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Air Force Space & Missile Museum - Cape Canaveral - (321)853-3245 - This U.S. Air Force museum at Cape Canaveral (not to be confused with the main Visitor's Center at Kennedy Space Center) has an outdoor rocket garden with more than 55 missiles. There is an exhibit hall and next to it is a real launch control block house with giant blast doors. Call them before you go to see if they are open (they are closed during rocket launches.) If you are going to Kennedy Space Center or Cocoa Beach, the museum is nearby.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Garden - Winter Park - (407)647-6294 or for special events call 647-0283 - Works by the artist including his sculptures and art collected by him. There is also a 3 acre sculpture garden.
Amway Arena - See NBA basketball games featuring the Orlando Magic, hockey games, arena football and numerous other events at this world-class arena located in downtown Orlando.
Balloon Flights - Hot air balloon flights. Typically they offer: sunrise flights, champagne breakfasts, hotel pickups, first flight certificates, FAA certified pilots, insurance, and photo opportunities. Their take-off sites vary with wind direction.
Bird of Paradise Open Cockpit Biplane Rides - Bar and Dannie Eisenhauer announce their attraction is located at Winter Haven Airport (863)294-2695 or Toll Free 1(866)MUST FLY or e-mail email@example.com
Blue Spring State Park (Florida State Parks Website) - Orange City - (904)775-3663 - See endangered manatees (November to March, when it's cold outside [call them to see if the manatees are there]) which can be literally at arms length from you near some beautiful springs (the water remains 72 degrees year-round). The manatees come to the warm spring water from the colder St. Johns river. We enjoyed the natural beauty of so much crystal clear water welling up out of the earth. We also saw SCUBA divers going down through the opening in the earth. There is also an elevated wooden walkway through old palm/oak forest if you would like to see a part of natural Florida. 2100 West French Avenue, Orange City, Florida.
Boggy Creek Airboat Rides™ - Kissimmee (two locations) - (407)933-4337 is for SouthPort Park and (407)344-9550 is for the Boggy Creek Rd. location - Travel at speeds up to 45 mph after idling down a natural canal in search of birds, turtles and alligators. Night tours also available by reservation. Open 7 days a week 9:00 to 5:30. Call them for directions for the one closest to your hotel.
Bok Tower Gardens - Lake Wales - (863)676-1408 - A 157 acre garden/park on the highest point found on the Florida peninsula, which includes a 57 bell carillon. Live performances on the carillon are performed occassionally (check their schedule). 11 51 Tower Blvd. Lake Wales FL, 33853-3412.
Brevard Zoo - Melbourne (>hour from Orlando)- (321)254-WILD or (321)254-9453 - You have to see their train! 8825 N. Wickham Rd.
Captain Memo's Pirate Cruise - Clearwater
Central Florida Zoological Park - Sanford (30 min. north of Orlando) - (407)323-4450 - This 100 acre zoo features hundreds of animals, both native and from around the world. This zoo is not a super-zoo like the San Diego or Bronx Zoos, but as zoos go, it holds its own. We took notice of how close the primate cages were to the public. While we were there the zoo employees entertained us with a falconry show, permitted us to touch an alligator, and there was a walking/speaking tour describing the various types of cats being fed. The employees gladly entertained questions from the public. It's about an hours drive north of the main attractions area. Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day except Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday in November and Christmas (Dec. 25th). From the Orlando/Kissimmee attractions area take I-4 East to Exit 52, then follow the signs to the zoo.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art - Winter Park, near downtown Orlando- (407)645-5311- The museum has recently completed (after 2 years) re-assembling an original exhibit from the Chicago Exhibition of 1893 which is a neo-byzantine style Tiffany art glass chapel. Other Tiffany art and art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries can also be found. From the Orlando/Kissimmee attractions area take I-4 to Exit 45 and turn right on Fairbanks Ave. East 2 miles to Park Ave. and make a left and stay on Park Ave. until you get to 445 Park Ave. N..
Citrus Bowl - (407)849-2020 - Site of the famed Citrus Bowl football game, it also hosts concerts and UCF's Golden Knights football team.
Daytona Beach Area - there are some other notable attractions of the Daytona area and it has many places to stay (for any budget) with greater than 300 establishments such as hotels, motels, RV parks and camping areas. See Daytona International Speedway where the famous Daytona 500 and the Pepsi 400 stock car races are held annually and the Daytona 500 Experience ® motorsports attraction. There is the Daytona Opry country music show with Nashville recording artist Charlie Floyd. They also have The Museum of Arts and Sciences which includes a planetarium. There are other features of the Daytona Beach area which you can learn about by calling the Daytona Beach Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for more info at 1(800)854-1234 or visiting the Daytona Beach Area Convention & Visitor's Bureau's internet site at http://www.daytonabeach.com
Derby Lane - St. Petersburg - Greyhound Dog Racing
Dinosaur World™ - Plant City (one hour from Orlando) - (813) 717-9865 - Over 100 life-size dinosaurs in a sub-tropical forest setting. Exit 10 of I-4, 5145 Harvey Tew Road, Plant City, FL 33565
Disney Quest® - Disney's indoor interactive theme park at Downtown Disney®.
Eaglerider Motorcycle Rental ® - Orlando - 1(888)500-0055 or (407)316-8687. Renting exclusively Harley Davidsons, with nine models to choose from including: Bad Boy, Dyna Low Rider, Electra Glide, Fat Boy, Heritage Softail Classic, Road King, Softail Custom, Sportster and Heritage Springer. 527 W. Miller Street, Orlando, FL 32805
Enzian Theater - (407)629-1088 - A cabaret style movie theatre with wine, beer, soda, tea, dining optional. Home of the Florida Film Festival.
Florida Aquarium, The - Tampa (90 minutes from Orlando) - (813)273-4000 - A world-class aquarium with excellent exhibits. 701 Channelside Dr., Tampa FL.
Florida State Parks - Aside from some of the parks highlighted elswhere on this page, also consider checking out Homosassa Springs, Caladesi Island State Park, Honeymoon Island State Park, Florida Caverns State Park and Rainbow Springs State Park (there are over a hundred thirty more, but these appealed to us because of their unique geological features).
Forever Florida Eco-Safaris - St. Cloud -1(888)957-9794 or (407)957-9794 - 4700 acre nature preserve with a cool looking "Cracker Coach" which is an elevated vehicle which you ride 10 ft. off of the ground. They have a petting zoo, pony rides and horseback tours too.
Fun Spot Action Park ™ - Orlando - (407)363-3867 - 4 go cart tracks (multi-level), bumper cars, bumper boats, ferris wheel, "Paratrooper". Also kiddie rides: Cadet Track, Swings, Panda Ride, Tea Cups and the Kiddie Train. There is an arcade with video games, air hockey, skee ball, and more. There is a snack bar. Master Card, Visa and American Express cards accepted. There are group rates and they host birthday parties. Admission is free to the grounds (pay for the rides) and there is free parking. They are open daily, but hours vary according to season. 5551 Del Verde Way, Orlando, FL 32819.
Harry P. Leu Botanical Gardens - Orlando - (407)246-2620 - Paved scenic walkways through garden settings. They claim to have the largest camelia collection and formal rose garden in the south. There is also a house museum dating from the 1880's. Plant related classes, workshops and special events are also available. Group tours, weddings and facility rentals are also available.
Henry B. Plant Museum - Tampa - (813)254-1891 - 401 West JFK Blvd. - this museum is housed in an interesting building with silver colored roofs reminiscent of russian style or Hershey's® Kisses.
The Holy Land Experience - Re-enactments of historical Christian events within a recreation of Bethlehem. Just off of I-4.
Hubbards Marina - John's Pass - Rent wave-runners and see the other great tourist related activities at John's Pass.
International Drive Resort Area a website covering the many attractions along Orlando's popular tourist spot known as "I-Drive".
John's Pass - A number of small stores selling tourist trinkets and several restaurants are near this outlet to The Gulf of Mexico. John's Pass has recently undergone a major multi-million dollar face lift, and it looks pretty nice.
KARTWORLD™ - Orlando (on International Drive) and Kissimmee (on 192) - (407)396-4800 - They claim to have one of the longest go-cart tracks in America "almost 1 mile long". We were able to ride for free by getting a coupon (luckily from a tourist info store only 2 doors away from them) from the commonly available tourist coupon books in many of the hotel lobbies, tourist info stores and restaurants in the area. It was fun. Group rates and birthday parties. 4708 Irlo Bronson Hwy (U.S. 192) approx. 4 miles east of I-4.
Lowry Park Zoo - Tampa (90 minutes from Orlando) - A world-class zoo. 7530 North Blvd. Tampa, FL 33604-4700
Magical Midway - International Drive Midway style games, an elevated go-cart track, bumper cars, giant slides, arcade games and the "Space Shot" which drops you, and a couple more traditional-style carnival rides. 7001 International Dr., (407) 370-5353
Maitland Art and History Museums - Several museums on this site include: Maitland Art Center, Maitland Historical Museum, Telephone Museum, Carpentry Shop Museum, and Waterhouse Residence Museum.
Menello Museum of American Folk Art™
Mixon Fruit Farms (Bradenton) - Tour citrus groves.
Mote Aquarium - Sarasota - (941) 388-2451 - At Mote Marine Laboratory, this aquarium houses local marine life and is geared for tourists, even though it is the site of a world famous marine biology research lab. 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy. Sarasota, 24236
MurderWatch® Mystery Dinner Theatre (407)-850-9555 - Escape the ordinary! Prepare yourself for an evening of mystery and intrigue. This award winning show sells out quickly because it involves YOU in an evening of hilarious, mysterious events offering you the opportunity to conduct your own personal investigation. For reservations, call 407-827-6534.
Museum of African American Art - Tampa - (813)272-2466 - 1308 N. Marion St.
Museum of Arts and Sciences, The - Daytona Beach - (386) USA-ARTS - Featuring the Rood Family Collection of Americana, see classic railroad cars, Coca-Cola® memorabilia, race cars, antique quilts, hundreds of teddy bears and more.
Museum of Science & Industry (MOSI) - Tampa (90 minutes east of Orlando) - 1(800)995-MOSI (6674) or (813)987-6000 - A world-class science museum. 4801 E. Fowler Ave. Tampa FL, 33617-2017
Old Town® - Kissimmee - (407)396-1964 - A park with shops, restaurants, Haunted Grimm House and rides like: The Giant Ferris Wheel, rotating swings, Wind-Storm Roller Coaster, tea-cups, merry-go-round, go carts and more. They state that you should "Hang out & enjoy the famous Saturday Night Cruise..." with "...up to 800 classic cars as they cruise the street of Old Town". We've been by there a few times and if you are a car buff, you'll see some excellent vehicles. We've also seen live oldies singing entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings. If you get there early enough, they have 25 cent Pepsi-Cola®'s in bottles at the General Store which sells "souvenirs from the 50's, 60's and 70's" which for the most part are reproductions. We saw a store specializing in British goods, a store that specialized in Irish goods, a salt-water taffy (no, there's no ocean water in it) store making the confection in front of many gazing eyes (with free samples) amongst many other shops. Open 365 days a year, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Exit 25A, 1 mile East of I-4 on Highway 192, Kissimmee FL, look for the ferris wheel.
Orlando Convention Center/Visitor's Bureau - (407)363-5800
Orlando Museum of Art - (407)896-4231 - They have a broad spectrum of art genres on display. There is also a museum shop. 2416 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, from the attractions area take I-4 to Exit 43 (Princeton Ave.) right on Princeton and bear right until you get to N. Mills Ave., then follow the signs.
Orlando Speed World & New Smyrna Raceway - up close racing, exciting and loud! (bring your ear-plugs, although you'll be the only one wearing them, but who cares, at least your ears won't be ringing, and if it's good enough for pros it's good enough for you).
Pier, The - St. Petersburg
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse - Ponce Inlet, just south of Daytona Beach - (904)761-1821 - We enjoyed visiting this wonderful old lighthouse completed in 1887. It is fully functioning, and you are permitted (for an admission fee) to go up its 203 steps to the top and go outside to the walkway which encircles a the top for a beautiful 360 degree view of the area (if you walk around). It is said to be the second tallest lighthouse in North America. The admission fee also covers the lighthouse museum, a micro-theater historical film, historical grounds, nature-walk and the gift shop. This is a definite must-do if you are in the Daytona area. 4931 South Peninsula Drive, Ponce Inlet, Florida 32127. From Daytona Beach, take A1A south (which becomes Atlantic Ave and then S. Atlantic Ave. and then Robert A. Merrill Parkway) to the Lighthouse.
Reptile World Serpentarium® - St. Cloud - (407)892-6905 - The names says it all; they feature snakes and reptiles including venomous snakes from around the world, gila monsters, alligators and more. Take I-4 to East Hwy 192, 20 miles, when the road narrows to two lanes start looking because they will be 1/2 mile from there on the left.
Ringling Museum of Art, The John & Mable - Sarasota - (941)359-5700 or (941) 351-1660 - This museum has a collection spanning 500 years of European art initiated and donated by the famous circus owner/partner of Ringling Bros., Barnum & Bailey Circus. There is also a collection called "The Museum of the Circus" with rare circus artifacts including carved wagons, costumes posters and more. 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, FL 34243
Rivership Romance™ - Sanford - (800)423-7401 or (407)321-5091 - Lunch & dinner cruises on the beautiful St. Johns River, air-conditioned. At the Sanford Marina.
Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater) - This performance hall pulls in the biggest names in entertainment.
Sarasota Florida's Cultural Coast - a website covering the many fun things to do in Sarasota.
Showcase of Citrus, The - 15 minutes from Disney (in Clermont) is where they have the Wildcat Super Truck (it's VERY BIG) where you get a tour of an active citrus grove and ranch with which includes dry land, wooded areas and marshes with a chance to see alligators and other wildlife. You can also buy (and pick within season) citrus and buy many various Florida gifts. 5010 Hwy 27 Clermont, FL, 34711(800) 224-8787
St. Petersburg - just 90 minutes to two hours drive from Orlando, consider visiting Salvador Dali Museum™ with many famous works by the artist. Near the museum is The Pier™, a five story building, which looks like an inverted partial pyramid, with shops inside it at the end of a well constructed pier. Downtown St. Petersburg also offers other museums, which are: The Museum of Fine Arts, The St. Petersburg Museum of History, Great Expectations (a hands-on interactive museum), Holocaust Memorial Museum & Educational Center, and the Florida International Museum (which is affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution). Don't miss driving over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge (there is a small toll of $1 southbound), and get a breath-taking view from this stunningly picturesque cable stayed bridge (opened in 1991) to the south of downtown, on I-275. Also, the beaches in this area are some of the best in the U.S.A. You also won't want to miss The Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, where they take in injured birds from the area and nurse them back to health. Their aviary is neat; it's on Redington Shores Beach, and it's free, but donations are accepted. John's Pass Village is over at Madeira beach (and described on our beaches page). You can get more info on the area by visiting St. Petersburg/Clearwater Area Convention & Visitors Bureau's site. Take I-4 to I-275 south to St. Petersburg.
Salvador Dali Museum ™ - St. Petersburg, FL - (813)823-3767 - Approximately a 2 hour drive from Orlando, you can see works from the world-famous artist on display, which include: Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory, The Hallucenogenic Toreador, Girl's Back, Nature Morte Vivante and more. They are open Mon. through Sat. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Sunday, 12:00 noon to 5:30 p.m. and closed Thanksgiving (the 4th Thursday in November and Christmas (Dec. 25th.) There is a gift shop with reproduction prints, shirts, coffee mugs and books about the artists work on sale. From the Orlando/Kissimmee area take I-4 west toward Tampa, continue on to I-275 to exit 9 and follow I-175 signs east to 4th St. South. Make a right on 4th St. S. to 11th Ave. S. and then make a left to 3rd St. S. to the Museum. Parking is free.
Sarasota Jungle Gardens - (941)355-5305 - with gardens and variety of creatures. They also have bird and reptile shows, and a shell museum. A gift shop and cafe are on the premises. 3701 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota Florida, 34234
Scenic Boat Tour - Winter Park - (407)644-4056 - A one hour boat tour through Winter Park lakes which are interconnected by canals. From the main attractions area take I-4 to Exit 45, right on Fairbanks Ave. to 3rd light, left onto Orlando Ave. to 1st light, Morse Blvd. East to the end. Go right to the waterfront.
Sea Screamer - Clearwater - Claims to be the "world's largest speed boat" and it looks pretty cool too!
Selby Botanical Gardens, Marie - Sarasota - (941)366-5731 - 811 S. Palm Ave.
Skycoaster™ - Kissimmee - (407)397-2509 - Soar through the sky at up to 70 m.p.h.. A giant swing-like device pulls you (and up to 2 friends) up to dizzying heights on what they claim is "Florida's tallest thrill ride!" (someone who works for them stated that it's 300 ft. tall), then you are released. We've seen this ride in person and it is incredibly high; don't confuse this one with smaller versions in the area. The minimum height requirement to ride is 42 inches. Next to Old Town on Highway 192, east of I-4 (1-1/4 miles) at Million Dollar Mulligan. 2850 Florida Plaza Blvd. Kissimmee FL.
Skydive Space Center™ - Titusville (near Kennedy Space Center) - (800)267-0016 or 312-267-0016 - Tandem skydiving with certified instructors from 13,500 ft. Free fall for 50 seconds at 120 m.p.h.. Videos and still photos available. See Kennedy Space Center from above! Take 408 to I-95 North to Exit 80, then go East for 1.3 miles, then left on N. Williams Ave. to Arthur Dunn Air Park, 476 N. Williams Ave. Titusville.
Starlite Cruises (Gulf)
Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary - Reddington Shores Beach (Gulf) - If you want to get right next to native Florida seabirds, this is the place to go. It's small but good.
Tampa Bay Downs - thouroughbred horse racing.
Tropicana Field - St. Petersburg - Home of the Major League Baseball team the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
UCF Theater - University of Central Florida's theater complex featuring popular stage plays, and watch for big name shows at UCF's stadium complex.
Waldo Wright's Flying Service - Sandy writes, "Good Morning, Wanted to send you our link for Waldo Wright's Flying Service operating out of Fantasy of Flight in Polk City. We offer 20 minute flights @$55.00 each seat in a 1929 open cockpit biplane. We are told that "we are the best kept secret in Florida"...
Warbird Adventures ™- Kissimmee - (407)870-7366 - Fly in real vintage aircraft. 233 N. Hoagland Blvd. Kissimmee FL.
Wekiva (a.k.a. Wekiwa) Springs State Park - Orange & Seminole Counties - (407) 884-2008 - A 7000 acre park with natural springs pumping out 42 million gallons of 72 degree water per day. Believe it or not, this is one of Floridas top attractions. You can camp, hike, bike and swim. Many local people swim here. The water in the lake surrounding the springs seemed a little too inhabited by organisms for my taste (and the "no-see-ums", a spring/summer, biting, flying nuisance insect, weren't so nice either) so we went for a walk nearby into a surprisingly wonderful primeval forest on an elevated wooden walkway. I've been to other Florida parks, but I've never seen such an ancient looking spot. Maybe the micro-climate of the nearby springs has helped preserve an island of foliage from an ancient period. The parks flora changes considerably as you go from one part to another, so you can get a sense of the diversity of plants in central Florida. You will find in this park a time-machine to a pre-historic Florida, amongst many other things. There is a small admission fee to the park. From Orlando, take I-4 east to the Longwood exit (in good moving traffic the exit is about 15-20 minutes from downtown Orlando.) Turn left at the bottom of the ramp onto SR 434, follow the signs to Wekiva Springs Road and make a right, then go approx. 4 miles to the park which will be on the right hand side.
Ybor City (in the heart of Tampa) - this former cigar-making center is now the popular epicenter of the Tampa region's nightlife. Very many locals jam the roads on their way to this place from Wednesday to Saturday for its clubs and restaurants.
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