Orlando is rightfully famed for its fantastic theme parks. But there's even more in and around the city.
Check out these Orlando adventures. It’s by no means a complete list, but it will keep you occupied -- for at least the first week!
- Delight to dolphins. Discovery Cove is an animal lover’s dream-come-true. You can snorkel Coral Reef, home to thousands of tropical fish; hand-feed birds in the free-flight aviary; and interact with dolphins. You can even enjoy the ride of a lifetime when you grab a dorsal fin for trip through the lagoon.
- Experience Cirque du Soleil’s spellbinding creation, La Nouba. This theatrical delight features opulent sets, brilliant choreography, theatrical lighting and provocative music. I have a hard time sitting still for more than an hour, yet I was mesmerized by the high wire acts, the flying trapezes and the gymnastic performances.
- Float over the swamps and orange groves in a balloon ride. Gently ride the wind, pluck a pine cone from the top of a tree, and celebrate afterward with a champagne toast. (http://thompsonaire.com/ ; www.bobsballoons.com; www.orlandoballoonrides.com/ )
- Slip, slide and get soaked at Wet ‘n Wild. My favorite slide at the water park is “The Storm,” which we call the “getting-flushed-down-the-toilet-ride.” This is an amazingly fun place to go and crazier than you’d think; Paul and I bought season passes.
- Skydive in a vertical wind tunnel at iFly Orlando. You don’t have to leap out of an airplane, but the experience is so realistic that professional skydivers use it to practice. It’s safe, and people of all ages without any experience can join in the fun.
- Whiz around, wobble or wipeout on a wakeboard at Orlando Watersports Complex. This is another of my personal favorite places. You can wakeboard, wakeskate, ski, or kneeboard on the cable or behind the boat. They rent everything you need. It features two lakes with cable systems, plus a lake for boating. One lake is for novices like me. The second lake is called the “slider park.” It features awe-inspiring obstacles called sliders and kickers. You can watch the advanced wakeboarders perform stunts while you eat lunch. Or join them, if you’re a hotshot.
- Trot through the forest at Horse World. This family owned and oriented facility will let you snag a glimpse of how Florida used to be. Their horses are well trained and well fed; relax and enjoy.
- Sample the sky in a sailplane at Seminole Gliderport, located outside of Groveland. Don’t miss this unique and peaceful way to fly without a engine.
- Pedal the West Orange Trail for a refreshing change of pace. Bikes and Blades offers rentals. Paul and I like to ride from Clermont into Winter Garden for lunch and then ride home after our break.
- Soar on a Hang Glider. You didn’t think I’d forget my favorite hobby, did you? Take a tandem Discovery Flight at Quest Air or Wallaby Ranch to experience flying like a bird.