You can admit it. When you hear Orlando, you automatically start thinking about Universal, Disney and SeaWorld. There’s no contesting that those big-name theme-parks are what have made Orlando a tourist destination rivalling major U.S. cities. Did you know there is more to do in the City Beautiful than theme parks, though?
Off-the-beaten-path attractions offer some of the most exhilarating experiences you could ever imagine. With that in mind, here are some of our best-kept local secret hotspots to enrich your next Orlando vacation.
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
This beautiful zoo, located just thirty minutes from Orlando, offers visitors a full day’s worth of entertainment all in one place. With over four-hundred animals to study and enjoy – including bugs, amphibians, mammals and reptiles – there’s no limit to how much you can learn. On-site zookeepers even offer programs to educate the public on proper handling of wildlife. Make sure to catch a live-feeding demonstration with some very exotic birds-of-prey. If you’re traveling with any toddlers – or toddlers-at-heart – make sure to visit the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo before you leave.
If you think you’re ready to take off-the-grid to the next level, then Discovery Cove is the place for you. We’re going so off-the-beaten-path we’re leaving it in the rear-view mirror. In fact, we’re leaving land all together and headed for the ocean – well, close enough to the real thing. Discovery Cove offers Central Florida visitors the unique opportunity to swim with exotic oceanic and marine species not normally found in captivity. Explore the world of deep-sea diving complete with stingrays and colorful fish at the Grand Reef. Do you have a soft spot for cute furry creatures? If so, then the Freshwater Oasis – which adorable otters call home – is where you want to spend your day.
Wekiva Springs State Park
For a relaxing alternative to a day at the parks, head over to Wekiva Springs. Located just under a half hour from downtown Orlando, this local ‘cold’ spot – pun intended – offers families the opportunity to hike, bike, paddle board and kayak all in one convenient place! Visitors who wish to stay for the night can camp out under the stars and wake up the next morning and start all over again. Don’t forget, while visiting Wekiva Springs to take a dip in the seventy-two degree year-round clear springs.
All in all, when it comes to exploring new and interesting locations, the only thing holding you back is your imagination. Take a chance with one of these amazing day-destinations – we promise you won’t be disappointed!
What are your favorite off-the-grid places to visit when you’re exploring the Sunshine State?
Don’t forget when booking your itinerary on one – or all – of these amazing excursions to take a minute to check out the reservation specials that Westgate Resorts in Orlando offer, where you have dining, golf, spa options and more right on property.
Katie Parsons works with Westgate Reservations. She’s the creator of parenting blog Mumbling Mommy.
Article Submitted By Community Writer