First, let me be clear. Disney World, Epcot, SeaWorld, Universal Studios, Animal Kingdom and all the rest do a phenomenal job in the arena of family entertainment. They have guest experiences down to a very fine science. You will see topnotch shows, world class exhibits and breathtaking landscaping. You’ll eat great food while being served by a friendly, attractive waitstaff, and the shopping possibilities for spending your money have no bounds. While Steve and I could never conceive of spending what we’d have to spend to take 14 grandchildren to Disney World, we certainly understand and support those of you who CAN provide such a vacation. And we love looking at your photos on Facebook. 🙂
But, for the purposes of today’s blog post, let’s assume that you’re heading to the Central Florida/Kissimmee area in the coming months and want to spend at least one day away from the parks. Here are just a few OTHER activities you might enjoy:
Ride a bike through Celebration, Florida. Celebration Bike Rental is there to provide everything you might need, including a guide if you wish. The paths are smooth with very few hills, and you’ll pedal past close-up encounters of nature as well as stunning homes. And, if you should happen to take a small spill (not that I have firsthand knowledge or anything 🙂 ), they are eager to take great care of you. I highly recommend them.
Enjoy the shops and eateries in Celebration, Florida. It’s such a pretty little planned community with tree-lined streets and a beautiful lake. You’ll enjoy the laidback atmosphere so much after the hustle and bustle of crowds at the theme parks. An idea to consider is signing up for a cooking class at U Can Cook Culinary School. That will be on my list during a future visit.
Take a walking tour of historic downtown Kissimmee, Florida. Begin at the Kissimmee Welcome Center (look for the large horseshoe sculpture). You might be surprised to find all of the cowboy references scattered throughout. Your guide can explain why they are there. Enjoy the public art on display and notice all of the ethnicities represented in the 26 restaurants downtown. Browse the specialty shops. Be sure you include a stop at the Osceola County Courthouse, which is the oldest courthouse in Florida still being used as a courthouse. Stroll along the Lakefront Park and consider signing up for a 1/2 day of bass fishing at Big Toho Marina.
Drive out to Boggy Creek Airboat Rides to observe alligators, hear a presentation about Native American life and take an exhilarating ride through the waters that form the mouth of the Everglades. You might catch a glimpse of some creatures who don’t swim or fly.
Pretend you are Tarzan or Jane at the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park. Full disclosure: I put on the harness fully intending to at least try the zipline. But, then I considered the distance between the line and the ground, coupled with my less-than-limber body, and chose to keep my feet planted on terra firma. The young millenials I was with had a great time, and I’m sure some of my grands would have been eager to try the whole course. Safety is a HUGE deal with the people at Tree Trek Adventure Park. They give very explicit explanations and stay close by to assure that you follow the directions carefully.
I was really looking forward to my very first hot air balloon ride, but the winds didn’t cooperate. If that is on your Bucket List, then make a reservation with Orlando Balloon Rides and be sure to send me some photos.
Enjoy your time in Central Florida.