Mickey Mouse may rule many things in Orlando, including Disney World. Yet, Orlando appeals to tons of tourists not looking to visit his magic kingdom.
The sunny city gets about 72 million tourists a year, surpassing Las Vegas by over 20 million visitors. Yet, they don’t all come for the theme parks. Orlando is home to other attractions and activities, from high-speed thrills to animal adventures.
Here are 8 fun things to do in Orlando when you want to skip the theme parks.
1. Go Hunting for Gators
Florida is home to millions of alligators, some weighing over 800 pounds.
At Gatorland, you’ll find alligators, Florida panthers, and a large selection of birds. You can watch staff wrestle gators or even hold a small baby alligator yourself. The attraction also offers zip lining and nighttime tours of the breeding marshes.
Many visitors also enjoy Orlando’s airboat rides. You can ride through the swamps in search of gators. It’s almost always guaranteed you’ll get in a good gator sighting while in the Everglades.
2. Live like an Astronaut for a Day
Take a trip to Kennedy Space Center where you can experience close encounters with the team at NASA. Meet an astronaut, tour the facilities, and learn all about rocket science.
You can even catch a real rocket launch. Before you go, check out their website for the countdown to their next rocket launch. Or you can explore Mars through virtual reality technology.
You’ll also get to experience flight stimulations, IMAX entertainment, and a Hall of Fame. It’s one of those amazing Orlando tourist attractions that even has a space camp day program. Kids get to train like real astronauts and learn space safety techniques.
3. Get Entertained with Dinner and a Show
Looking for a unique experience that includes a good meal? Orlando is full of show-stopping performances that also serve dinner.
Cirque Magique brings a circus full of acrobats, magicians, clowns, and dancing poodles. Their magical performances get geared towards families and can seat over 250 guests. Indulge in cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and funnel cake sundaes.
Or step back in time with a visit to Medieval Times. You’ll experience jousting, royal falcons, and equestrian performances. You can also book VIP packages to get priority castle access and front row seating.
Guests dine on roasted chicken, tomato bisque soup, and herbed potatoes. They also have vegan options available.
The House of Blues is the place to go for good bands and great burgers. Watch live entertainment from well-known bands and local musicians. They also have a gospel brunch every Sunday.
4. Explore Floridian Flaura and Fauna
Looking for other things to do in Orlando that involve fun for the whole family? Spend the afternoon walking among tropical plants, flowers, and wildlife.
A trip to Orlando isn’t complete without a stop at the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. Its 23 acres include native foliage, wild animals, reptiles, and insects.
Or head to Bok Tower Gardens which sits on a historical landmark. It has over 700 acres of nature walks, picturesque gardens, and citrus tree groves. You’ll also see endangered plant species and wildlife bogs.
Visit Green Meadows Petting Farm to get up close to all your favorite farm animals. Or take a ride on their train or miniature ponies.
5. Score High-Speed Thrills
Go-kart racing is the perfect activity for families or solo riders. Orlando is home to tons of indoor and outdoor tracks geared towards kids and adults.
I-Drive Nascar features a modern indoor venue where you can race electric go-karts. Their fast karts reach speeds of up to 45 mph. They’ve also got bowling, arcade games, and a restaurant.
6. Expand Your Imagination
For those looking to learn something new, you’ll want to check out Wonderworks. It gets known for its unique upside-down building exterior.
Here you can partake in interactive science experiments, learn about natural disasters, and play on ropes courses. They also have 4D motion rides and laser tag.
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not is a museum filled with rare finds and eye-popping artwork. Guests get to see shrunken heads, clothing made of candy, and the tallest man alive.
Or take a group of friends to The Escape Game to work through timed puzzles. You can choose from different adventures, like missions on Mars, or a prison break.
7. Get a Hole in One
From mini to master level, Orlando is all about golf courses. Golfing is one of the best things to do in Orlando when looking for a little sun and relaxation.
Here are a few of the best golf clubs in Orlando:
- Hawk’s Landing
- Tranquilo at Four Seasons
- Eagle Creek
- Waldorf Astoria
- Crooked Cat at Orange County National
- Southern Dunes
Most golf courses offer day passes. But be sure to check if you’ll need a membership before getting out on the green. Or check out these tips on how to score access to a private golf course.
Orlando is also home to tons of mini golf courses. Get in a game of put-put at Pirates Adventure Golf. Or visit Congo River Adventure Golf for gem mining activities, hidden caves, and gator feedings.
Work up an appetite then head right over to the world’s largest Mcdonald’s. Their menu has custom-made pasta, pizza, and Belgian waffles.
8. Visit the Eye of Orlando
New to ICON Orlando, this giant Ferris wheel provides impressive views from 400 feet high. The spot is also full of shops, rides, restaurants, and other fun things to do in Orlando besides theme parks.
Enjoy a smooth 20-minute ride in an air-conditioned capsule. This Ferris wheel is the 5th tallest in the world and shows off Orlando’s city skyline and Cape Canaveral.
ICON Orlando also offers other attractions like a wax museum, arcades, and an aquarium. They also have a StarFlyer ride which is a 450-foot tall swing set.
A Neverending List of Exciting and Unique Things to Do in Orlando
Orlando knows how to entertain and excite their guests, appealing to people of all ages and activity levels. From thrill seekers to nature enthusiasts, it has something for everyone.
With all these amazing things to do in Orlando, you’ll end up wanting to add more time to your vacation. Check out these 10 ways to get a few extra vacation days, without losing your job.