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10 Things to Do Besides Theme Parks

Alternative Things To Do in Orlando

The first thing that springs to mind when you think of holidaying in Orlando is usually theme parks, but if you limit your scope to only Disney and Universal you miss the wealth of other offerings available in The City Beautiful and its beautiful surrounds.

No one is saying not to check out 1 (or more) of the amazing theme parks and amusements on offer in Orlando, but if you are a repeat visitor, or you just want a change of pace, then this list of alternative attractions is for you. Some of these might seem obvious to people who know Orlando well, but hopefully we will offer new ideas to even seasoned veterans of Orlando.

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    Considered the tourist centre of Orlando, this mile-long area offers a wide variety of activities. Here, you will find Madame Tussauds, Sea Life Aquarium, America’s Great Escape Game and the ICON Orlando – formerly the Orlando Eye. ICON Orlando is an air-conditioned, 40-story tall Ferris wheel located in the centre of I-Drive and provides the best view of the city. Many themed restaurants, bars and stores also line the street. International Drive has often been deemed the ‘Vegas Strip’ of Orlando because of its lively nightlife and colourful appearance. Read More...

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    See a show

    Both Cirque du Soleil and Blue Man Group have shows in Orlando, Florida. Cirque du Soleil’s famous La Nouba is located at Disney Springs, just 10 minutes from Magic Kingdom. This famed theatrical production features acrobats, gymnasts and vocal performers. Blue Man Group, on the other hand, is at Universal Orlando’s Citywalk. This show combines the 3 famous blue-faced characters with vibrant instruments, music, video and lighting. Read More...

    Go shopping

    Some of the best shopping in Orlando can be found at The Florida Mall and The Mall at Millenia. The Florida Mall is a large shopping complex comprised of over 270 stores. Containing 2 separate food courts and various department stores, it’s a favourite among tourists and locals alike. The Mall at Millenia is considered an upscale shopping mall, featuring many clothes, jewellery and electronic stores. It’s located right off Interstate-4, 10 minutes from International Drive.

    For those looking to go bargain shopping, the International Premium Outlets and the Vineland Premium Outlet are a great choice. Both offer popular clothing stores such as Nike, Levi and Ralph Lauren at heavily discounted rates. The outlet malls are located at opposite ends of International Drive. Read More...

    This historical botanical oasis offers over 50 acres of landscaped flower gardens and lakes. Various learning activities and programmes take place throughout the day, located mainly in the Leu House Museum. The Garden House Welcome Center is also the permanent home to a variety of artworks and rotating exhibits. Tours of the museum are available with a guide every half hour, and tours of the gardens are self-guided. Read More...

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    Get up-close and personal with hundreds of crocodiles and alligators at this local wildlife preserve. The reservation is known for their extremely rare all-white alligators, crocodile petting zoo and free-flight aviary. Ziplining is also available at Gatorland. The Screamin’ Gator Zip Line launches from over 60 feet in the air and flies across various animal enclosures and public walkways. Read More...

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    Located on scenic Thornton Park, the Arts District features various museums and galleries as well as unique boutiques and restaurants. It’s home to Orlando’s famous Museum of Art and the iconic Lake Eola. The farmer’s market takes place every Sunday at Lake Eola, and features local merchants selling everything from organic green juices to homemade soy candles. Swan-shaped pedalboats can also be rented at Lake Eola for a fun, 30-minute outing. Read More...

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    Spend the day wakeboarding, water skiing or kneeboarding at this professional watersports complex. Orlando Watersports offers both beginner-level and pro-level courses, as well as private lessons with licensed instructors. They use a state-of-the-art cable system, allowing you to learn the movements needed for each sport before trying it on the course. The complex offers a ‘Get Up Guarantee’, ensuring that anyone who isn’t able to stand up on the wakeboard the first day gets a second day at the park for free. Read More...

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    This preserve allows you to interact with dolphins and tropical fish in an incredibly personal setting. Discovery Cove is comprised of various lagoons and winding rivers, homing tropical birds, otters and bottlenose dolphins. Photo opportunities are available for every animal encounter and the package is all-inclusive. Unlimited food and drink is available by the white-sand beaches all day long. Discovery Cove only allows in a certain amount of people per day, so book in advance! Read More...

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    This is by far the best way to see what the Florida Everglades has to offer. Most tours last about an hour and cover a vast amount of distance, showcasing various Florida animal species along the way. Many airboat tour companies also stop to feed alligators and watch elusive bird species. Among the many companies available are Boggy Creek Airboat Rides and Captain Jack’s Airboat Tours, both located approximately 10 minutes from Walt Disney World. Read More...

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    The Orlando Science Center is a one-of-a-kind learning facility, featuring interactive exhibits, exciting science experiments and the world’s largest Digistar planetarium. The private museum features exhibits such as Nature Works, getting you up-close and personal with various reptiles, and Dino Digs, where you step back into the prehistoric age. Located atop the centre is the Crosby Observatory, housing Florida’s largest publicly accessibly telescope. Read More...

    • Opening Hours: Thursday–Tuesday from 10am to 5pm
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