Vero Beach is 110 miles Southeast of Orlando, 38 miles south of Melbourne and 85 miles north of West Palm Beach. This area is accessible via I-95, the Florida Turnpike or the Airports in Orlando, Melbourne and Vero Beach. It is a full-service community offering traditional city services such as police, public works, and recreation. In addition, the city has an electric generation plant, electrical distribution system, water and sewer plants, solid waste collection department, airport and marina.
The city was originally incorporated in 1919 as the City of Vero. In 1925, it was re-incorporated as the City of Vero Beach and was transferred from St. Lucie County to Indian River County. The Historic District in downtown Vero Beach is the heart of Indian River County and is undergoing re-birth as historic structures built in the 1920's are being restored to their former glory. Recently named a Florida Main Street Community, 14th Avenue in downtown is considered the center from which the Florida Main Street program will expand.
Public schools in Indian River County enroll approximately 14,000 students in 12 elementary, four middle/junior high, two senior high schools, and one special school. Two of the twelve elementary schools are magnet schools. Vero Beach and Sebastian River High Schools are both comprehensive high schools offering a full range of academic and vocational courses. The International Baccalaureate Program is offered at Sebastian River High School. Indian River County students rank above the national average on standardized tests.
Several private and parochial schools serve the county. Among them is St. Edward's School in Vero Beach, which has upper and lower schools and is one of the most prestigious private schools in Florida. St. Helen's is an outstanding parochial school serving students from kindergarten through eighth grade. The River School is an independent, non-religious college prep school located in northern Indian River County boasting an excellent record of 100% of all graduates going on to higher education.
Indian River Community College is a comprehensive two-year public community college providing high-quality educational services. IRCC's Mueller Center in Vero Beach is the educational hub for residents of Indian River County. Over 60% of the county's college-bound high school seniors attend IRCC. For more than 10 years, IRCC students have earned top passing rates in the state on the College Level Academic Skills Test.
Indian River County, the crown jewel of Florida's Treasure Coast, enjoys an international reputation among vacationers and business executives alike. In addition to its beaches and waters for swimming, scuba diving, boating, fishing, and other water sports, Indian River County's parks offer countless opportunities for recreation and enjoying the out of doors. Twenty golf courses allow for all levels of play, and tennis facilities are widely available.
Indian River County offers a host of museums, theatres, restaurants, night spots and shopping areas. The Center for the Arts is the largest cultural arts facility of its kind on Florida's Treasure Coast. This accredited art museum is visited and appreciated by over 125,000 residents and tourists annually. Renovated and expanded to 55,412 sq. ft. in 1998-99, the arts facility now features five art galleries, a sculpture garden, an education wing with seven studio classrooms, an art library, seminar rooms, a 3,800 sq. ft. outdoor studio and foundry, a 250-seat auditorium, museum store, and ideal spaces for art installations, performances, and public programs.
Riverside Park plays host to numerous events held in the idyllic setting under its many oak trees. Outdoor concerts, art shows, antique car and boat shows, and the annual Children's Art Festival are held there. The Vero Beach Art Club's annual show features nationally acclaimed artists, drawing attendance from throughout the state.
Riverside Theater is the only professional Equity Theater on the Treasure Coast, between Daytona and West Palm Beach. In addition to the performances of the Riverside Theater Acting company, the 615 seat theater is rented to other organizations for their productions. The Vero Beach Concert Association's classical series, and the Treasure Coast Jazz Society's major annual concert, always features an internationally acclaimed artist.
The McLarty Treasure Museum and Mel Fisher Treasure Museum both feature treasures discovered from ancient Spanish ships wrecked off of Indian River County's coast. The Sebastian Fishing Museum is dedicated to educating the public about the early commercial fishing industry in the Sebastian area. It houses a replica of a fish house and dock, the traditional heart of the industry, photos of fishing in the Indian River Lagoon and other displays.
There are also numerous opportunities to learn more about the area's plant and marine life. The Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge is one of the nation's most significant land acquisition efforts to protect the world's population of marine turtles. The Manatee Observation and Education Center allows visitors to view these gentle giants and their offspring in a natural habitat. The Environmental Learning Center offers a hands-on approach to investigating the environment with an elevated boardwalk that creates a trail through a mangrove forest.
The Mckee Botanical Garden, founded in 1932, is a lush, tropical Florida hammock, filled with both native and exotic tropical plants from around the world. The garden was closed for more than 20 years, but has reopened to the public and offers guided tours. The Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, designated as the first National Wildlife Refuge by President Theodore Roosevelt, protects thousands of pelicans and other wading birds.
Indian River County has no shortage of shopping areas. The Indian River Mall and Prime Outlets at Vero Beach offer a wide selection to suit every taste. Casual specialty shops abound in downtown, Royal Palm Point, and beachside areas in Vero Beach. You will also find a wealth of shopping alternatives along Route 60, Miracle Mile, and US 1 south. From haute cuisine and ethnic dishes to down home and fast food, dining is a never- ending pleasure in Indian River County. Many Treasure Coast nightspots also offer good food along with entertainment to suit any mood.
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