Places To Visit Around Orlando – The best things to do in Orlando include an incredibly wide range of attractions and arguably the most exciting city for fun and entertainment anywhere in the US. The astonishing quality and variety of activities available to you in Orlando mark it as something truly special. It’s no surprise that the city’s world-class theme parks are high on the list of top things to do in Orlando. Disney and Universal dominate the tourist market here, and between them there are many different amusement parks and water parks, not to mention all the branded shopping, dining and nightlife experiences that don’t require a day pass.
While it might seem incomplete visiting Orlando without saying hello to Mickey & Co., the city — and the surrounding Central Florida region — offer plenty of alternatives. Explore charming downtown neighborhoods and inner-city parks on foot, take an airboat ride around the expansive marshes, or take a tour of the world-famous Kennedy Space Center on the East Coast.
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The Planetarium at Seminole State College offers entertaining, dramatic, and educational private and public shows about Earth’s neighborhood. Its magical and interactive theater, aptly named the Emil Buhler Perpetual Trust Planetarium, puts the solar system in the spotlight.
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The Planetarium at Seminole State College has played an integral role in Floridian life for more than 25 years, offering regular demonstrations and presentations about space and science to children and adults visiting Orlando. The theater organizes educational and entertaining shows. Live and interactive shows teach you about gravity, forces, optics and some of science’s greatest discoveries.
While other theme parks around town cater more to certain ages and tastes, Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ has it all. There are live-action stunts to keep kids entertained, while rollercoasters and themed rides tower. Immersive simulators put you right in the middle of your favorite movie – perfect for those looking for an adrenaline fix to sit a little closer to Earth.
Opened in 1999, Islands of Adventure™ features 7 different areas, and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ draws the largest crowds year-round. It is located alongside The Lost Continent, Toon Lagoon, Jurassic Park and Marvel Super Hero Island.
Magic Kingdom, Disney World’s first theme park, is one of its best theme parks. It welcomes 20 million visitors every year with 6 different lands of fun and adventure. The iconic Cinderella Castle forms the centerpiece of the park and is lit up every night by the famous fireworks display.
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Admission to the Magic Kingdom theme park – starting at around $100 – unveils a whole world of Disney-inspired shows, parades, rollercoasters, rides and simulators. The park is divided into Adventureland, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Tomorrowland, Main Street and Liberty Square.
Universal Studios Florida attracts bumper crowds with its long line of Hollywood-inspired rides and attractions. Part of the wider Universal Orlando complex, the theme park focuses on providing an immersive movie experience, using state-of-the-art technology across its range of simulators.
Kennedy Space Center is one of the area’s most popular attractions — away from all the theme park action, that is. It’s on the east coast of Florida, about 45 minutes from downtown Orlando.
Thanks to Orlando’s constant tourism boom, the Kennedy Space Center has become more than just a site for NASA to launch their astronauts from the Earth’s surface. You can get up close and personal with a real Apollo Saturn V rocket, stand nose-to-tail in the massive Atlantis space shuttle, take a trip through the atmosphere in a simulator, or even arrange to have lunch with a veteran astronaut.
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Located next to the SeaWorld® complex, Aquatica is one of Orlando’s best waterparks. Apart from all the waterpark features like head-to-head slides, rapids and high-speed flumes, it also offers a few more unique attractions.
A must-try is the Dolphin Plunge, where your transparent flume passes through a pool full of dolphins (and if you’re lucky, they’ll even try to chase you as you zip past them). If you want an adrenaline rush, try the Oblivion-style drop at Ihu’s Breakaway Falls®.
Legoland Florida offers many things to see and do, including rollercoasters, large Lego-built models (such as Florida, New York, Kennedy Space Center, and Daytona Speedway), and shows and performances. Most of the rides are geared towards children (ages 2-12), such as the popular Duplo fairground-style rides, the indoor-outdoor Dragon Rollercoaster, the Wooden Coastersaurus, and the Safari Trek.
Legoland Florida also has a range of flexible day passes available, with a Legoland water park right next door, costing around $100 for a combined ‘park-hopper’ pass. Legoland’s largest park is adjacent to Lake Eloise in the Lakeland region, about an hour’s drive from downtown Orlando. There is a daily shuttle to the park from International Drive at 9am.
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Epcot’s massive spherical design is one of the most instantly recognizable images of Disney World. This science-themed attraction has 2 areas: Future World, which showcases human endeavor and innovation, and World Showcase, a permanent world fair of 11 countries represented around a giant man-made lake. The fun of Epcot is really found in walking around the incredibly realistic sights.
At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, movie magic comes alive with a collection of family-friendly shows, rides and attractions inspired by Disney’s classic films. Scenes from the 1930s and 1940s classics draw millions of visitors each year.
Rides like The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror™ and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster® provide some pulse-pounding thrills along with live-action rides and immersive simulators. Movie buffs shouldn’t forget to check out the excellent Animation Courtyard, which has some interesting exhibits detailing the life and work of Walt Disney.
Orlando water parks offer the most thrilling rides, experiences, and buckets of fun under the sun. They also have educational experiences that provide a sense of environmental stewardship and the opportunity to get up close and personal with marine life.
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With so many great water parks to choose from, you’re sure to find the perfect one for your squad. Great experiences can be found at all the popular Orlando venues. Your task of finding a dream water park for you and your family is made easy by the great choices available.
Blue Man Group is a comedy, theater, rock concert and dance party! Enjoy an extravagant and interactive show from this talented group of artists from around the world in the heart of Universal Orlando Resort. Featuring an exciting trio of multi-instrumentalists, the Blue Man show in Orlando has many episodes of audience participation and appeals to all ages.
Fun Spot America is one of the few independent theme parks in Orlando. Located across International Drive from the sprawling Universal Resort, this particular Orlando amusement park steers clear of branded rides promoting movies or Hollywood gimmicks, instead, you’ll find plenty of adrenaline-filled rollercoasters, go-karting tracks, and a bunch more. Attractions for small children to enjoy.
Blue Spring State Park spans over 2,600 acres and includes the largest spring on the St. Johns River. During swimming season the water is crystal clear and usually around 73°F (22.7°C). The freshwater spring is a manatee sanctuary, home to hundreds of West Indian manatees from November to mid-March. Blue Spring State Park has animals including tropical birds, turtles, squirrels and alligators.
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Canaveral National Seashore is home to many endangered species, including sea turtles that come ashore to lay their eggs in the sand. Like many seaside towns, this area is perfect for those who enjoy outdoor activities. You’ll find horseback riding, canoeing, kayaking, surfing, swimming, fishing, and boating. If you enjoy hiking, there is a trail near the visitor center.
Church Street is home to some of Orlando’s best restaurants, a bustling nightlife scene, and the city’s iconic railroad depot (which sits alongside the SunRail commuter rail system). This is the first place to go for those who want to get to know downtown a little better. Built in 1889, the old railroad depot still stands as a reminder of the city’s long past, even before Disney and Universal arrived in Orlando.
The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is a small museum located in Winter Park, north of Orlando. The museum is housed in the historic residence of Czech sculptor Albin Polasek. Although the property is small, it offers the ability to be close to the artwork and take great photographs. The guided tour includes a short video explaining the property’s history, so you can better understand the sculptures and why Polasek created them. Each sculpture tells Polasek’s story and represents a different time in his life, with most pieces focusing on religion.
Open: Tues-Sat 10am-4pm, Sun 1pm-4pm (Closed on Mondays)
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Cornell Fine Arts Museum Orlando has more than 5,
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