Say Central Florida and you immediately think of theme parks. A family vacation there can last as long as you wish and you will still not do everything you want to do. Where do you start? Oh, no, don’t yell “Disney World”. That destination is a vacation in itself. Better get your calendar out and see exactly how much time you can spare before you make your plans (and you will definitely WANT to make plans before going). But there are even more places to visit in the Central Florida area that you might not know about:
• LEGOLAND: Opened in the Winter Haven area where Cypress Gardens used to be, LEGOLAND is an amazing place for kids of all ages to visit. A new waterpark adventure is opening on the huge theme park property this July. Already open is the main park where you can ride in Lego trains and cars, go into Lego buildings and talk to Lego animals and people. There is an area where your architect or engineer can build with Legos, too. Every type of Lego block is represented in its own village or area for your kids to enjoy. There are restaurants on the property as well as rides for big and small. The Island in the Sky is a 150 foot tall platform that lets you view the area in a 360 degree view. The Land of Adventure features a roller coaster and dinosaurs; what a combination. The World of Chima is going to open this summer and will feature the Quest for Chi. This area is sponsored by the Cartoon Network and will take the whole family on a water adventure. Lego Technic is the extreme zone with a Lego themed ride called the Test Track. Don’t miss this park while you are in Central Florida. It is a short drive from the Orlando-Kissimmee area. Just follow the signs and the maps in the pamphlets. The beautiful gardens that were called Cypress Gardens are still as amazing as they always were because the builders of LEGOLAND were diligent in preserving them.
• Interesting attractions such as Florida EcoSafari will let you experience firsthand some of the interesting and tempting adventures that explorers in the rain forest of South America talk about. Florida Forever offers a canopy cycle where you pedal yourself through the tops of the canopy of trees in a specially constructed cycle. If you have older children or are an adventurer yourself, this is one place you should not miss. Florida Forever in Kissimmee, Florida.
• Air boat rides: you haven’t lived until you have ridden on an ear drum splitting air boat through the swamps of Florida. You can see alligators in their natural habitat, snakes, lizards and the beautiful flowers that grow wild on the banks of the rivers and creeks that you are flying through (inches off the ground). The airboat is propelled by a giant propeller that looks like a huge fan. Take earplugs and a hat and don’t be afraid to holler and scream; it’s the most fun you will ever have.
• Want a great day trip that you will never forget? Take a trip to the coast to a small town called Titusville and visit The Kennedy Space Center. The Space Center was once the center of American space exploration and you can visit it and see just how things operated back in the 60’s. There is a children’s exploration center for the little tykes and the older kids and adults will be mesmerized by the museums and monuments as well as the interactive adventures. Check out their calendar to see if there will be a space launch while you are in Florida. It is an amazing sight that you will never, ever, forget.
• Discovery Cove is a must if you have always wanted to swim with dolphins. You will have to make reservations because they only take a few people each day. There will be requirements that each person must meet. Safety precautions will include wearing life vests even if you can swim well. With dolphin interaction, the package includes admission to SEA WORLD and Acquatica. These adventures will take up at least one entire day, so make a plan for it.
• Wet N Wild is an adventure park with water. Plan to arrive early in the morning so that you can grab a lounge chair and spend the entire day in the water and sun riding amazing water park type rides like the Brain Wash and the Black Hole. They have a new area open now called Blast Away Beach for the smaller and younger members of the family to enjoy with or without parents and older siblings. Work on your tan and have a great time all at once.
See, not once have Disney World or Universal Studios been mentioned and we have already taken up nearly an entire week in Central Florida. Now you understand why central Floridians are so happy. They have so much to do every day of the week (and Florida residents get a discount).
It would be remiss not to mention that Universal Studios is a great place to spend your time while you are in Central Florida. Their Theme Park attractions will take up several days of your visit. Your older kids will, no doubt, want to go to Harry Potter’s school and learn his wizardry. They also have different areas for adults, older kids and younger kids. See their website to start to plan your visit. You will find accommodations near Universal if that will be your destination.
Walt Disney World is more than just one theme park and each one will take you at least a day to complete. The best thing to do is stay near the Magic Kingdom because when you get tired you are bound to crash until the next day. Disney offers The Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Animal Kingdom, Disney Studios, two water parks, a sports complex with live games from all niches on their schedule.
Whatever you decide, you will find a great vacation just waiting for you.