From indoor igloos to peaceful sea cows and bird’s eye city and theme park views, Central Florida is home to several one-of-a-kind experiences that you won’t want to miss on your next trip. The next time you’re heading on a Disney World vacation, be sure to set aside some time to see some other sights that are unique to the greater Orlando area. Here are five special sights you’ll only see in Central Florida.
Only on Lake Eola in downtown Orlando can you find yourself surrounded by scenic swan boats set to the backdrop of Orlando’s city skyline. Run by Orlando’s government and rented on a first-come, first-served basis, a peaceful paddle around Lake Eola may be just the thing you need to recharge after a few dizzying days at the theme parks. Each boat holds five people and rents for $15 per thirty-minute session. Head to North Rosalind Avenue to rent your swan.
The 21+ set can feast their eyes on 70+ tons of hand-carved ice at ICEBAR Orlando, the world’s largest ice bar. Conveniently located near dining, lodging, and attractions on Orlando’s famed Internation Drive, ICEBAR serves up frosty fun in an indoor igloo-style environment. After a few sips out of a hand-carved ice shot glass, you can warm up with tasty cocktails in the Fire Lounge. Perfect for date nights and celebrations, ICEBAR is one Orlando spot that will help you cool off after a hot day in the parks.
If you’re ready to slow down and commune with nature, head 45 minutes outside Orlando to Orange City and you will find Blue Spring State Park. The park is home to hundreds of manatees that have benefitted from decades of conservation efforts. The cost to visit the park is just six dollars per car and you’ll be treated to sights of peaceful sea cows that are truly priceless.
Soaring City Views
For one-of-a-kind views of the city and surrounding area, embark on a trip up the Wheel at ICON Park. From your perch 400 feet in the sky, you’ll enjoy eighteen leisurely minutes of views before you are safely deposited back on the ground amid many other ICON Park attractions.
Fireworks from Above
If you’re willing to head even higher for amazing views, a helicopter tour over the city and major theme parks is just the ticket. MaxFlight Helicopter Tours operates private tours that give you glimpses of SeaWorld, Gatorland, Disney World, Universal, and more. For added sparkle, schedule your tour after dark and enjoy bright city lights and even a magical firework or two.
Once you’ve seen the sights, get some rest at your choice of comfortable Central Florida hotels. The Wyndham Orlando Resort & Conference Center/Celebration, Staybridge Suites Orlando Royale Parc, and Fairfield Inn Orlando Airport offer quality lodging, as do Aloft Orlando International Drive, Comfort Inn International, Element Orlando International Drive, and Best Western International Drive. Closer to Disney, consider the Crowne Plaza Lake Buena Vista or the Fairfield Inn Orlando Lake Buena Vista.