Orlando activities. There is far more than only the well-known theme parks. Hundreds of other activities – more parks, attractions, entertainment, excursions, golf courses and nature.
In this part of our Orlando guide you will find inspiration for lots of exciting adventures and Orlando activities during your stay in the area.
See alligators in the morning and meet Jesus in Jerusalem in the afternoon – it happens only in Orlando!
Orlando is visited by over 70 millions each year, which makes the city the “US capital of tourism” (a metropolis like New York City coming second with 63 millions while Las Vegas attracted 42 million tourists).
The state of Florida had 116.5 million visitors 2017.
On this and other pages about Orlando we present tips about attractions and Orlando activities – and the best ones to visit.
Gatorland – a roadside attraction that survived
Gatorland is one of the best examples of a true road side attraction. Long before Disney we could see road side attractions across Florida. A few has survived.
This park opened as Florida Wildlife Institute in Kissimmee already in 1949. Back then the owner had to travel north with an alligator in the truck to make money to operate the park.
The park was renamed again, to Snake Village and Alligator Farm, before it got its current name in 1954.
Gatorland feels like a nice alternative to all the other fun. Not least for visitors who do not plan a nature hike. Here they meet both alligators and crocodiles, plus more exotic wildlife.
It’s no coincidence that both James Bond and Indiana Jones movies were filmed here.
The “Alligator Capital of the World” is still owned by the family who started the company 70 years ago. The park has recently undergone extensive renovation.
Entrance fees are human, $ 26.00 (adult), $ 18.50 (children) and as usual all taxes and fees are included in the prices of the Official Ticket Center.
The up-side-down house
It is impossible to miss “the up-side-down house” on International Drive. The eye-catching building contains Wonderworks and offers interactive exhibitions, simulators, etc. A family entertainment, where you can spend several hours, yet not see everything.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides is a great way to see Florida’s wildlife in the Orlando area. Visit a native american village and the tour is perfect for alligator spotting, seeing turtles and exotic birds. (Take a morning trip as it’s early in the day as the alligators are the most active.)
Fun Spot America
The company has two locations in Orlando: International Drive and Kissimmee Old Town. The ticket is valid for unlimited rides in go-karts and other rides.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not
Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a museum where you can see a large collection of strange things. Everything from stuffed animals with two heads to strange and bizarre things like the founder, Robert Ripley, gathered during many expeditions around the world.
Sleuths Mystery Dinner Show
Adult-Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner is central Florida’s only full-time mystery company. You enter a world of mystery and intrigue. The show includes audience participation, dinner & desert, unlimited beer, wine, and sodas. You might be chosen for a cameo role!
Orlando Magic (NBA)
The city’s basketball team, with home arena Amway Center in Downtown Orlando, has season from October to April. Be sure to see NBA basket in reality, an experience (I promise).
Medieval Times Dinner Theater
A magnificent journey into the past, with valiant knights and heroic horses. During the performance guests enjoy an authentic medieval feast while watching horsemanship & bravery in a battle on horseback.
Search among Orlando activities, book from homeClick on one of the activities above. Then you can choose category to find easier. It is also possible to add the desired date.
The Holy Land Experience
Equally mocked (by non-believers) as loved (by religious groups). Holy Land Experience is a Christian theme park.
In addition to lots of exhibitions, Holy Land Experience offers dramatic performances from the Bible. Not only Jesus crucifixion and resurrection, also a number of other famous personalities are in the role list.
A park more interesting than it may seem takes place among our Orlando activities. The city of Jerusalem, how it is supposed to have looked 2,000 years ago, is impressive for those who remember the lessons from Sunday School.
Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition
The exhibition on International Drive offers guided tours where you can learn from the ship disaster more than 100 years ago. A three ton section of the Ship’s hull is the second largest piece of Titanic recovered. Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition also offer a “gala dinner” Fridays and Saturdays.
Swim with manatees
See, or swim with, manatees – a different adventure while in Orlando. The manatee is a large mammal found throughout Florida all year round. In the sea as well as in rivers and other streams.
You have the best chance to see them during winter months. Manatees move to warmer environment when the temperature in the Gulf of Mexico goes below 20 degrees.
Among our Orlando activities an odd adventure to tell your friends.
The best opportunities for experiencing manatees is the “Manatee Capital of the World”, which means Citrus County about 150 kilometers west of Orlando. The area has several places with manatee programs.
Listed to the right the best selection in Citrus County as well as links to other places in Florida.
For more information regarding manatee activities, read our favorite blog Authentic Florida, always on the spot when it comes to adventures in the Florida nature.
Richard Petty Driving Experience in Daytona Beach
Among the Orlando activities we can not resist to add the famous Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Go for a NASCAR drive – from only being a passenger with a pro at the wheel to being on the race track for almost an hour on your own.
Earlier you could try this inside Walt Disney World, but now you need to get to Daytona Beach.
It is worth driving there from Orlando (one hour) to add the thrill of driving on one of the world’s most famous race tracks.
I have tested and although expensive it is for sure one of the best Florida adventures I have made.
Do not expect to be comfortable.
Do not expect power steering.
Of over ten options, most popular is the “The Rookie”: After drivers meeting with crew chief, training and instruction you get behind the wheel and drive a real NASCAR race car by yourself for an eight minute timed racing session. Passing is allowed and you do not need to follow a lead car.
Kids are allowed to participate in “Junior ride along”.
Price for “The Rookie” from $320, while the most advanced programs cost a couple of thousand dollars.
Here we find hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs along boardwalks that wind through natural areas shaded by centuries-old oak trees.
Owned by a Swedish family, who has a similar park in Texas, Dinosaur World in Plant City is supposed to be worlds largest dinosaur theme park.
There are interactive exhibits and dino-themed playgrounds with slides and swings.
Orlando Watersports Complex
Recently opened aqua park near Orlando International Airport is central Floridas first inflatable water park.
Orlando Watersports Complex is inspired by Lego blocks, you can jump, leap or glide soar over interlocking climbing obstacles, pathways and slides.
Among the challenges: XXL climbing tower, balance beam, monkey bars, rodeo slide.
From 50 minute sessions to a full day adventure for the whole family. Kids must be six years old and be able to swim.
Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales
The founder of Bok Tower Gardens, Edward W Bok (a Dutch immigrant), came to the United States as a six year old) became a major and award-winning publicist as well as a famous peace activist and environmentalist.
In his spare time Edward W Book spent much in Lake Wales and he fell in love with nature, especially Iron Mountain, which is actually one of the highest points of the Florida Peninsula (almost 300 meters above sea level.
The city north of Orlando represents “Old Orlando” since this is where tourism started in the area.
Businessmen from up north made Winter Park a resort already during 19th century, at the same time as the little town started to grow thanks to the railway. Nowadays visitor should focus on the oldest area with its winding brick streets. The city has annual music and art festivals.
Showcase of Citrus
We are in the middle of North Americas orange center, although we see fewer of these fruits nowadays. Of a variety of orange activities, we choose Showcase of Citrus, which is south of the famous Citrus Tower in Clermont. Earlier with a view of endless expanses of orange trees, now more houses than trees. Vintage feeling, very much old Florida.
Showcase of Citrus is far more than just “U-Pick”, take the chance of visiting the groves where you will see more than 50 varieties of citrus. The place has activities for kids and offer wine testing
Bok Tower Gardens is his thanks to the United States for the opportunities the country gave him.
He wanted the park to “touch the soul with its beauty and peace”. The vision was primarily a bird park, but also music in the form of an enormous carillon in “The Singing Tower” at the top of the hill.
Some say the surrounding garden is the most beautiful park in Florida.
A new and really odd feature in the circle of new activities at the Orlando Eye. The Skeletons Museum of Esteology is the full name of this family-owned attraction (a similar one is found in Oklahoma). The visitor is invited to over 40 exhibitions with hundreds of animal skeletons.
An activity built around The Kissimmee Air Museum, which is dedicated to classic aircrafts from World War II.
At Warbird Adventures you can also experience a real flight with an old fighter plane. Activities are tailor-made, from an acrobatic adventure to a smooth ride when you get the chance to sit in the front seat and handle the controls. Plus a lot of other specials offered.
Walt Disney’s idea of the perfect urban environment was supposed to be transformed into the Epcot theme park.
But instead his project resulted in the suburb Celebration, founded in the mid 90’s. So well maintained. and surrounded by rules, it feels excessively pedantic. (On the other hand, not uncommon in, for example, many gated communities in Florida.)
Despite quite a few residents in the community, a relatively wide range of business and activities.
Located southwest of Kissimmee, near the southern entrance to Disney World. Worth a detour on the way home.
Revolution Off Road
Wether dusty or wet conditions – prepare or to get dirty on an all-terrain four-wheeler made for off road driving. Different programs and tracks at the Revolution Off Road location in Clermont (50 kilometers west of I-Drive). You must be 16 years for the basic ATV experience, and 18 years old (and having a drivers license) to drive an eight wheeled amphibious vehicle. Passengers can be younger and The Myakka experience is a family adventure.
Rodeo in Kissimmee
Cowboys in Florida are called crackers. According to experts, they were (and still are) more real cowboys than their counterparts in the Wild West. Florida has always been (and still is) a huge cattle state. It is possible to find a rodeos all over the state throughout the year.
Westgate River Ranch Resort & Rodeo söder om Kissimme has rodeo each Saturday, plus many more activities seven days a week. Here you can stay and live like a cowboy!
The big annual event is Silver Spurs Rodeo in Kissimmee in June.
Dr Phillips Center
for Performing Arts is found in Downtown Orlando. Together with neighboring Bob Carr Theater the Dr Phillips Center has four theatres- A lot of music – everything from opera and musical to pop and rock, and something every day of the week.
We remember when the Orlando version of this well-known museum started. The Madame Tussaud Facebook page reported about every single new guests, often meaning the real celebrity came to visit to see how the artists had created the look-alike wax doll. Mixed reviews, although the museum gets praise for the visitor coming close to the celebrities, a chance for many selfies.
An interactive tour that explains the process from a bean to a chocolate bar. During a 45 minute visit you will experience the Cacao Tree Greenhouse, a chocolate museum, a river of chocolate, see how old machinery was used and design your own chocolate bar.
Chocolate Kingdom is a unique experience at two Orlando locations: International Drive and Old Town, Kissimmee.
Try to escape a locked room by using your brain. You get one hour to find the clues and solve the puzzle. Different scenarios offered, some from real historic events (example: The Cuban Crisis, helping president John F Kennedy by infiltrating Fidel Castro’s palace). Escapology is located on the southern part of International Drive and you find the same attraction in several other Florida cities.
Indoor skydiving on International Drive (at Pointe Orlando) is an amazing experience. It is not with a parachute and includes no jumping – just floating weightless in the air. For iFly reservation is recommended.
All content on this page and other parts of FloridaUSAguide is based on information from the Scandinavian online publication Florida.nu, established in Clearwater Beach, Florida, 2006.