5 things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, March 5, 2014

TAMPA - Here are five things you need to know happening in Florida on Wednesday, March 5, 2014.

(1) Evangeline at the Epicurean Hotel opens

The recently opened Epicurean Hotel adds another attraction for guests on Wednesday.

The 137-room boutique hotel in South Tampa opens the Space Evangeline on Wednesday. The 2,800-square-foot facility features five treatment rooms, a relaxation room, and manicure and pedicure stations.

Two of the treatment rooms are designed for couples. A special spa menu for men has also been created to suit their different needs.

The spa will be open to the public. Spa memberships are also available.

The Epicurean Hotel is a food-focused boutique hotel located in Tampa's Hyde Park neighborhood. The hotel features a state-of-the-art culinary classroom, rooftop bar, pâtisserie and win shop.

It was co-designed by the owners of the world famous Bern's Steak House to become a destination for food lover.

For more information, visit www.EpicureanHotel.com .

(2) Florida panther released back into the wild
 
Florida Fish and Wildlife officials will release a rehabilitated Florida panther back into the wild on Wednesday.

A homeowner spotted the panther kitten dragging its rear leg in the Golden Gates Estates area of Collier County in May 2013. The 9-month-old female cat likely had likely been struck by a car.

Collier County deputies found the panther hiding in thick brush. FWC biologists transported her to the Animal Specialty Hospital of Florida where she underwent surgery for her injuries.

Veterinarians discovered the panther had a compound fracture in her rear right leg, rib fractures and bruising around the lungs. A steel plate was used to mend the bone together.

After undergoing successful surgery, the cat was taken to White Oak Conservation Center in Yulee, where she received additional care and rehabilitation.

Officials plan to release the panther back into the wild this afternoon in southeast Hendry County,

Florida panthers are subset of cougars and are an endangered species. To learn more about the cat, visit www.floridapanthernet.org .

To report a dead or injured Florida panther, call FWC's Wildlife Alert Hotline at (888) 404-FWCC (3922).

(3) Food Truck Fiesta

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn's Food Truck Fiesta returns for to downtown Tampa on Wednesday.

Two new food trucks, Curbing Your Appetite and Tampa Bay Food Truck Rally Mobile DJ Truck, join the Fiesta this month.

Returning trucks include Not Your Ordinary Food Truck, Cajun In A Truck, Killer Samich, Gone Bananas, I WANNA WOK, Michelle Faedo and HolyHog BBQ.


The Food Truck Fiesta takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in Lykes Gaslight Square Park on Franklin Street between Madison Street and Kennedy Boulevard.

For additional information, visit www.tampagov.net/foodtruck .

(4) Legoland reopens iconic areas

LEGOLAND Florida will reopen two iconic sections of Cypress Gardens to visitors on Wednesday.

The Florida Pool and the Oriental Gardens have been closed since Cypress Gardens closed in 2009. When LEGOLAND Florida opened two years later those areas were not opened to the public.

Park workers have taken great care to restore and preserve these two historical areas of the park that will join LEGOLAND's 50 rides and attractions that visitors are already enjoying.

The Florida Pool was made famous in the 1953 movie Easy to Love starring Esther Williams.

A grand re-opening ribbon cutting ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. today for the Florida Pool and Oriental Gardens.

For more information, visit www.Legoland.com .

(5) 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The 2014 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival opens on Wednesday at Walt Disney World.

Besides the amazing floral displays and presentations by HGTV hosts, the Festival features a number of new items.

Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries will appear in a new Epcot front entrance garden that celebrates spring with a butterfly hunt adventure.

The National Audubon Society is presenting a new exhibit, Hummingbirds at Home. Visitors will be able to walk-through hummingbird gardens and learn tips on how to attract the hummingbirds that migrate to Florida from Central America each year.

There will also be live music during the Flower Power Concert Series. Groups performing during March include The Guess Who (March 7-9), Gary Lewis and The Playboys (March 14-16) and The Lovin' Spoonful (March 28-30).
 
The Flower and Garden Festival runs through May 18. For more information, visit www.epcotinspring.com .

Note: Article updated to reflect the MacDill Air Force Base AirFest training exercises will occur on Thursday, March 6.

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