Talk about Orlando in Florida and the first thing that probably comes to your mind are the countless theme parks and resorts catering to families and children alike. While most of your trip to Orlando will be filled with itineraries that take your kids’ priorities into account, there are several other places in the city that warrant a visit as well. So before planning your trip to Orlando this summer, take a look at the top 10 things you can do in the city, including the myriad theme parks you get to visit while there.
1. Visiting Theme Parks
Of course your trip to Orlando would never be complete without visiting at least a few of the innumerable theme parks scattered throughout the city.
World class attractions await you and your kids in these utterly magical kingdoms which will keep you engrossed for most part of the day.
The must visit theme parks on your list should include Disney Hollywood Studios, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Epcot, Universal Studios Florida, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park, Sea World Orlando, Wet N Wild, Legoland Florida Resort, and Gatorland, etc.
2. Visiting Museums
Orlando is not all about fun and play. There are several historical attractions in the city that warrant a visit as well. A trip to the American Art Museum for example, is a must in any art lover’s travel list. You will be surprised to note that the museum houses the world’s largest collection of Tiffany glass.
Be enthralled as you walk past priceless lamps, jewelry, leaded glass windows, pottery and art glass made by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The museum also houses over 250 other interesting art and architectural objects. The other museums you can visit while in the city include the Orange County Regional History Center, Orlando Science Center, Mennello Museum of American Art, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, and Madame Tussauds Gallery.
3. Visiting Gardens
You may be in a hurry to visit the best attractions in the city. But if you are in Orlando, a visit to the city’s famed Harry P. Leu Gardens is in order.
Covering an area of 50 acres, the botanical garden houses over 1000 rose bushes that are in full bloom between April and January.
The garden also houses North America’s largest collection of camellias which bloom between November and March. Don’t miss out on the striking butterfly garden and the citrus grove while here. Don’t finish your garden tour with just one garden though. Make it a point to visit the equally beautiful Bok Tower Gardens while visiting the city as well.
4. Visiting Spas
Theme parks, historical attractions and beautiful gardens set aside, Orlando is also home to some of the world’s best spa resorts. Make it a point to visit these resorts to get pampered to the core and rejuvenate your body and mind before continuing on with your trip. The must visit spas in the city include Waldrof Astoria Spa (Waldrof Astoria Orlando), Ritz – Carlton Spa (Ritz – Carlton Orlando Grande Lakes) and the Poseidon Spa (Grand Bohemian Hotel).
5. Visiting Shopping Malls
Of course a visit to any city entitles you to do some shopping for the entire family. Orlando is no stranger to shopping malls as well. While the elite shoppers can hit the upscale malls (The Florida Mall and Mall at Millennia) filled with luxury brands like Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Burberry and Nordstrom, etc., bargain hunters will have a blast at the outlet centers of Orlando Vineland Avenue and Orlando Premium Outlets International Drive which feature home goods and branded fashions at unbelievably discounted prices. Believe us when we say one bag will not be enough for your shopping spree in the city.
6. Visiting Wine Bars
The Alfond Inn is a 112 room hotel that places you in close proximity to several wine bars in Winter Park. A short stroll from the hotel will see you visiting several restaurants and wine bars along Park Avenue serving lip smacking delicacies and a wide range of drinks.
The Wine Room offers you the chance to sample over 156 handpicked wines while Carmel Café & Wine Bar allows you to indulge in 50 new and old world vintage drinks while feasting on Mediterranean dishes.
And then there’s the Eola Wine Company which lets you enjoy over 70 wines (by the glass) while sampling delicious tacos, wraps and flatbreads, etc.
7. Visiting Golf Courses
Avid golf enthusiasts will be delighted to know that Orlando is home to world glass golfing courses. Designed by the top names of the game, including Pete Dye, Jack Nicklaus and Tom Fazio among others, over 170 impressive courses await your putting skills as you try to test your skill on these greens. Apart from the Tiger Woods and Golf Channel courses, you can try your luck at the golfing courses available at the Waldorf Astoria Club, Grand Cypress Resort and Bay Hill Club and Lodge.
8. Visiting Space Centers
Talk about space centers and the first name that pops up in your mind is the Kennedy Space Center located in Orlando. Built in 1976, the space center along with its Visitor Complex enjoys more than a million visitors every year. Stretching the boundaries of human imagination, the space center will spellbind you with its facts, figures and artifacts. If you are lucky, you may end up visiting the center on the day of a spacecraft launch as well and get to enjoy a close up view of the same.
9. Visiting Islands
While visiting the Kennedy Space Center, make it a point to plan a visit to Merritt Island as well. Home to the second largest wildlife reserve in Florida, Merritt Island covers an area of 14000 acres and is home to several endangered species of animals and birds. The island also serves as an important stopover for thousands of migratory birds as well.
10. Visiting the Outlands
Do make it a point to take a break from the hectic city exploration and relax while visiting the outlands. Kayaking tours are popular in the Everglades and will take you through mossy swamps filled with alligators and bald eagles. The Shingle Creek Regional Park is a great place to start for both newbies who can opt for guided tours, and experienced kayakers who can venture out on their own. If a kayak eco-tour sounds too daunting, you can always rent out a houseboat to tour the Everglades, albeit at a safer distance from the crocodiles and alligators.