Enjoy Orlando beyond Disney
There's a lot more to Orlando, Florida than Disney!When you tell someone you're going on a trip to Orlando, Florida, the assumption is that you are going to bow down at the altar of Disney. Of course, Disney World is a huge part of what makes Orlando such a popular tourist destination. There are many attractions in Orlando beyond Disney, so even if you're not too keen on the mouse with the big ears, Orlando is a great choice for a family vacation.
If you have kids and like to combine fun with educational experiences, Orlando is the spot for you. There are many places to visit that offer you the chance to have fun as well as learn a little something.
B-52 Memorial Park
For all of you history buffs, the B-52 Memorial Park is a place you must check out while in Orlando. The park houses an actual B-52D Stratofortress Bomber – something any history lover would want to see!
Orlando Museum of Art
At the Orlando Museum of Art, you will see exhibits from local, national and international artists. You can also sit in on art appreciation lectures and take a guided tour.
Orlando Science Center
If you enjoy science, visit the Orlando Science Center. It contains exhibits that appeal to the scientifically-curious of all ages: NatureWorks, Kids Town, BodyZone, DinoDigs, TechLabs and The Science of Milk. There is also a domed theater, planetarium and observatory.
SeaWorld Orlando is a must-see for all animal lovers. Not only can you visit Shamu, but you can also see stingrays, dolphins, alligators, sea turtles, and manatees. You can ride the Kraken roller coaster and the Journey to Atlantis boat ride.
Gatorland is a reptile-lovers dream: thousands of alligators and crocs, plus other reptile exhibits, shows and a petting zoo. Their Web site says that Gatorland is the Alligator Capital of the World.
Busch Gardens Africa
About an hour away in Tampa Bay, you can find Busch Gardens Africa. Take a train, visit the Bird Gardens or Land of the Dragons, and ride the Kumba roller coaster and Congo River Rapids ride.
Kennedy Space Center
Don't forget the Kennedy Space Center, which is about a 45-minute drive from Orlando. Learn about NASA and the space program.
Vacations don't need to be all about learning something. There are many recreational choices in Orlando beyond Disney and all things mouse-related. Universal Orlando has three different attractions: Universal Studios Florida, Universal's Islands of Adventure and the Wet 'n' Wild Water Park.
- Universal Studios
- Universal's Islands of Adventure
- Wet 'n' Wild Water Park
Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede
For the wannabe cowboys and cowgirls in your life, be sure to check out Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede. While Parton herself does not appear, you can get a down-home style meal and a rousing wild West-themed revue, complete with horses.
SAK Comedy Lab
The SAK Comedy Lab is a 200-seat improv-comedy theater. The show is family-friendly. The Lab boasts some illustrious alumni like Wayne Brady, actor and host of Don't Forget the Lyrics.
Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium
For those of you who like the unusual and unbelievable, don't miss the Ripley's Believe It or Not Odditorium.
After all of these exciting attractions, you may want some downtime at the beach, on the golf course or swimming in a lake. Orlando is the spot for those activities, boasting many nearby lakes, golf courses and the beach about an hour away going east or west. Orlando is clearly a great family vacation destination in its own right, with or without Disney.