Fun things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks

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jade

Ballwin, MO

#1 Jan 2, 2013
My daughter moved to Orlando several months ago. I am getting ready to visit my daugher for the first time. Any fun places or interesting places to go to besides the tourist or theme parks???
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#3 Jan 2, 2013
A million of 'em. Leu Gardens. Swan boat rides on Lake Eola.(some nice restaurants and cafes on the lake, too) The Science Center. These are all right in downtown Orlando. Within an hour or two drive-NASA Space Center. Daytona Beach. Airboat rides in Kissimmee. Helicopter rides (I think there's one of these right in downtown, too) The quaint shops and main street of Deland. Good restaurants in Downtown Disney and City Walk at Universal (neither require paying to get in the parks). Gatorland-yes, it's sort of a theme park, but very "old Florida" and kitschy, also educational if the gators interest you. If it's cold, make the drive to Volusia County to see the manatees at Blue Spring-one of my very favorite things. There is nothing as relaxing as watching these incredibly serene gentle giants in their natural habitat. You can FEEL your blood pressure going down! A game or concert at the Amway Center. The shops in College Park-lots of small businesses with unique items, lots of book stores-or at least there used to be lots of book stores, I haven't been down there for a while. Live theater at the Bob Karr. Whatever you do, don't get caught in the tourist trap of thinking that the parks and the strip malls are all there is in FL. There is still incredible natural beauty, wildlife, beautiful flora and fauna........much to see without paying the high price of park tickets. Of course, if you haven't been, the parks are great too. Animal Kingdom, Epcot (often with special events going on), The Magic Kingdom, Universal,especially the Harry Potter attraction if you're a fan, and of course, Sea World. There's also Legoland in Winter Haven, and the one that I think is just weird..I think it's called the Holy Land Experience or something like that, a theme park with a religious theme. Discovery Cove at Sea World where you can swim with stingrays and dolphins..........get a guidebook, there are endless possibilities. Enjoy your visit!!!! Oh, and if you and your daughter are into high-end shopping, the Mall at Millenia-if you prefer outlet shopping we have those too!

Level 9

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#11 Jan 3, 2013
tired of silly wrote:
A million of 'em. Leu Gardens. Swan boat rides on Lake Eola.(some nice restaurants and cafes on the lake, too) The Science Center. These are all right in downtown Orlando. Within an hour or two drive-NASA Space Center. Daytona Beach. Airboat rides in Kissimmee. Helicopter rides (I think there's one of these right in downtown, too) The quaint shops and main street of Deland. Good restaurants in Downtown Disney and City Walk at Universal (neither require paying to get in the parks). Gatorland-yes, it's sort of a theme park, but very "old Florida" and kitschy, also educational if the gators interest you. If it's cold, make the drive to Volusia County to see the manatees at Blue Spring-one of my very favorite things. There is nothing as relaxing as watching these incredibly serene gentle giants in their natural habitat. You can FEEL your blood pressure going down! A game or concert at the Amway Center. The shops in College Park-lots of small businesses with unique items, lots of book stores-or at least there used to be lots of book stores, I haven't been down there for a while. Live theater at the Bob Karr. Whatever you do, don't get caught in the tourist trap of thinking that the parks and the strip malls are all there is in FL. There is still incredible natural beauty, wildlife, beautiful flora and fauna........much to see without paying the high price of park tickets. Of course, if you haven't been, the parks are great too. Animal Kingdom, Epcot (often with special events going on), The Magic Kingdom, Universal,especially the Harry Potter attraction if you're a fan, and of course, Sea World. There's also Legoland in Winter Haven, and the one that I think is just weird..I think it's called the Holy Land Experience or something like that, a theme park with a religious theme. Discovery Cove at Sea World where you can swim with stingrays and dolphins..........get a guidebook, there are endless possibilities. Enjoy your visit!!!! Oh, and if you and your daughter are into high-end shopping, the Mall at Millenia-if you prefer outlet shopping we have those too!
I've had me eye on swimming with the manatees and also everglade zip-line tours.

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#12 Jan 3, 2013
Ron is starting up a new business this year~~
Yep, he will personally take you on a walking tour of OBT, starting with the Greyhound Bus Lounge...

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#18 Jan 3, 2013
Gluteus Maximus wrote:
<quoted text>
Not sure about swimming with manatees. Is there a place where this can be done legally??
Check with Blue Springs, Florida~~
I'm sure that would be a good start since Manatee's gather
there.
I've encountered Manatees in the wild and believe me, they are
in charge when it comes to wanting to be handled.
The laws on touching them in the wild are very strict, but the
paradox is, THEY want the encounter and are very curious about
us humans.

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#20 Jan 3, 2013
And yes, there are many interesting things to do
in Florida besides all things Disney.
I'm glad to see someone ask about it...
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#23 Jan 3, 2013
Gluteus Maximus wrote:
Agree with all tips except for Daytona Beach. It's a run down, crime-ridden dump. The old pier is closed and in disrepair and you don't want to be anywhere near that town during speed weeks (assuming you visit in February). Brevard County is closer and has nicer beaches. Would also add Wekiva Springs SP near Apopka and Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area in east Orange County, if you want to see some "real" Florida. I have seen bobcats and turkeys at both places. Combine Tosohatchee with a visit to Fort Christmas for a nice excursion.--GM
I included Daytona only because some tourists like the novelty of driving on the beach, and <sigh> some are NASCAR fans and actually want to go to the Speedway. I agree about the town itself. I used to include going to see "The Senator" in Seminole County on my list for tourists, but it got struck by lightning and sadly, is no more.
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#24 Jan 3, 2013
Gluteus Maximus wrote:
<quoted text>
Not sure about swimming with manatees. Is there a place where this can be done legally??
I don't know of anywhere that you can swim with manatees legally. I know that at Blue Spring you CANNOT. The swimming area is marked off and you are not permitted to go out where the manatees congregate. Just watching them is enough for me, they are just so SERENE. I used to have a job with a branch office in Volusia, and when it was cold and I saw on the news that there was a large # of manatees in the spring, I would go up there to work that day and spend my lunch hour on the observation deck watching them swim back and forth. You can often see an alligator in the wild there too, on the far bank.

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#25 Jan 3, 2013
One of the reasons I'm a big Jimmy Buffett fan is
because of his dedication to sea creatures and marine life. In particular, the wonderful Manatees.
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#26 Jan 3, 2013
I also recommend a trip to the Gulf side, especially the barrier islands. The water is crystal clear, warm, and calm. You get the benefit of salt water without being beaten up by waves, and you can stand in the water and look down at the bottom. Great shelling on many of those islands, too. I love being able to see the little fishies swimming by me, and just reaching down to pick up perfect shells. End the day at a beachside cafe, bet on the exact moment of the sunset, and win a bottle of wine to top off your freshly caught and cooked seafood dinner! PARADISE!

Level 9

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#28 Jan 4, 2013
tired of silly wrote:
<quoted text>
I don't know of anywhere that you can swim with manatees legally. I know that at Blue Spring you CANNOT. The swimming area is marked off and you are not permitted to go out where the manatees congregate. Just watching them is enough for me, they are just so SERENE. I used to have a job with a branch office in Volusia, and when it was cold and I saw on the news that there was a large # of manatees in the spring, I would go up there to work that day and spend my lunch hour on the observation deck watching them swim back and forth. You can often see an alligator in the wild there too, on the far bank.
Several Crystal River businesses and Homasassa Wildlife Park offer guided snorkeling adventures. As I understand it, swimming with them is legal, but touching, feeding or otherwise interfering with them is not.

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#29 Jan 4, 2013
LOL~~
I'm a native of Florida and TOS and Darwin are
convincing me I need a trip to my home state.
You all should work for the tourism board...
Good job!
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#33 Jan 4, 2013
rubygoober wrote:
LOL~~
I'm a native of Florida and TOS and Darwin are
convincing me I need a trip to my home state.
You all should work for the tourism board...
Good job!
Come visit!! We moved here 15 years ago because we fell in LOVE with FL when vacationing. Like Darwin, we first were devoted to the parks (when our kids were young), but were fortunate enough to meet some "real" Floridians who told us about all the non-park things. Once we started to explore real Florida, we knew that we wanted to live here. We rarely go to the parks anymore, but wouldn't want to live anywhere else. Even the things that others complain about, namely the heat and humidity in the summer, we love. When we're tempted to complain, we just remind each other that "we don't have to shovel the heat!" The thing I love most is the year-round flowers and greenery. After spending nearly 40 years in a climate where six months out of the year everything was gray, cold and depressing, I can't imagine being without year-round colorful scenery. We haven't begun to do all the things in the state that we want to-day to day life, jobs, raising kids, etc. gets in the way of constant playing-but when we retire I intend to see every inch of this state!!!
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#35 Jan 4, 2013
Hey You wrote:
<quoted text> Go to Pine Hill and around the Florida Mall area . If you speak english you will find out you may be the only one . Central Fl is loaded with killers drug users homosexual and crooked cops and a ton of other scumbags .
Why would anyone go to the slums??? There are slums in every city, PERVERT. You once said that Pine Hills was where you once lived (I believe that, you're just scummy enough to live there.) And "the area around the Florida Mall..........you mean your FAVORITE place, OBT?!?!?! The anus of Orlando, and your favorite place. Normal people don't go there, either. Oh, and we don't want you ANYWHERE in Florida that's why you and the hookerhog were run out. Now go lay on the interstate like a good little PERVERT, fatboy.

Level 9

Since: Jun 11

Location hidden

#38 Jan 7, 2013
rubygoober wrote:
LOL~~
I'm a native of Florida and TOS and Darwin are
convincing me I need a trip to my home state.
You all should work for the tourism board...
Good job!
North Georgia, eh? Well, I have a story about South Georgia- Okeefenokee Swamp, specifically...

I went on a guided canoe trip through the swamp with a guide that could have been from Aintree (Deliverance- 1972)

Being a Yankee, I had little experience with alligators. Anyway, the guide told me that if a gator got too close to my canoe, don't panic. Just smack it on the nose with my paddle.

Nice... Swamp survival techniques from a guy whose entire family had one tooth...

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#39 Jan 7, 2013
Charles R Darwin wrote:
<quoted text>
North Georgia, eh? Well, I have a story about South Georgia- Okeefenokee Swamp, specifically...
I went on a guided canoe trip through the swamp with a guide that could have been from Aintree (Deliverance- 1972)
Being a Yankee, I had little experience with alligators. Anyway, the guide told me that if a gator got too close to my canoe, don't panic. Just smack it on the nose with my paddle.
Nice... Swamp survival techniques from a guy whose entire family had one tooth...
Oh my gosh~~
Thanks for the laugh, Darwin!
I bet it did seem foreign to you. He gave you good advice on the
gator smack, though.
My sister took a guided tour in Okeefenokee, too. She said it was 95/95 humidity and he was drinking steaming hot coffee oblivious to
the hundreds of mosquito's circling him...
tired of silly

Orlando, FL

#41 Jan 8, 2013
rubygoober wrote:
<quoted text>
Oh my gosh~~
Thanks for the laugh, Darwin!
I bet it did seem foreign to you. He gave you good advice on the
gator smack, though.
My sister took a guided tour in Okeefenokee, too. She said it was 95/95 humidity and he was drinking steaming hot coffee oblivious to
the hundreds of mosquito's circling him...
When we first moved to FL, I worked as a crisis care nurse in hospice. My very first patient here was a little old lady. Lovely family, about 7 or 8 grown kids, all in the house sitting vigil with their dying mom. One son was a "swamp rat", they had gone and gotten him out of his shack in the swamps to come when mama was dying. He and I were sitting with his mom, and he said to me, out of the blue, "Bet you don't know how to kill a gator with a ball peen hammer!" I agreed that I did not know how, of course. He proceeded to tell me that " first you lay on your belly in the swamp and grunt like a gator (complete with grunting demonstration), then when the gator comes up to check you out, you WHOMP him 'tween the eyes with the ball peen hammer!" I was trying so hard not to laugh, but I asked him "So what happens if you don't whomp him hard enough and you just make him really mad?" His response was "OHHHHHHH baby then you get up and runnnnnnnnnnnn like hellllllllllllllll". I'll never forget that guy!!!
White Girl Problems

Spring, TX

#42 Jun 18, 2013
What can you tell me about Naples, FL?

“That's all folks...”

Since: Jan 12

Paradise North Georgia

#43 Jun 18, 2013
White Girl Problems

Spring, TX

#44 Jun 18, 2013
I was looking for personal experience. We are looking for places for a family get-together and have been to other areas of Florida. We don't want to do Orlando again or any of that area. I thought someone might currently live there or have traveled there with all these Florida dwellers.

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