Visit north Brevard County, Volusia for three distinct sightseeing gems


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One of the unique sightseeing gems along the northern area of Brevard County is the elaborate White Sands Buddhist Center in Mims.

Three sightseeing gems along the northern area of Brevard County await visitors.

If you are looking for a new and truly educational day trip, let me introduce you to three northern Brevard County and Southern Volusia County gems.

Start your day by visiting Seminole Rest, just east of the quaint town of Oak Hill. Seminole Rest consists of several prehistoric shell mounds dating from 4,000 years ago to 1565. Snyder’s Mound, the largest at this site, is unique because few mounds this large remain intact today.

Most shell mounds in Florida have been used by local communities for road beds.

Visit the two original houses that were built on the shell mounds. These homes are now the visitor center and are open only from noon to 4 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Enjoy the self-guided hiking trail through the site to view the mounds. Watch the alligators in the bordering canals. Seminole Rest overlooks the Indian River Lagoon.

The Seminole Rest grounds are open from dawn to dusk seven days a week.

Seminole Rest is at 207 River Drive, Oak Hill in southeast Volusia County. Tour reservations can be made at 321-267-1110.

Take I-95 North to exit 231 and Deering Parkway east to U.S. 1; U.S. 1 north to the Oak Hill traffic light; take a right on Halifax Avenue to River Drive and then on to Seminole Rest.

If you are looking for a local restaurant in Oak Hill, your family will enjoy the Goodrich Seafood & Oyster House, just north of Seminole Rest. This historic Indian River veteran features oysters, po’ boys and other Southern-style seafood dishes.

Your next stop is totally different. It is the recently opened and elaborate White Sands Buddhist Center.

Take U.S. 1 south, which is a short drive to the small town of Mims. At Aurantia Road, turn right; and at Knost Drive turn left to the Buddhist Temple grounds.

The White Sands Buddhist Center features the three largest granite statues of Buddha in Florida. The first, Shakyamuni Buddha, is 35-feet tall and weighs more than 200 tons. This statue was sculpted from one block of white granite and cut into five pieces before being shipped to the United States.

The second statue, Nirvana Buddha, is a 40-ton statue also sculpted from a single piece of white granite and is 35 feet in length lying in a prone position.

The third statue is of the Avalokitesvara. This 60-ton statue is 32 feet tall.

All three statues were sculpted in Vietnam before being shipped to the United States. You will enjoy walking through the complete complex grounds and the neat gift shop.

White Sands Buddhist Center is at 4640 Knost Drive. Call 407-832-5227 for tours.

The center is open to the public seven days a week. Meditation services are held from 10 a.m. to noon every Sunday and the public is welcome. The service is conducted in both English and Vietnamese.

For your third stop, drive south on U.S. 1 a short distance to the Moore Cultural Museum and Park in Mims. Go past State Road 46 and turn right on Parker Street; from Parker Street, turn left onto Freedom Street to the Moore complex.

The Cultural Center & Museum, which opened in early 2004, is in the 12-acre Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park in Mims. This property is on the original Moore family homesite. Civil rights activists Harry T. and his wife Harriette V. Moore were killed when their home was bombed on Christmas night 1951.

The building contains a most informative museum dedicated to the preservation of African-American history. It has many displays of the Moore family’s historical papers, artifacts, interesting memorabilia and life-sized mannequins of Harry T. and Harriette V. Moore.

There is a well-stocked gift shop with many items for sale that make great keepsakes.

Outdoors in this well-manicured park, the county has built a beautiful replica of the Moore family home. The building features furniture that the couple enjoyed in the 20th century. Guided tours of the Moore home are offered daily. Don’t miss walking along the twin-reflecting pools with a fountain, the Freedom Paver Walkway and the Community Pavilion.

The Harry T. & Harriette V. Moore Memorial Park & Museum is at 2180 Freedom Ave. For information, call 321-264-6595 or email htmcd@brevardparks.com.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday; from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and on Sunday by appointment.

This day trip has three educational, sightseeing gems and all have no admission fee.

Donations are accepted.

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