5 Ways to Enjoy Orlando that Don't Involve Theme Parks
Orlando may be known as the theme park capital of the world, but that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to do there.
Located in Central Florida, Orlando is an international destination. Known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” the city is home to Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld just to name a few of the attractions located there.
But Orlando’s central location also makes it an ideal destination for those looking to escape the frenetic energy of theme parks. There are more than 100 communities within Orlando, including historic districts and diverse cultures. Lake Eola is located in the heart of Orlando giving the city a picturesque serene quality. And the city’s downtown area is bustling with business and home to the Amway Center where the Orlando Magic play.
Got plans to travel to Orlando but want to go beyond theme parks? Here are our top 5 options for things to do:
Explore Church Street
Orlando’s Church Street dates back to the 1800s when it was home to Orlando’s major train depot. Now Church Street is home to a mix of dining, live entertainment, clubs and theater. Church Street is a great place to explore at night. Grab a great dinner at the Rusty Spoon, where three-time James Beard nominee Chef Kathleen Blake is the chef serving up local ingredients. Then grab a show at the Mad Cow Theater, before a nightcap at one of Church Street’s many lounges or clubs.
Stay here: Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton Downtown Orlando
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
Pump up the adrenaline without the roller coaster at this adventure in the woods. Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is a collection of challenges and obstacle courses in the pine forest. Park goers can swing around the trees like Tarzan, zip line, leap into hanging nests, or play a game of avoiding swinging logs. Each tree climber is securely clipped with a safety cable at all times. Ages 7 and up can climb at the park, and all skill levels are welcomed. For more information visit https://www.orlandotreetrek.com/.
Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show
Think you have what it takes to solve a crime? Well put your skills to the test at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show in Orlando. The 2/12 hour long experience includes appetizer, main course and dessert all the while you’re working to solve a mystery with the entire group. What makes Sleuth’s special is the comedic aspect. You’ll laugh and nosh all the while trying to solve the case. For more information visit https://www.sleuths.com
Stay here: Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton International Drive North
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Many don’t make it past Orlando’s theme parks to discover one of the state’s top zoos. The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is home to more than 300 animals, including rhinos, giraffes and plenty of big cats. Among its top features is the Orianne Center for Indigo Conservation, whose top goal is the preservation of the Eastern Indigo Snake. You can also explore the many gardens throughout the zoo including the butterfly garden and bromeliad collection. For more information visit https://www.centralfloridazoo.org
Known as one of Orlando’s oldest attractions, Gatorland still draws a crowd with its plethora of toothy gators and other Florida wildlife. The attraction has hundreds of gators and other reptiles, but perhaps their most famous aspect is their Reptile Show, which includes gator wrestling. Gatorland is also home to the rare white leucistic alligators, which are 10-12 feet and weight more than 800 pounds. Visit their website to learn more: https://www.gatorland.com/
Stay here: Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Orlando East