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When Florida gets cold, here's some warm travel options

For inquiring minds that want a window into how the Postcards from Florida column comes together, here's the reason your traveling correspondent selected this week's photo:

It looks warm.

Thinking about warm places was top of mind this week, with overnight temps dipping into the 20s.

That's insane.

In one road-trip fantasy, I even imagined returning with pleasure to that sweltering cave with the educational video at Dinosaur World, the utterly no-frills roadside landmark that has defied tourism evolution off the Branch Forbes Road exit on Interstate 4 in Plant City. Sheltered from the biting wind even dinosaur narration by Jeff Goldblum sounds entertaining.

Hey, it's not exactly beach weather, unless you can find a view of the water with a terrific heater in the mix. For that, I'd recommend an indoor table by the window at The Grille at Riverview in New Smyrna Beach (

Here are other climate-controlled suggestions:

Go South. Key West keeps the tropical vibe going year-round, and the lack of air-conditioning in attractions such as The Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum ( isn't a drawback on chilly days. Plus, there are plenty of spots to warm-up with a drink, such as the iconic Sloppy Joe's (

Take in a museum. You can get out of the elements at the Florida Aquarium in Tampa (pictured with this column), which features sharks, an abundance of tropical marine life and a lush mangrove forest, which somehow sounds warm (

In nearby St. Petersburg, the Salvador Dali Museum will open its new, expanded museum to the public on Jan. 12. Just blocks from the existing museum on Tampa Bay, the $35 million, 66,450-square foot building offers room for expanded exhibits and educational programs (

Also new is the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum ( That's the new name for the former Pirate Soul museum, which moved from Key West to a spot closer to Central Florida. Look for a report on it in a future column.

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