Located just over 70 miles southeast of Orlando on both the mainland and a barrier island that are separated by the Indian River Lagoon, Melbourne offers everything from a fabulous arts district, gardens and parks to a great zoo and lots of opportunities for outdoor adventure.

After checking into your hotel in Melbourne, Florida, be sure to put these top five things to do on your must-experience list.

Brevard Zoo

The Brevard Zoo not only offers all sorts of exotic animals to see, with over 800, but it provides some very unique experiences as Space Coast Florida notes. In fact, it has a few options you won't find anywhere else. Brevard is the only one in the country where you can join a kayak tour to paddle around an exhibit. It will take you through Expedition Africa along the Nyami Nyami River to learn about the animals you see with an expert guide. You can also view creatures that few zoos have such as the Visayan Warty pig, take a thrilling aerial or ziplining adventure soaring over crocodiles and alligators, hand-feed giraffes and even pet a rhinoceros. 

Eau Gallie Arts District

Arts enthusiasts won't want to miss this trendy spot filled with art galleries, colorful murals, museums, shops and eateries. Visitors can take a Wall Mural Tour of what's become a wonderful outdoor museum featuring murals from artists around the globe, join the first Friday art walks, and attend frequently hosted arts and crafts shows. The district also offers live entertainment on a regular basis as well as special food and drink events like wine tastings and beer festivals.

Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens

One of the top attractions in Melbourne, the Historic Rossetter House Museum and Gardens includes the 1908 Rossetter House and Gardens as well as the 1892 Roesch House and a cemetery that dates back to 1865. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, by joining a guided tour you'll get an especially interesting glimpse into the past. 

A River Tour

Embark on a two-hour cruise with Good Natured River Tours along the Indian River Lagoon and the Banana River and you'll enjoy tranquil scenery, Caribbean tunes and the opportunity to spot dolphins, the occasional alligator, and a wide range of beautiful birds. As you glide across the water, the captain provides narration on the history of the region and landmarks along the way like Mathers Turn Bridge and Dragon Point. 

A Day at the Beach

While Melbourne is filled with natural, historical and cultural attractions, spending the day at the beach is a must, with the city's beautiful stretches of sand what bring the majority of visitors here as one of Florida's top beach destinations. Paradise and Melbourne beaches are two of the most popular among visitors and locals alike, offering a family-friendly atmosphere for lounging underneath shady umbrellas, beachcombing, surfing and more. The latter is home to a historic pier for fishing, and between April and November, you may be able to see the turtle breeding grounds too. At Paradise Beach, there are lots of facilities, including sand volleyball courts, covered picnic areas, kids' play equipment and more.