Looking for something unique to do in Orlando, Florida?
Have you spent endless days riding miles and miles of theme parks and you just can’t wait in line for the next ride for a moment longer?
Well, this article should help, as we take a look at some of the smaller venues that take you off the beaten track and try to offer something a little more unique.
A Word First About Orlando Theme Parks
So how do you find unique things to do in a small town that receives 60 million visitors a year? From ghost tours to paddle boats to Florida’s largest rose garden, there’s bound to be something for you.
Orlando, Florida is known as the theme park capital of the world for a reason. Between Disney World and its many parks, Universal Studios and its many parks, not to mention SeaWorld and LegoLand, one can easily think that this is all Orlando has to offer.
Although we’re big fans of big parks (looking at you Harry Potter World), we like to find the quieter places to relax and experience other things too.
That said, Orlando is the most visited city in the United States and it will always be crowded no matter where you go. However, compared to larger theme parks, the locations on this list will generally be quieter and offer you alternative things to do in Orlando.
While we’re on the subject, many of the places on this list aren’t in Orlando itself, but a quick and easy drive from your hotel, so be sure to visit the official Disney Resorts website if you’re planning on visiting. visit Orlando and look for something close to all the action.
Unique things to do in Orlando
Without further ado, here are 15 unique things to do in Orlando Florida. I hope you will enjoy it.
Crane your neck at Giraffe Ranch
Have you ever been licked by a giraffe, nipped by a zebra, or ridden on a camel? I was lucky enough to do all three, and I lived to tell the tale.
At Orlando’s Giraffe Ranch, you can explore wildlife via a game drive, camel safari, or Segway safari.
What do they all have in common? They all take you on a ride to see a wide variety of African, Asian, Australian and American animals, from rhinos and hippos to lemurs and ostriches. Each tour includes hand-feeding giraffes, so watch out for that two-foot-long blue tongue, it will surprise you, I guarantee.
Go ghost hunting at American Ghost Adventures
Have you ever participated in a ghost hunt?
Have you ever been fascinated by the supernatural? Want to explore the (literally) darker side of downtown Orlando?
The American Ghost Adventures tour takes you on a ghost tour that includes a bit of history, some ghost stories, and a brief investigation inside some of downtown Orlando’s most haunted buildings. When the sign says you’ll be given ghost hunting gear or you can bring your own, you know you’re in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Stroll through the Bok Tower Gardens
What do acres of trees and the Singing Tower have in common?
Both are in Bok Tower Gardens, just outside Orlando in Lake Wales. The Singing Tower is a 205-foot-tall pink and gray marble circular building with a chime on the top floor with 60 giant bells connected to a keyboard (piano-like device) that fills the surrounding garden with rich reverberating sound when it is played. With over 250 acres of trees, reflecting pools, winding trails, and a thriving bird sanctuary, there’s plenty to explore on a nice day.
Defy gravity at Spook Hill
What do gravity, illusion and roads have in common?
Spook Hill in Lake Wales (near Bok Tower Gardens) is known as a gravity hill. Although rare enough to warrant an inspection, especially if you’re already on the road at Bok Tower Gardens, this anti-gravity phenomenon puts you at the bottom of a seemingly small hill. When you put your car in neutral, your car will magically start rolling up the hill. Perception is a wonderful thing.
Go indoor skydiving at iFly
Have you ever parachuted? A little nervous jumping out of a plane?
Well, you can go indoor skydiving at iFly Orlando. With state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels, you can experience the thrill of skydiving just a few feet above the ground. It’s a great experience when you’re with a group and you’re almost guaranteed to walk away with a smile whether you’re 5 or 105.
Visit the independent-inspired village of Ivanhoe
Do you like the indie scene? Want to see where hipsters dwell, art lovers roam and wine connoisseurs congregate?
Ivanhoe Village features an eclectic array of retro retailers, art museums, craft breweries, boutique wineries and tasty eateries. You can look for records at Rock & Roll Heaven or discover vintage clothing at Deja Vu Vintage. You can have a beer at Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company or a glass of wine at Imperial Wine Bar. You can even walk or bike the many lakes and trails that inhabit this small area of Orlando.
Be Mystified at the Orlando Science Center
Do you like science? Want to know the secrets of the universe and unlock age-old questions in a fun setting?
Then the Orlando Science Center is your ticket to happiness. With four floors of interactive exhibit halls, an observatory, theatres, labs and workshops, there’s no better place to learn through play than a science center. With ever-changing exhibits, 3D movies on giant screens, a hands-on dinosaur exhibit and huge playrooms for the little ones, it’s also a great indoor activity on rainy days and is located in the village of ‘Ivanhoe.
Stroll around Lake Eola
What do swans, ducks, turtles and an amphitheater have in common?
They are all found around Lake Eola in Orlando. With a mile-long walking path skirting the pretty little lake, you can easily hike it in an hour. Between the craft markets, local wildlife, and nearby restaurants, it’s easy to spend a few hours there.
If you want to take the scenic route, take an electric swan boat ride at night, but if you want to chill with the locals, sit on one of the many benches and watch the real swans swim and roam.
Take a paddle boat on Lake Fairview
Are you afraid of dirt and speed?
Then, riding a paddle boat on Fairview Lake is a sure way to put a smile on your face. There are actually a wide variety of boats you can rent to spend an afternoon on Lake Fairview in Orlando. You can rent everything from kayaks and canoes to pontoon boats and fishing boats.
Strike a pose at Madame Tussauds Orlando
Have you ever wanted to stand next to your favorite superstar? Ever wondered how tall a particular famous person was or how round their belly really was?
Well, you can probably see their lookalikes at Madame Tussauds in Orlando.
Gimmicky? Yes. Eccentric? Certainly. Unique? Well, unless you’re a world-class wax sculptor or painter with amazing skills in crafting true-to-life replicas, the answer is definitely yes. While there are wax museums around the world, Madame Tussauds Orlando is worth a visit if your celebrity curiosity knows no bounds.
Shake off your blues aboard the Titanic Orlando
Have you ever wondered what life was like on board the Titanic?
Whether you love history or just love the movie, Titanic: The Artifacts Exhibit is a big step back to the turn of the last century with exhibits highlighting the wonders of this fateful ship.
This two-hour adventure gives you a replica boarding pass when you become a passenger on the historic ship. With over 300 artifacts as well as full room recreations, if you loved the Titanic, this should be on your list of things to do in Orlando.
Face the incredible at Wonderworks
Have you ever walked into a building upside down?
As I was trying to get away from the amusement parks, this place leaves a lasting impression. With over 100 hands-on exhibits, Wonderworks is more entertainment than education, but that doesn’t mean you won’t learn anything along the way.
From walking through a 100 mph hurricane to experiencing a 5.1 earthquake, there are a few other activities worth checking out including playing a giant piano, sleeping on a bed of nails and experience a giant Tesla coil.
Go hiking in the Tibet-Butler Reserve
What do the biggest amusement parks in the world have in common with a reserve?
Nothing, except that they are both in Orlando. If you need to get away from the chaos known as theme parks, there’s no better place in Orlando than the Tibet-Butler Preserve.
With elevated boardwalks, lots of trails, marshes, trees, lots of birds, turtles and small animals, the reserve is a great free way to get away from the crowds and get back into nature. With a small visitor center with clean bathrooms, it’s a great way to spend a quiet morning after a day of battling the crowds.
Stroll among the roses at Harry P. Leu Gardens
Have you ever been to a rose garden so big you don’t know where you’re from?
Florida’s largest rose garden is in Harry P. Leu Gardens. This sprawling 50-acre estate, just minutes from downtown Orlando, features more than 40 different plant collections and different dedicated gardens, ranging from a butterfly garden and herb garden to a bamboo garden. If you love camellias, this is a place not to miss as they also have one of the largest collections of camellias in North America.
Glide through the bogs at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
What do huge fans and small flat-bottomed metal boats have in common?
They can both be found together at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Whether you take one of the personal tours or board the larger 16-person boat, taking a swamp tour by airboat is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.
As you cruise, you’ll see everything from huge alligators and wading cranes to loads of turtles basking in the sun. You might be able to convince yourself that you are going there to experience nature, but the truth is that these airboats are a lot of fun to fly.
Do you have any other unique spots in Orlando worth sharing? We would love to hear about it!
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