***Book Hotels in Boca Raton by competitive pricing
BOCA RATON (literally "the mouth of the rat"), twenty miles north of Fort Lauderdale, is noteworthy mostly for its abundance
of Mediterranean Revival architecture , a style prevalent here since the 1920s and kept alive in the downtown area by strict
building codes. New structures must incorporate arched entranceways, fake bell towers and red-tiled roofs whenever possible,
ensuring a consistent and distinctive "look." It all goes back to Addison Mizner , the "Aladdin of architects", who swept in to
Boca Raton on the tide of the Florida property boom and bought up 1600 acres of farmland. Mizner's vision of gondola-filled
canals, luxury hotels and even a great cathedral never came to fruition, but the few buildings he completed left an indelible mark.
His million-dollar Cloister Inn , for example, grew into the present $200-a-night Boca Raton Resort and Club , 501 E Camino Real,
a pink palace of marble columns, sculptured fountains and carefully aged wood (tel 561/447-3000 or 1-888/491-BOCA; $130-250+).
In its legendary confines at Mizner Park , off US-1 between Palmetto Park Road and Glades Road, the open-air plaza is adorned
with palm trees and waterfalls. The park is also home to the International Museum of Cartoon Art , 201 Plaza Real (Tues-Sat 10am-
6pm, Sun noon-6pm; $6; tel 561/391-2200), worth a stop for its expensive collection of political cartoons and comic strip exhibits.
The collection has an interactive area geared toward kids.
A mile north of Hwy-798 (which links downtown with the beach) at 1801 N Ocean Blvd/Hwy-A1A, the Gumbo Limbo Nature Center
(Mon-Sat 9am-4pm, Sun noon-4pm; $2 donation) covers twenty acres inhabited by osprey, brown pelicans and sea turtles.
Night turtle-watching tours are offered between May and July; book well in advance (tel 561/338-1473).
Boca Raton's most explorable beachside area is Spanish River Park (daily 8am-dusk; cars $8 Mon-Fri, $10 Sat, Sun & hols,
pedestrians and cyclists free), a couple of miles north of downtown. Most of these fifty acres of vivid vegetation and high-rise
greenery are only penetrable on trails through shady thickets.
OTHER POPULAR DESTINATIONS IN FLORIDA
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