Orlando Beyond the Theme Parks

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Orlando is a great family holiday destination, and this is chiefly down to the impressive amount of theme parks in the area which offer both children and adults never-ending opportunities for fun… but when you’re all theme parked out (yes, it does actually happen), there are a ton of other things to do for amusement. There are theatrical dinner shows happening in restaurants all over the city, a science museum with interactive exhibits and a fascinating mummy collection, a NASCAR go-karting track and much more.


International Drive

This is it. The entertainment epicentre of Orlando. It’s where you can go skydiving, meet some of your favourite celebrities (albeit in waxwork form) and play basketball in a bumper car all in one afternoon. Yes, there’s a lot going on in this hugely popular place, and it offers a great alternative to the theme parks.



sherlock holmes
Image courtesy of Jared Weggeland via Flikr

If you’re a fan of the hugely popular escape games, why not take it to a whole new level by taking part in one in real life? You’ll be placed in a room and have to use certain objects to figure out how to escape. There’s usually a murder or mystery to solve, and a time limit. At Escapology, there’s a scenario involving a virus which you’ll have to find an antidote for, or where you’re on a train where a murder has taken place, and you’ll have one hour to figure out who the murderer is before the next stop. It’s exciting stuff – the sessions run throughout the day and last around one and a half hours.


I-Drive NASCAR Kart Racing


I-Drive’s karting facility has environmentally friendly SODIKART RTX cars which enhance the driving experience even further. After whizzing round the half-mile track, you can grab a bite to eat at The Grandstand Bar & Grille. Tickets start from around £16 for one race.


Crazy Golf

Crazy Golf

As if crazy golf wasn’t crazy enough already, there are a handful of themed ranges in the area, like Hawaiian Rumble Adventure Golf which sets the island scene with palm trees and artificial waterfalls, and Hollywood Drive-in Golf which was inspired by 1950s drive in cinemas. Among the more absurd ranges are Gator Golf, which allegedly hosts live alligator wrestling and feeding shows, and Putting Edge, which has found its own niche in the crazy golf market by creating dark courses full of glow-in-the-dark props.


iFLY Orlando

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Lots of people love the idea of flying, but not as many people love the idea of jumping out of a plane to do it. iFLY has come up with a handy solution to this problem with an indoor skydiving experience which will make you feel like you’re free-falling even though you’re only about a metre off the ground. The great thing about this attraction is it’s suitable for people with disabilities and for children as young as three, so it’s a great activity fort the whole family. Lasting an hour in total, the experience costs about £65 per adult.


Madame Tussauds

madame tussauds

This popular attraction features waxwork models of famous people from fields including the arts and sciences, sports, TV and music. There are also a number of historical figures – Neil Armstrong taking his first steps on the moon, Abraham Lincoln signing the Proclamation of Emancipation, for example. And then there are lots of A-list celebrities posing perpetually.


Ripley’s Believe It or Not

believe it or not

You can explore some of the strangest artefacts known to man in the Believe It or Not Auditorium. If you’ve ever wanted to see a real shrunken head for example, now’s your chance. There are 16 themed galleries to explore and 600 oddities to gawk at.


WonderWorks Upside Down Museum

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Marketed as an amusement park for the mind, this attraction has an Earthquake Cafe where you can feel the power of an earthquake reaching 5.3 on the Richter Scale, and a Hurricane Shack where you’ll be enveloped by winds of up to 71 miles per hour! Don’t worry, you’ll have goggles to protect your eyes and a pole to hold onto! In the Physical Challenge zone you can lie on a bed of nails and test your mind capabilities with the Mindball Game which uses EEG technology used by military agents to help control their thoughts and remain calm in stressful situations!



Image courtesy of Dave Quick via Flikr

The name, Whirlyball doesn’t really give much away about the activity involved, but if you search it in google images, you can get an idea of the bizarre nature of the game. It’s bumper cars mixed with basketball mixed with hockey and it takes place on a 4000 square-foot court. You can really test your multitasking abilities with this pastime. Some people find driving difficult enough without having to worry about having to toss a ball into a 15-inch hole at the end of the court, but for others, it’s extremely fun, and it has received some really good reviews on TripAdvisor as a result.


Theatrical Dining

Orlando offers a wide selection of theatrical dining. its an opportunity to eat delicious food while being entertained by sometimes interactive performances. There are countless themes to choose from – from pirate to mobster, there’s a theme for every night of the week!


Capone’s Dinner & Show


This dinner show combines comedy with music and lots of gangster action. Food options include a buffet of Italian and American classics, so don your best pinstripe suite and fedora and head to Kissimmee for an evening of family-friendly entertainment.


Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament


You can step back in time here and watch knights jousting on specially bred stallions and gorge yourself on a mouth-watering feast of roasted chicken, herb-roasted potatoes or a hearty vegetarian stew. The attraction is set in a castle complete with a moat surrounding it and a drawbridge granting the public access. Inside there’s a medieval village offering a unique window into medieval life.


Orlando Science Centre

science museum

For an educational day out, visit the Orlando Science Centre where you can see the extraordinary mummy exhibition and a collection of dinosaur fossils including impressive skeletal remains. The museum hosts fun events like an annual Neanderthal Ball and the Otronicon video game and simulation convention and has big cinema-style screens showing 3D educational and entertaining films.

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