Orlando, Florida is known worldwide as the Theme Park Capital of the World, with attractions such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld drawing millions of visitors every year. However, there is much more to this bustling city than just theme parks. Whether you’re a local or a first-time visitor, there are plenty of things to do in Orlando that are not theme parks.
In this article, we’ll explore some of the best non-theme park activities Orlando has to offer, from outdoor adventures to cultural experiences. So, pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to discover the many sides of Orlando.
Explore Nature at Wekiwa Springs State Park
If you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, Wekiwa Springs State Park is the perfect place to unwind and connect with nature. Located just north of Orlando, this 7,000-acre park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, swimming, and kayaking.
One of the main attractions at Wekiwa Springs is the crystal-clear spring that gives the park its name. The spring is a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, and diving, with water temperatures hovering around a refreshing 72 degrees Fahrenheit year-round. Visitors can also rent kayaks and canoes to explore the park’s waterways, which include the Wekiwa River and Rock Springs Run.
For those who prefer to stay on land, Wekiwa Springs has over 13 miles of hiking trails that wind through pine forests, oak hammocks, and wetlands. Be on the lookout for wildlife such as deer, alligators, and a variety of birds.
Experience Art and Culture in Winter Park
Located just a few miles north of downtown Orlando, Winter Park is a charming city with a rich history and a thriving arts scene. The city is home to several museums, galleries, and theaters, as well as a variety of shops and restaurants.
One of the most popular cultural attractions in Winter Park is the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which houses the world’s largest collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Visitors can admire Tiffany’s iconic stained glass windows, lamps, and jewelry, as well as other American art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Another must-visit destination in Winter Park is the Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens. This museum features the works of Czech-born sculptor Albin Polasek, as well as rotating exhibits of contemporary art. The museum’s gardens are also a highlight, with over three acres of landscaped grounds that showcase Polasek’s sculptures in a serene outdoor setting.
Get Your Thrills at iFly Indoor Skydiving
If you’ve ever dreamed of skydiving but don’t want to jump out of a plane, iFly Indoor Skydiving is the perfect activity for you. Located on International Drive, just minutes from many of Orlando’s top theme parks, iFly gives visitors a taste of the thrill of skydiving in a safe, controlled environment.
At iFly, participants suit up in special flight gear and enter a wind tunnel that simulates the feeling of freefalling through the air. Experienced instructors are on hand to guide participants through the experience, ensuring their safety and helping them perform tricks and maneuvers.
iFly is a great activity for families, couples, and groups of friends, and it’s suitable for participants of all ages and skill levels.
Discover History at the Orange County Regional History Center
Located in downtown Orlando, the Orange County Regional History Center is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history of Central Florida. The museum’s exhibits cover a wide range of topics, from the region’s Native American heritage to its role in the Civil Rights Movement.
One of the museum’s most popular exhibits is “The First Peoples,” which explores the history and culture of Florida’s indigenous peoples. Other highlights include exhibits on the region’s early settlers, its citrus industry, and its role in the space race.
The Orange County Regional History Center also offers a variety of educational programs and events throughout the year, including guided tours, lectures, and workshops.
Shop and Dine in Downtown Disney
While it’s true that Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney) is technically a part of Walt Disney World, it’s worth mentioning as a non-theme park activity because of its unique blend of shopping, dining, and entertainment. Located just a few miles from the theme parks, Disney Springs is a pedestrian-friendly destination that’s perfect for a day or evening out.
The complex is home to over 100 shops, ranging from high-end boutiques to souvenir stores, as well as a variety of restaurants and bars. Visitors can also catch a movie at the AMC Dine-In Theater or enjoy live music and other performances at the House of Blues.
One of the highlights of Disney Springs is the World of Disney store, which is the largest Disney merchandise store in the world. This massive store offers a wide variety of Disney-themed souvenirs, from plush toys to apparel to home decor.
In conclusion, while Orlando is certainly famous for its theme parks, there are plenty of other things to see and do in this vibrant city. From exploring nature at Wekiwa Springs State Park to discovering history at the Orange County Regional History Center, there’s something for everyone in Orlando. So, the next time you’re in town, be sure to venture beyond the theme parks and discover the many sides of this exciting city.
Most Asked Queries Regarding Things To Do In Orlando That Are Not Theme Parks
What are some outdoor activities to do in Orlando?
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy the sunshine and nature in Orlando, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from! Here are three of the most popular options:
1. Explore the Wekiwa Springs State Park: This state park is just a short drive from downtown Orlando and offers hiking trails, swimming in natural springs, and even kayaking and canoeing opportunities.
2. Take a hot air balloon ride: Get a bird’s-eye view of Orlando by taking a hot air balloon ride over the city. This is a great option for those who want to see the sights without the crowds.
3. Visit the Harry P. Leu Gardens: This 50-acre botanical garden is home to over 40 different plant collections, as well as several historic homes. It’s a great place to relax and soak in the beauty of nature.
Most important information:
– Wekiwa Springs State Park offers hiking, swimming, and kayaking opportunities.
– Taking a hot air balloon ride provides a unique view of Orlando.
– Harry P. Leu Gardens is a beautiful botanical garden with historic homes.
What cultural experiences can I have in Orlando?
Orlando may be known for its theme parks, but it also has a rich cultural scene. Here are three ways to experience the city’s culture:
1. Visit the Orlando Museum of Art: This museum features a variety of art styles and exhibits, from contemporary to classic. There are also special exhibitions that change throughout the year.
2. Attend a performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts: This state-of-the-art venue hosts a variety of performances, from Broadway shows to symphony concerts. Check their schedule to see what’s coming up during your visit.
3. Explore the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art: This museum is dedicated to the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including his famous stained glass windows. There are also other American art pieces on display.
Most important information:
– Orlando Museum of Art features a variety of art styles and exhibits.
– Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts hosts a variety of performances.
– Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is dedicated to the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany.
What are some family-friendly activities in Orlando?
If you’re traveling with kids, there are plenty of activities in Orlando that are fun for the whole family. Here are three options:
1. Visit the Orlando Science Center: This interactive museum has exhibits on everything from dinosaurs to space exploration. There are also hands-on activities and a planetarium.
2. Go to Gatorland: This park is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles, as well as other animals like snakes and birds. There are also shows and exhibits to learn more about these creatures.
3. Check out the Crayola Experience: This attraction has over 25 activities, including coloring stations, a playground, and a live show. There’s something for kids of all ages here.
Most important information:
– Orlando Science Center has interactive exhibits and a planetarium.
– Gatorland is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles.
– Crayola Experience has over 25 activities for kids of all ages.
What are some unique shopping experiences in Orlando?
If you’re looking for something a little different than the typical mall shopping experience, Orlando has some unique options. Here are three:
1. Visit the Artegon Marketplace: This indoor market features over 100 artisanal shops, selling everything from handmade jewelry to vintage clothing. There are also food vendors and live music.
2. Check out the East End Market: This market is home to several local food vendors, as well as shops selling handmade goods and home decor. There are also cooking classes and other events.
3. Explore Park Avenue: This shopping district in Winter Park has a variety of boutique shops, as well as restaurants and cafes. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon browsing and people-watching.
Most important information:
– Artegon Marketplace has over 100 artisanal shops and live music.
– East End Market has local food vendors and shops selling handmade goods.
– Park Avenue is a shopping district with boutique shops, restaurants, and cafes.
What are some nature experiences near Orlando?
If you’re willing to venture outside of Orlando, there are some amazing nature experiences to be had nearby. Here are three:
1. Visit the Kennedy Space Center: This attraction is located about an hour from Orlando and offers a variety of space-themed exhibits and experiences. There are also tours of the launch pad and other behind-the-scenes areas.
2. Explore the Everglades: This national park is about three hours from Orlando, but it’s worth the drive to see the unique ecosystem and wildlife. There are airboat tours and nature hikes available.
3. Go to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens: This zoo is located about 45 minutes from Orlando and has a variety of animals, as well as a botanical garden. There are also special events and programs throughout the year.
Most important information:
– Kennedy Space Center offers space-themed exhibits and tours.
– Everglades is a national park with unique wildlife and airboat tours.
– Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens has a variety of animals and a botanical garden.
Misinterpretations Regarding Things To Do In Orlando That Are Not Theme Parks
Orlando is known as the theme park capital of the world, but there are plenty of things to do in the city beyond visiting the famous theme parks. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about what there is to do in Orlando that don’t involve theme parks. In this article, we’ll explore some of these misconceptions and set the record straight.
Misconception #1: There’s Nothing to Do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks
This is a common misconception about Orlando, but it couldn’t be further from the truth. Orlando is home to a wide variety of attractions, museums, parks, and cultural experiences that have nothing to do with theme parks. For example, you can visit the Orlando Science Center, the Orlando Museum of Art, or the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. There are also many outdoor activities to enjoy, such as hiking in the Wekiwa Springs State Park or kayaking in the Econlockhatchee River.
Misconception #2: Orlando is Only Good for Families with Kids
While Orlando is certainly a popular destination for families with kids, it’s not just a place for children. There are plenty of activities that are perfect for adults, couples, and groups of friends. For example, you can take a hot air balloon ride over the city, explore the local craft beer scene, or go on a food tour of the city’s diverse neighborhoods. There are also many spas and wellness centers, such as the Waldorf Astoria Spa or the Ritz-Carlton Spa, where you can relax and rejuvenate.
Misconception #3: Orlando is All About the Tourist Traps
While there are certainly tourist traps in Orlando, there are also many authentic and unique experiences to be had. For example, you can visit the Harry P. Leu Gardens, a 50-acre botanical garden that is home to over 40 different plant collections. You can also explore the city’s vibrant arts scene by attending a performance at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts or the Orlando Ballet. Additionally, there are many local restaurants and shops that offer a taste of Orlando’s unique culture and history.
Misconception #4: Orlando is Too Hot to Enjoy Anything Outside
While it’s true that Orlando can get hot and humid during the summer months, there are still plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy. Many of the parks and gardens in the city offer shaded areas or indoor exhibits where you can escape the heat. You can also plan your outdoor activities for the early morning or late afternoon when it’s cooler. Additionally, there are many water-based activities to enjoy, such as paddleboarding, kayaking, and swimming in the natural springs.
Misconception #5: Orlando is Too Expensive to Enjoy Without Theme Parks
While some of the theme parks in Orlando can be expensive, there are many activities and experiences that are affordable or even free. Many of the museums and parks in the city offer discounted admission or free admission on certain days. You can also explore the city’s outdoor markets and fairs, such as the Winter Park Farmers’ Market or the Orlando Flea Market. Additionally, there are many free events and activities throughout the year, such as the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival or the Winter Park Art Festival.
Orlando is a city with much to offer beyond the traditional theme park experience. From cultural attractions to outdoor adventures to unique dining and shopping experiences, there is something for everyone in Orlando. By dispelling these common misconceptions, we hope to inspire more people to explore all that this vibrant city has to offer.
Things To Do In Orlando That Are Not Theme Parks
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