Orlando may be the country’s most popular destination for families. With its extensive collection of theme parks, the possibilities seem endless. Whether you’re planning a family trip to the parks or looking to move away from Magic Kingdom mania, consider some of these destinations during your next trip to Central Florida.
1. Get an astronaut’s point of view at the Kennedy Space Center
If you ever dreamed of rocket launches and space suits, plan a trip to the Kennedy Space Center. With a space shuttle launch simulation, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and even an Astronaut Training Experience, you’ll leave feeling ready for blastoff. You can also book lunch with an astronaut or attend Astronaut Encounter, a presentation with a veteran astronaut.
2. Browse the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
For a reasonable afternoon of art and culture, head to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Admission is $5 for adults and only $1 for students and offers access to all of the museum’s galleries. While you’re there, explore the museum’s extensive collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, a well-known artist and glassmaker.
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3. Get in touch with your musical side at Rock & Roll Heaven
If you’re a true believer in vinyl, check out Rock & Roll Heaven, which brags a selection of records starting at just $1. If you’ve moved past the record player, the store also carries CDs and cassettes, as well as products ranging from DVDs and books to t-shirts and posters.
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4. Connect with Nature at Leu Gardens
Take a break from all the theme park madness at Leu Gardens for a tranquil day enjoying the outdoors. Year round you can come and explore the extensive plant life or take a tour of the Leu House Museum, where four different families lived before the grounds were made open to the public. There are also permanent and rotating art exhibits for you to enjoy.
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5. Ride the Screamin’ Gator Zipline in Gatorland
If you’re looking for a double adrenaline rush, try the Screamin’ Gator Zipline in Gatorland. This zipline not only brings guests up to 65 feet in the air, it also allows them to soar over exhibits of live alligators, adding to the heart pounding excitement. There are plenty of other activities at Gatorland as well, including the chance to be a gator trainer for the day.
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6. Release your inner wizard in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
With the addition of Diagon Alley last summer, you can’t make a trip to Orlando without stopping by Universal Studios. The park is divided into two areas: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley, which are connected by the Hogwarts Express. At Hogsmeade, grab a butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks, or check out the iconic Hogwarts castle. In Diagon Alley you can visit the shops and even take a trip to Gringotts.
7. Drink around the world at Epcot
Whether you’re a parent who needs a break from the Mickey madness, or hitting the point in your twenties where the spinning teacups make you nauseous, head to Epcot for a grown-up good time. Drinking Around the World is a different type of theme park adventure. Guests make their way through the eleven “countries” in Epcot’s World Showcase, grabbing a drink at each one. The countries also offer food and entertainment so you can pace yourself as you go.
8. Take an underwater tour at Discovery Cove
Discovery Cove offers tons of aquatic adventures from swimming with dolphins to exploring the Grand Reef. But nothing quite compares to SeaVenture, a one-of-a-kind tour where visitors strap on a dive helmet and explore underwater. Get up close and personal with the sea life during this 25-minute walking tour you’ll never forget.
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9. See Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba
If you’ve always wanted to see this aerial spectacular, now is your chance. The Walt Disney World Resort is home to La Nouba, a fantastical show full of signature stunts and performances. The show documents a meeting of two worlds where, according to the website, “the mundane meets the marvelous.” Lose yourself in a night of unparalleled tricks and routines you’ll never forget.
10. End the night with the Wishes Nighttime Spectacular
After a long day in the parks, stop by the Magic Kingdom for this breathtaking fireworks display, perfect for the whole family to enjoy. Watch the iconic Cinderella Castle light up in the night as beloved Disney characters like Jiminy Cricket and Peter Pan narrate the show. You may want to leave yourself time to get there early and snag a spot with a good view.