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Things to do in Orlando Aside from the Theme Parks

While Orlando may be best known for its fun-filled theme parks, they are definitely not all that the “City Beautiful”  has to offer. If you’re looking to take a break from the craziness of Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld there are still plenty of amazing experiences to choose from. Whether you’re looking for a fun place to have dinner or you want an activity to fill the whole day, the following five suggestions are a can’t miss for families of all ages!

1. Disney Springs

     The perfect way to get a small dose of Disney without having to fully venture into the crowded and hectic parks. Located approximately  seven minutes from Magic Kingdom, Disney Springs  is the perfect escape to meet all of your dining, shopping and entertainment needs. 

     With over 64 dining options, including table-service, quick-service, lounges and more, even the pickiest of eaters will be able to find something! Some of our favorite restaurants include The Boathouse, Morimoto Asia, Jaleo, STK. If you’re looking for something more child friendly, T-REX is a must-do. However, if you are looking for a more quick bite to eat while exploring there are plenty of options, such as Blaze Pizza or The Polite Pig. Don’t forget to stop for dessert as well! Some favorites include Sprinkles and Ghirardelli Chocolate Shop.

     The entertainment options are never-ending as well. Whether you want to shoot some hoops at the NBA Experience, fly high in the Aerophile hot air balloon, step into The Void with virtual reality, be amazed by the acrobatics at Cirque de Soleil or simply catch a movie, they have it all!

2. City Walk

     Located right outside of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure, this is another quick getaway option. Branded as “The Epicenter of Awesome”, there is not much else to say!

     While some of the dining options here do not take reservations, there are still a lot of delicious options. Some of our favorite table-service restaurants include Cowfish, Vivo, Antojitos and Bigfire. If you are in the mood for something more on-the-go there is plenty to choose from, such as Moe’s Southwest Grill, Fusion Bistro Sushi and Hot Dog Hall of Fame. Some sweet spots include Voodoo Doughnut and Cinnabon – Yum!

     For a family night out you could catch a flick at the Cinemark movie theatre, play putt putt at Hollywood Drive-In Golf or be amazed by the eccentric Blue Man Group. If you’re rolling with a more adult crowd you can check out the live music at some of the bars or sing some karaoke at Rising Star.

3. I-Drive

     Located right in the core of Orlando, this area is comparable to the Las Vegas strip. Full of dining, shopping, entertainment and nightlife there is something for every member of the family! 

     In addition to popular sit-down and quick-service restaurants, such as Uncle Julio’s, Charley’s Steakhouse and Sugar Factory, there are a bunch of fun dinner shows to choose from as well! Shimmy your feathers at Mango’s Tropical Cafe, laugh it up at the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show or become a detective at Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show

     If entertainment is what you’re searching for then there is no shortage here. For those who are not terrified of heights you can take on the ICON 360 Observation Wheel or the Orlando Starflyer, which is the world’s tallest swing ride! Other options include, but are not limited to, Andretti Indoor Karting and Games, Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Wonderworks and Sea Life Aquarium.

4. Wild Florida

     If you are interested in seeing Florida’s native wildlife and foliage up close then the best way to do so is abroad an airboat at Wild Florida. Cruise through the Everglades while an experienced captain points out alligators, eagles and other wildlife that make up this incredible ecosystem. Each ride is sure to be different than the one before – you never know what you will see! 

     Another new addition to the park is their Drive-Thru Safari. Discover more than 100 native and exotic animals roaming free all from the comfort of your own car. Within the 85 acres you may see zebra, eland antelope, scimitar oryx, American bison, mouflon sheep, and more! You even have the opportunity to meet and feed giraffes from an elevated feeding platform. Between all of the animal shows and encounters offered, there will never be a dull moment.

5. Gatorland

     What would a trip to Florida be without visiting “The Alligator Capital of the World”? Gatorland has alligators and crocodiles of all ages and sizes, including super rare white leucistic alligators. For those brave enough – take on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and launch from 65 feet above. Board an off-road vehicle adventure, meet a gator face-to-face, catch a show or even become a trainer for the day. 

     If gators are a little too intense for you, don’t worry, there are other animals available to meet! Birds, big cats, snakes and tortoises also call the land home. 

Next time you are visiting or looking for a way to kill some time make sure to try out some of these locations. Orlando has fun experiences for every age around every corner!

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