When someone mentions Orlando, does your mind immediately go to Walt Disney World–or possibly Universal Studios? While these two attractions are certainly not to be missed, if you limit yourself to these two, you will be missing out on all that the Orlando area has to offer. Perhaps this is not your first visit to the area and you want to see a little more than Disney or Universal has to offer. Why not consider renting a car and staying in home, condominium or villa at a fraction of the cost of a hotel or resort? If you do a little local shopping, you can save even more and prepare some of your meals yourself—breakfast anyone?
Once you look past the major theme parks, you will see the area offers plenty for everyone. Here are ten alternatives.
1. Gatorland. Florida is known for its alligator population. Have you ever seen one up close? At Gatorland you watch handlers work with the creatures, touch them yourself (if you are brave enough) and learn about this ancient creature. And if you are adventurous, try some alligator jerky. Some people say it tastes like chicken.
2. SeaWorld. If you are looking for a theme park experience minus the crowds, SeaWorld may be the answer. The lines here tend to be a lot shorter which is certainly a boon for the younger set.
3. Wet N’ Wild. This might be a great alternative to Disney’s Blizzard Beach if you are a water fiend. This is a perfect place for the kids and teens to blow off some steam while the adults stretch out and catch some rays. You will have to buy an annual pass, but they are still a better value than Blizzard Beach and are good for the entire year!
4. Orlando Science Center. Orlando does not come to mind when you think of science museums; but after a visit here, you might think it should. This is a very comprehensive museum and a great way to spend a day—even better if it is raining. The center has many standing exhibits as well as a major exhibit which is changed periodically. Currently the featured exhibit is Diabetes: A Deeper Look.
5. Kissimmee Air Museum. This is not your typical museum with planes enclosed in plexiglass. Climb on, touch, feel, and learn with real planes. You can get up close for photos. Talk with pilots and if you are game, go for a flight and even take control of the stick! 7. Titanic The Experience – Did you know The Titanic crashed in Orlando, Florida? OK, not really. But this unique Titanic museum offers an amazing opportunity to tour a replica, with actors dressed in period costumes working as tour guides to enhance the experience.
6. Medieval Times. Kids and adults love the thrills tossed their way by Medieval Times. While many say it is only enjoyable for children; adults should listen up for the humor that sails over the heads of the young crowd. Experience the thrill of the joust and cheer on your favorite Knight. This is a wonderful dinner and show
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7. The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. And if jousting is not your thing and you prefer a chuckle, this twice nightly venue might be a contender. Top notch comics and magicians entertain while you feast on bottomless popcorn, pizza, beer, wine, soda, and salad.
8. Airboat Rides at Boggy Creek. If you prefer to see your alligators in the wild—and the rest of nature, why not skim across a marsh in an airboat and channel your best Gentle Ben moment. Start off in a canal viewing exotic birds, turtles and alligators in their own natural environment. Then fly like the wind into the swamps experiencing the awesome feel of an airboat ride traveling up to 45 miles per hour.
9. Florida EcoSafaris. And while you are reconnecting with nature, Florida EcoSafaris gives you the choice of how you reconnect. Sail on a zip line, ride a horse, or sit back and relax in a narrated covered coach and learn about the nature of the Central Florida Everglades.
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