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Things to Do in Orlando

Home to more than a dozen theme parks — including Universal Studios, Walt Disney World, and SeaWorld — Orlando entices families, thrill seekers, and Mickey Mouse fans alike. But this central Florida city (around a 4-hour drive north of Miami) serves up more than just big attractions. For a true taste of the area, catch an airboat tour along the Everglades, off-road in an ATV, horseback ride through an eco reserve, or board a scenic cruise around the city. For a lesson on human spaceflight, head east to the famous Kennedy Space Center, and look for a gator or two if you opt to tour the area’s swampland.
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WonderWorks Orlando
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A firm departure from the everyday, WonderWorks Orlando offers what most attractions cannot – a spin on this thing we call reality. Built to resemble an upside-down laboratory, this science museum offers over 100 hands-on exhibits built to test your belief of what is real and what is illusion. Filled with “oh, wow” moments that include rope obstacle courses, zip lines and laser tag, WonderWorks Orlando is an engaging step into science and discovery – one that will leave the whole family full of wonder.

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Icon Orlando 360
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I-Drive 360 is a new entertainment complex on one of Orlando's main drags, International Drive, commonly known as I-Drive. Opened in May 2015, I-Drive 360 includes a variety of restaurants, shops, and tourist attractions – including an aquarium, a Madame Tussaud's, and the 400-foot observation wheel called the Orlando Eye. You'll find popular eateries like Shake Shack and Outback as well as hopping nightlife at Cowgirls Rockbar, with the only mechanical bull in the city.

The centerpiece is the massive observation wheel. It has 30 passenger compartments, each one air-conditioned, and each one can carry up to 15 people. Your ticket to the Orlando Eye includes a 4D movie experience and a ride around the wheel.

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SEA LIFE® Orlando
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Sea Life Orlando is a brand new attraction in the city that only opened in May 2015. Roughly 40,000 gallons of water and 45,000 pounds of sand make up the home of over 5000 sea creatures, including green sea turtles, jellyfish, seahorses, black tip reef sharks and colorful clownfish. Some of the activities that visitors to the facilities can take part in include the Interactive Rockpool, where you can touch starfish, spot hermit crabs and learn about coastal rock pools as well as the Atlantic Ocean Exhibit with its 360-degree tunnel. There, guests can admire sharks and exotic fish from all angles and watch rays float gracefully overhead. Regular talks combined with feeding times let children and adults learn more about the animals as well. It’s a good idea to schedule a visit around those feeding times, as the wildlife will be the most active during those hours.

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International Drive
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One of the most exciting and flashy strips in America, I-Drive is packed with restaurants, hotels, shopping, and dinner theaters. And if that’s not enough, six of the world’s greatest theme parks make their home on I-Drive: SeaWorld, Discovery Cove, Wet 'n' Wild, Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Aquatica.

I-Drive winds past Big Sand Lake, and part of the road is lined with palm trees and a pleasant walking district. Also here is Ripley’s Believe It or Not and Skyventure. Head to Pointe Orlando or Prime Outlets International for mega-mall shopping, or browse the quirky independent shops on Antique Row.

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Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
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Pressed in our collective memory, the Titanic means more to us than a giant ship that simply sank—its sinking was the defining moment for an era, the end to runaway idealism while signaling a return to pragmatism for the American people. With 10 full-scale room recreations, over 100 artifacts recovered from the real Titanic (including 21 that have never been seen by the public until now), character actors and tour guides, a dinner show and intense interactive exhibits, Titanic the Experience in Orlando offers what other museums cannot—a gripping, immersive and real-world connection to this defining moment in history.

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Universal's Islands of Adventure
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Take an unforgettable journey through uniquely themed islands where your favorite adventures come to life. Soar above Hogwarts™ in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Hogsmeade™, help save the city on The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man®, and escape the jaws of a T-rex on the Jurassic Park River Adventure®.

Plus, with a Park-to-Park admission ticket you can ride between both lands of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ on the HogwartsSM Express.*

HARRY POTTER, characters, names and related indicia are trademarks of and © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Harry Potter Publishing Rights © JKR. (s14)

*Additional restrictions apply. © MARVEL. Jurassic Park River Adventure ® Universal Studios/Amblin. Universal elements and all related indicia TM & © 2014 Universal Studios. All rights reserved.

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More Things to Do in Orlando

Madame Tussauds Orlando

Madame Tussauds Orlando

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Orlando has a new immersive celebrity hotspot where one can walk down the red carpet and step into the world of fame for an afternoon. At Madame Tussauds, guests are able to find out exactly how tall those sports icons really are, strike a pose with a pop princess, shake hands with a smiling Barack Obama and take a selfie with Einstein. The museum poses TV and film celebrities next to pop icons, the most well-known faces from the arts and science and throws plenty of history and pop culture personalities into the mix as well.

The details of the wax replicas are on the usual Madame Tussauds level of incredible. Creating a wax statue requires taking hundreds of body and face measurements with calipers and measuring tapes, after which artists sculpt the perfect mold for the wax out of clay. Gluing on each hair individually, painstakingly painting facial features and recreating every last wrinkle ensures that the wax figures end up achieving a astonishing realism.

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Walt Disney World®

Walt Disney World®

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Walt Disney has four main parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Animal Kingdom. In the Magic Kingdown you will find the iconic Cinderella Castle and plenty of thrilling rides to enjoy. The Animal Kingdom offers a unique blend of creatures real and fantasy, with a large dose of Disney characters, storytelling and magic. At Epcot Center, a world culture taster awaits, whilst in Disney’s Hollywood Studios you can experience movie-making at its best from flames bursting to cars splitting in half. Walt Disney World also has three water parks, a shopping district, 22 hotels, countless eateries, and transport systems.
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Orlando International Premium Outlets

Orlando International Premium Outlets

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Orlando may be known as the land of magic thanks to a mighty kingdom that offers up fun for the whole family. But just down the street there’s a massive Mecca for shoppers known as the Orlando International Premium Outlets. Home to more than 180 retail stores with designer names and high fashion items, this retail destination offers up some of the best deals in town with up to 65 percent off suggested retail prices. Travelers can comb through the stores in search of epic deals on designer duds. And more than a dozen snack shops and restaurants mean visitors can regroup and recharge between hitting the sales racks in the morning and returning to the shops in mid-afternoon.

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Florida Mall

Florida Mall

5 Tours and Activities
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Disney's Animal Kingdom®

Disney's Animal Kingdom®

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In this amazing place you're in a living storybook on a breathtaking adventure, filled with creatures real and fantastic. Animal Kingdom blends theme park and zoo, carnival and African safari, while mixing in a healthy dose of Disney characters, storytelling, and magic. Board a rickety jeep and ride through the Sahara, past zebras and lions, in Africa, or take a raging river ride in Asia, with Mt. Everest looming on the horizon. Here you can see Bengal tigers, huge fruit bats, Komodo dragons, and other exotic critters.

DinoLand U.S.A. evokes a fun-filled small-town fair, with its carnival-style rides, games and a herky-jerky thrill ride that transports you back in time. Let your heart sing along in a moving musical celebration of the circle of life at Festival of the Lion King. Here, every path and trail invites you to explore the awesome surprises of nature, with all the enchantment of Disney.

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Lake Eola Park

Lake Eola Park

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Boats glide alongside actual swans on Lake Eola, at the heart of Lake Eola Park. The site isn’t big by many standards – a mile around – but it packs a big punch as an oasis in the middle of bustling, crowded Orlando. Locals and visitors flock here – like the geese they feed out of hand – to take in a little nature. The Orlando skyline rises in the distance, a stunning contrast to the peace and quiet of the park and a beautiful reminder of the nearby city.

There are countless things to do in Lake Eola Park, including a weekly farmers’ market to visit, complete with fresh produce and live entertainment. Children run amok on the Lake Eola playground, and the iconic swan boats are a favorite for all ages. The park also has its own performance space, the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, which hosts events throughout the year. There’s even a restaurant on the premises; the Relax Grill promises to live up to its name.

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Fun Spot America Theme Parks

Fun Spot America Theme Parks

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Fun Spot America is a theme park with locations in Orlando and nearby Kissimmee. It is the only family-owned theme park in the area and admission is free to the park - you just pay to ride and play!

The parks are fully equipped with activities to keep the fun going all day. Each location boasts unique, patented multilevel go-kart tracks, an arcade where visitors can play a variety of games and collect points to redeem for prizes, and several roller coasters. The Kissimmee park is home to the tallest SkyCoaster in the world, which stands at 300 ft (91 m), while the Orlando park is home to Orlando's only wooden roller coaster, White Lightening. There are also thrill rides, bumper cars, bumper boats, and load of other rides that are appropriate for kids and fun for the whole family.

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Disney Springs™

Disney Springs™

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Located in Lake Buena Vista, about 25 minutes from Orlando, Downtown Disney is an outdoor complex featuring retail shops, restaurants and entertainment. Unlike the Disney theme parks, Downtown Disney is free to enter and explore. The attraction is separated into three distinct areas including the Downtown Disney Marketplace, Pleasure Island and Downtown Disney Westside. The Downtown Disney Marketplace is where you’ll find the main shopping hub -- including World of Disney, the planet’s largest Disney merchandise store -- as well as restaurants and attractions. Indulge in an ice cream sundae and admire antique chocolate-making equipment at the Ghiaradelli’s Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain, dine with life-sized wildlife at the Rainforest Cafe or get in touch with your inner child and ride the carousel.
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Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando

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Also known as the Orlando Odditorium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando is on normal attraction, a fact you’ll discover as soon as you walk up. Designed to look off kilter, the appearance of Ripley’s is the first of many interesting oddities you’ll find here.

This wild and wacky world is filled with wonder, and families can experience it all without leaving the city of Orlando. Filled with bizarre exhibits and mesmerizing optical illusions, Ripley’s includes life-size Terracotta warriors, a real shrunken human head, a two-headed dog skeleton, a shooting range and much more. Perfect for a step outside of the ordinary, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando has got the market cornered on quirky Florida attractions.

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Disney's Hollywood Studios®

Disney's Hollywood Studios®

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Disney's Hollywood Studios puts you center stage in the only place where big-screen thrills, TV fun and the best of Broadway come together. Tires scream, flames burst, motorcycles fly, and moving cars split in half. It's intense, behind-the-scenes movie-making magic at its best - and it’s also a working studio!

Hands-down the most exciting rides are the spooky and unpredictable hotel elevator in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, where your stretch limo races through the streets of LA after dark. A must-see attraction is Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, a 35-minute show that looks a lot like the movie. Scream as you zoom through 13 floors of fear on a radically random elevator ride, or blast 0 to 60mph (96 kph) in 2.8 seconds as the music of Aerosmith rocks you through a wild, twisting rollercoaster road trip. Then, sit back and let the magic and music of Disney's Beauty and the Beast take your breath away.

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SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology!

SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology!

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The SKELETONS exhibit of Orlando is the first specialized museum of its kind, with more than 400 complete animal skeletons in its collection. It examines the function and form of the skeletal system with specimens from all over the world.

The museum is family owned, having begun with one child’s fascination with a skull he found in the woods. Over the years he collected bones, including those of very rare species, and then decided to make them available to the public to see (and even touch!) The family has cleaned and articulated every single one of the hundreds of skeletons on display, which can take months at a time depending on the intricacy of the skeletal structure. Some of the larger animals of the world offer the most impressive skeletons, as demonstrated by the whale and elephant skeletons at this fascinating museum. Visitors can both learn about the lifecycle of the animals and appreciate the complex composition of nature.

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