Exploring Melbourne: Unveiling the Hidden Gems of Florida’s Atlantic Coast

Melbourne, a picturesque town nestled along the Indian River Lagoon, holds a secret waiting to be discovered. Tucked away on Florida’s Atlantic Coast, Melbourne captivates visitors with its enchanting historic areas and bustling downtown, offering a harmonious blend of old-world charm and modern attractions. Join us on a captivating journey through Melbourne as we uncover its fascinating history, exhilarating outdoor adventures, and the highlight of our visit – the awe-inspiring Brevard Zoo.

Discovering the Quaint Eau Gallie Historic District

Our adventure commenced in the captivating embrace of the Eau Gallie Historic District. This charming neighborhood, located just north of downtown Melbourne, boasts a rich tapestry of history waiting to be explored. As we meandered through its narrow streets, a welcome respite from the Florida sun greeted us with a canopy of majestic oak trees. The landscape punctuated with historic buildings left us in awe, marveling at their well-preserved architecture. A visit to the small park by the Eau Gallie River provided a breathtaking vista, the perfect backdrop for capturing unforgettable moments.

Within this historic district lies a hidden treasure – the Eau Gallie Arts District. Here, we immersed ourselves in the vibrant atmosphere of the Intracoastal Brewing Company, housed within a historic bank building, and savored mouthwatering pizza at FM Pizza. The district’s myriad of galleries and restaurants make it a haven for art enthusiasts and culinary connoisseurs alike.

Outdoor Adventures in Melbourne: Nature’s Playground

Melbourne is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a plethora of activities that showcase the region’s natural beauty. Armed with our trusty bikes, we embarked on a serene ride along the Brevard Zoo Linear Park. This paved, 10-foot-wide path extends beyond the zoo entrance, providing a tranquil route free from traffic. The refreshing breeze and picturesque surroundings transformed our expedition into a delightful experience.

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For adventurers seeking a more thrilling escapade, Palm Bay’s Turkey Creek and Turkey Creek Sanctuary, located south of Melbourne, present excellent opportunities for paddling and hiking. Nature lovers can wander through 3.5 miles of trails, including a captivating 1.8-mile boardwalk nestled within a lush hammock. Birdwatchers are also in for a treat at the Viera Wetlands, or the Ritch Grissom Memorial Wetlands, famous for sightings of alligators and various bird species.

Melbourne’s beaches are renowned for their pristine beauty, with miles of pristine white sand stretching as far as the eye can see. While A1A beach may lack the charm of a walkable beach town, Paradise Beach and Park offer picnic pavilions and a playground, making it a favorite among locals and visitors alike. For those yearning for a more secluded beach experience, a short half-hour drive south leads to Sebastian Inlet State Park. With three miles of untouched, undeveloped beach, this park truly epitomizes a paradise for nature lovers.

The Brevard Zoo Experience: Unforgettable Encounters with Wildlife

Undoubtedly, our most unforgettable experience in Melbourne was our visit to the renowned Brevard Zoo. This interactive zoo offers a truly unique kayaking tour, allowing visitors to journey through the animal habitats. Initially, we were skeptical, fearing it might be a mere gimmick. However, the half-hour guided tour was an enchanting blend of excitement and wonderment. As we paddled around the Africa exhibit, an array of animals, including camels, impalas, and ostriches, revealed themselves from an entirely new perspective.

The Brevard Zoo is a standout attraction, offering numerous interactive opportunities that cater to visitors of all ages. From feeding giraffes and hand-feeding birds in the walk-in aviaries to observing kangaroos up close, the zoo crafts unforgettable experiences for its guests. Thoughtfully designed exhibits emphasize environmental conservation and awareness, providing simple, easy-to-understand messages about climate change, rising sea levels, and habitat preservation.

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Plan Your Visit: Melbourne Awaits

Melbourne’s allure lies in its captivating fusion of history, outdoor adventures, and unique attractions like the Brevard Zoo. Whether you’re exploring the historically rich Eau Gallie Historic District, embarking on a scenic bike ride, or immersing yourself in the wonders of the zoo, Melbourne promises an unforgettable experience.

To plan your visit to Melbourne and the Brevard Zoo, head over to UpStreamPaddle for more information. With its breathtaking beaches, historic charm, and captivating attractions, Melbourne stands as a destination begging to be explored.


Images:

  1. Brewing in Eau Gallie Arts District – The beer garden at Intracoastal Brewing Company in the Eau Gallie Arts District in Melbourne. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)

  2. Gleason House in Eau Gallie – The Gleason House in Eau Gallie, one of the many beautiful old homes located along the Indian River Lagoon in this historic neighborhood in Melbourne.

  3. Kangaroo Encounter at Brevard Zoo – Guests can enter the kangaroo enclosure at the Brevard Zoo and see the kangaroos without a fence separating you. Notice the joey peering out of his mother’s pouch. (Photo: Bonnie Gross)