Sunday, October 23, 2016 Edition: U.S. & World | Regional

10 Things to Do in Orlando Beyond Theme Parks

Orlando, Florida, is one of the most famous vacation spots in the United States. However, Central Florida is known as one of the world’s greatest travel destinations. Most people consider Orlando as only the travel destination because of the theme parks. If you’re visiting Florida for the first time, then you should know that there are a lot of activities that you can do besides the theme parks, which are other entertainment options. Here are 10 things one can do in Orlando, besides going to the theme parks:


Hot Air Balloon Ride

Take a hot air balloon ride in the Orlando, Kissimmee, Disney World, or the Davenport areas in a flight customized just for you. Fly over Orange, Osceola, Lake and Polk Counties seeing the wildlife and scenery as only seen while floating over it in a balloon.  Hot air balloon rides are a great way to celebrate a special occasion, birthday, engagement, anniversary or corporate outing. Peacefully drifting across treetops as dawn breaks is an experience not to be missed. Enjoy the panoramic view of the lakes, wildlife and skylines of Central Florida’s cities and attractions. At the end of the flight enjoy a champagne brunch  wherever the balloon lands.

What else could be more attractive than admiring the air-view of the lakes, and forests of Orlando, and that too when the sun is rising alongside, which enhances the view. Enjoy champagne and toast during the ride and a post-flight snack afterwards.


Spectacular Spas

Take your time out to get indulged in the amazing services from the world class spas in Orlando. The most famous spa is the Waldorf Astoria Spa. Here individual treatments become a completely customized experience in which your personal skin qualities and aesthetic expectations are the sole objective of your session.Their signature ingredient, honey, which is infused into our unique skin treatments, products, and personalized therapies. This luxurious Orlando spa resort will transform your visit into a luxurious and personal escape.

  • Facial Therapies – rediscover your most radiant complexion
  • Body Therapies – from hydrotherapy to contouring body treatments, reduce stress and rejuvenate your skin
  • Massage Therapies – enjoy the healing and harmonizing benefits of personalized massage therapies
  • Hand and Foot Therapies – the ultimate in pampering for your hard-working extremities
  • Salon Services – from makeup application to specialty hair treatments, you will leave feeling gorgeous and pampered



Premiere Golfing

Spend a day or more at a world famous golf course in order to test and enhance your golf skills. Orlando is basically home to the top designers, for instance Tom Fazio, Pete Dye, and so on. It seems like most of the PGA Tour makes Orlando home, thanks to a wonderful climate and superior golf facilities. The pros live mostly at private enclaves like Lake Nona and Isle worth, but you never know when you’ll run into a professional at one of Orlando’s favorite courses.  Here are some of the best must play courses you will want to try.
Grand Cypress Resort (, 407-239-4700, $120-$165)

Bay Hill Club & Lodge (, 888-422-9445, $186-$245)

Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lakes (; 407-206-2400, $85-$190)

Reunion Resort (, 866-880-8563, $100-$140)

Waldorf Astoria Club (, 407-597-3738, $70-$180)

Southern Dunes Golf & Country Club (, 800-632-6400, $99-$129)

ChampionsGate (, 407-787-4653, $109-$139)

Walt Disney World (; $104-$185)

Celebration Golf Club (; 407-566-4653, $79-$159)

 Orange County National (; 407-656-2626, $79-$129)


Kennedy Space Center

Kennedy Space Center is an ultimate location to experience the space history in general. There are certain attractions present there like the Shuttle Launch experience, The Rocket Garden, The Astronaut Memorial, and so much more. Space Shuttle Atlantis showcases the priceless, historic spacecraft that tells the incredible story of NASA’s 30-year Space Shuttle Program. Space Shuttle Atlantis is displayed as only spacewalking astronauts have seen her before — rotated 43.21 degrees with payload doors open and its Canadarm (robotic arm) extended, as it has just undocked from the International Space Station.

Space Shuttle Atlantis features state-of-the-art multimedia presentations and more than 60 interactive exhibits and high-tech simulators that bring to life the complex systems and components behind this incredible feat of engineering. One of the most complicated and sophisticated pieces of equipment ever built, the shuttle is a vehicle that launched like a rocket, flew in orbit like a spacecraft and landed on a runway like a glider.  Guests visiting Space Shuttle Atlantis are greeted by a full-scale, upright, replica space shuttle stack, including external tank and two solid rocket boosters. The 184-foot-tall assembly gives visitors a true sense of the awesome power used to thrust the shuttle into orbit.

Boggy Creek Airboats Rides

It is said that you haven’t seen Orlando if you haven’t been on the Boggy Creek Airboat ride. Enjoy skimming above the water surface, and you would be able to see the native wildlife in Central Florida.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides as the ORIGINAL airboat company in Central Florida with just one six-passenger airboat in 1994. At that time it was unheard of to stay in the Orlando area and take an airboat ride. The Florida Everglades in south Florida are known worldwide as the location to go out on an airboat tour. Boggy Creek’s central location still gives them a chance to see the “Real Florida” only minutes from Orlando’s attractions. A “must see” location for travelers all around the world. Boggy Creek Airboat rides has over eight 17-passenger airboats and four 6-passenger private airboats. Over a million passengers have learned about the Everglades by exploring the Wetlands of Orlando. Although there are now many other operators in Central Florida this one comes out on top!

Wonder Works

The most unique attraction in Orlando is Wonder Works, which is a building that is upside down like it’s been in a terrifying tornado. There are numerous activities to do inside the building.WonderWorks is an amusement park for the mind with 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment”. The attraction combines education and entertainment with more than 100 hands on exhibits that challenge the mind and spark the imagination. This once top-secret laboratory was located in the Bermuda triangle. An experiment gone awry lifted the laboratory carrying it to International Drive in Orlando, Florida where it landed upside down. Luckily all of the exhibits remained intact and available for guests to explore.

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Most of the places in Orlando are hated because they do not allow photography. However, Madame Tussauds Orlando allows you to take as many selfies as you like, and that too with your favorite celebrities! Millions and millions of people have flocked through the doors of Madame Tussauds since they first opened over 200 years ago and it remains just as popular as it ever was. There are many reasons for this enduring success, but at the heart of it all is good, old-fashioned curiosity.

The Cirque Magique Dinner Show

The mysterious Cirque Magique Dinner show is worth a visit. The interactive dinner and theater show is combined with circus performers such as magicians, acrobats, clowns, and even performing pet animals. This family friendly dinner show is about to celebrate it’s 1st anniversary. This magical and mysterious circus themed show debuted on July 7th 2015 inside the Treasure Tavern Theater and has brought much joy and happiness to those who have come see it!The highly interactive show features circus performers from around the world including a comedy magician, clowns, acrobats and performing puppies. During the show a meal will be served, with ice-cream for dessert.
The show targets families with children and performs 3 days a week; Fridays Saturdays and Sundays inside the Treasure Tavern Theater. (Showtimes subject to change) For current Showtimes click here


iFly Indoor Skydiving

iFly Indoor skydiving would make you feel like you’re jumping out of a plane, but without literally having to do so. There is a vertical wind tunnel present which allows all the free-fall conditions, which you would get from an actual skydiving experience. When you come to iFLY get ready to be blown away – literally. It’s thrilling. It’s amazing. Experience the feeling of freefall as you float on a smooth cushion of air. There’s no parachute, no jumping, and nothing attaching you to planet Earth. It’s just you FLYING in the air. Super fun, super safe and super cool!
Here’s what you can expect during your experience at iFLY:

  • ARRIVAL: Plan to arrive an hour before your scheduled flight time.
  • CHECK IN: Use one of our handy touchscreen kiosks to check-in. Flyers under the age of 18 will need to have a waiver completed by their guardian prior to flying. Once you have checked in and your waiver has been completed one of our friendly flight crew members will assist you in putting on your flight wristband. This means you are ready to fly.
  • PRE-FLIGHT: After check-in, head to the flight deck viewing area to watch people, just like you, flying.
  • FLIGHT TRAINING: The certified flight instructor assigned to your class will find you in the viewing area and guide you to the classroom for flight training instruction. During training you will learn proper body position for flying and hand signals the instructors will use while you are flying. Remember, relax and have fun!
  • GEAR UP: After flight training your instructor will take you to the gear up counter where you will receive your helmet, flight suit and goggles.
  • FLYING: Your instructor will lead you to the flight chamber and will be with you during the entire flight experience, helping you enter the flight chamber (just lean in) and spotting you the entire time, to help you fly like a superhero.
  • POST-FLIGHT: Your instructor will lead you out of the flight chamber, you will de-gear and receive your personalized flight certificate. Pictures and videos of your flight will be available for purchase at kiosks near the gear counter.

The entire iFLY experience lasts about 1 hour and 45 minutes and each flight is the equivalent of 1.5 skydives.


Museum of Art

The Orlando Museum of Art is known as the ‘leading cultural institution in the region. The Museum has dedicated itself to collecting, preserving and interpreting notable works of art; to presenting exhibitions of local, regional, national and international significance; to developing first-rate educational programs; and to presenting creative and inclusive programs to reach every segment of a diverse community. Annually, the Museum presents 10-12 exhibitions on-site and 13 exhibitions off-site, award-winning art enrichment programs, unlimited gallery tours, teacher in-service training programs, video programs, distinguished lectures, art appreciation lectures, studio classes, lecture/luncheon programs and outreach services in its facility and throughout the community. The services benefit individuals, including visitors from all 67 counties in Florida, the other 49 states and numerous foreign countries. These programs are implemented by the Museum’s staff, its Board of Trustees and more than 700 volunteers, many of whom are part of its membership of 5,000 individuals.

As you can see, there are countless activities for you to do on your next trip to Orlando. Don’t limit yourself to the crowded, expensive theme parks.

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