docks on Lake Dora. Due to the difficulty in making reservations for lunch at Mt. Dora restaurants after the boat tour, we will just split-up into small groups and choose whatever restaurant you want.
Don Garlits Museum Tour - June 14th Opened in 1976, the museum chronicles the history of the sport of drag racing. Some 90 racing cars can be seen in the Drag Race building and an additional 50 vehicles are in the Antique Car building. The museum is also home to the International Drag Racing Hall of Fame. Inductees include Art Arfons, Sydney Allard, Zora Arkus-Duntov, Ray Godman, Raymond Beadle, Shirley Muldowney, Kenny Bernstein, and Don Schumacher, Connie Glen Swingle. The tour is self-guided and takes about two hours since there is so much to see and each car has a story to read. Who knows....maybe the "Big Daddy" Don Garlits himself might even be there so say hello! Then it's feeding frenzy time. For lunch we are going to Stumpknockers On The River. They don't open til 2:00pm, so we have plenty of time to roam the museum and make the trek to Dunnellon. So rev your engines, stomp on the gaz and burn some rubber!
Gatorland, The Alligator Capital of the World - August 14th On August 14th we will be heading to Gatorland just outside of Orlando. Founded by Owen Godwin in 1949, Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park showcasing thousands of gators and crocs including extremely rare White Alligators. It also features an elevated nature trail with native wildlife. We will be having lunch on site at Pearl's Restaurant that has a diverse menu of Bar-B-Q and your standard hot dogs and burgers. We will have reserved tables so we can eat lunch together and share with new and existing members of the club. The price of admission is $15. Vets get in for free but must produce ID. Based on the current schedule we should be able to experience 3 shows. Upclose encounters, Gator Wrestlin' Show and the Gator Jumparoo Show. Hope to Z you there.
Gypsy Vanner Horse Farm and Tour - September 12th The September ZClub RIde is an Interactive Adventure at the Gypsy Vanner Horse Farm and Tour in Ocala in the morning. Then it's off for local seafood favorites for at the Blue Gator Tiki Bar on the Withlacoochee River in nearby Dunellon. Itinerary: Sept 12th Arrive, Seabreeze Recreation Center parking lot at 8:45am and depart for Gypsy Vanner Farm at 9:00am. The tour begins at 10:00am. Part educational, part farm, part inside and part outside. Dennis Thompson is the Owner, Breeder and Tour Guide. Tour concludes at noon. $20 pp and must be paid in advance by going to the gypsygold.com web site, Book the 10:0am tour, on 9-12-18, and the number people you are paying for. Make your Reservation today! Then at 12:10pm we will depart for lunch! We will take scenic drive, approx. 35 mins, over to Blue Gator Tiki Bar and Restaurant.We will navigate our tour through the Rosi Prarie State Forest and the Halpata Nature Preserve to get to this Withlachochee River restaurant. Captain Bob will direct our arrival pulling into our VIP parking. Those not wanting to take the farm tour can join other Zers for lunch on the River around 1 PM. We will enjoy a delicious al fresco luncheon so they can better accommodate us. Captain Bob wants to 'show case' our club and cars in front of HIS business so let's all wear our signs and make him look good at it!! Directions with route maps will be distributed at assembly point, Seabreeze park lot morning of! BTW: Carrots will be provided by your hosts Sandra Ross and Leo Brancato (609) 634-5336. Contact then if you have any questions.
Second Annual Z-Fest - October 16th Our second Z-fest will take place at the Whispering Oaks Winery, October 16, 2pm-5pm. There will be food, spirits, games, door prizes, 50/50 drawing, and live music for dancing! Come enjoy a wine, beer, or soft drink along with delicious full chicken BBQ dinner. All this for only $25/pp. Enjoy additional wine courtesy of the VillagesBMWZclub (cash bar also available) This is a PRIVATE party on the winery grounds.
Club Meeting Hosted by BMW of Ocala - November 7th Once again, BMW of Ocala has sponsored our November Club meeting at their dealership. A buffet dinner was served along with BMW decorated desserts. A couple of DJ's provided music to enjoy and members of their service and sales staff, including a BMW Genius, talked to us about our BMW Z's Everyone was also given a goodie bag with BMW items to take home.
Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park - December 22nd Back by popular demand......we are going to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to see the Christmas music and light show and chowing down at The Freezer Tiki Bar! It’s Christmas season in Florida – so let's celebrate in style! We'll start with plates of shrimp and seafood by the water. The Freezer Tiki Bar in Homosassa has cold beer, wine, plates of shrimp, crab legs, seafood and stone crab. They have outdoor seating by a marina. It is very casual. (Bring cash as they do not take credit cards) After filling our tummies, we will proceed to the Christmas celebration of lights at the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park on US 19. The Christmas lights are wonderfully synchronized to music. There is a $5 donation for admission payable at the park. The date is December 22nd. We will meet at Eisenhower Recreation center by 2:45pm and leave promptly at 3:00pm.