It’s no surprise that travel websites list Walt Disney World as the number one thing to do in Orlando, but there are so many other things to do here, including the other big theme parks: Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld Orlando and ICON Park. But what if you have had enough of them and want to see what else is in the area? There are many other tourist landmarks in the region, and any one of them can offer a nice break from the theme park activities.
Lake Eola Park
Timeout likes this relaxing lake and park in downtown Orlando; it’s only about a mile all the way around, and you can rent swan paddle boats and spend time with live swans. The Walt Disney Amphitheater is here as well, and is the site for movies, performances and concerts.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Also geared for relaxation, this destination has 50 acres of plants and animals, and is only a few minutes’ drive from downtown Orlando. They also sponsor movie nights and educational seminars for their visitors.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
This respected music venue is the perfect place to see top Broadway shows, live music and movies. Some of their movies are shown with performances by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra; this center is also the home of the Orlando Ballet. If you’re in town around Christmastime, they may be performing The Nutcracker; don’t miss it!
Okay, so we had to include just one more theme park − the Discovery Cove all-inclusive water park. They only allow in a limited number of guests each day, so you’ll want to book this well in advance. Guests can spend quality time with tropical fish, dolphins, rays, flamingos and otters, and they also have breakfast and lunch buffets right on site.
Orlando Magic Basketball
A visit to Orlando isn’t complete without a trip to the Amway Center to see the Orlando Magic work their…well, you know, magic. It’s great fun to watch one of their games, and they have family entertainment during commercial breaks and in between plays. Amway does get crowded when the team plays, so plan to arrive early and take an Uber so you won’t have to worry about parking.
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
Visit Orlando lists this tour operator as one of the best adventure providers outside of Orlando. It takes about an hour to get here from downtown, but it’s worth the trip. These airboats travel at up to 40 mph across the headwaters of the Florida Everglades, and each one carries up to six passengers. You and your family will see exotic wildlife, and trips go out day and night.
Want to see alligators, crocodiles and panthers? This is one of the oldest attractions in Orlando, and offers thrilling views of these large reptiles and mammals, plus a petting zoo, aviary and splash pad for the kids. The ticket prices aren’t expensive, and you can also sign up for a special, up-close encounters, the Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure and the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line.
Epic Paddle Adventures
Orlando has many beautiful lakes, and Epic Paddle Adventures makes them most of them with their fun paddleboard and kayaking tours. If you’re not experienced, they have hands-on instruction to make you comfortable. Some of their most popular adventures are the Bioluminescence Star Gazing Tour, Wildlife Paddle & Swim Adventure and the Horseback Ride and Springs Wildlife Paddle Adventure.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Sticking with nature theme, this 23-acre property is home to more than 500 animals and lush native gardens. You can also check out their children’s petting zoo, splash playground, insect zoo and reptile house.