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Orlando, Florida, is a vibrant city known for its world-class theme parks, beautiful weather, and diverse culture. Originally founded as Jernigan in 1840, Orlando grew from a small rural community to a bustling city with a population of over 2.5 million people. Its popularity as a tourist destination can be traced back to the opening of Walt Disney World in 1971, which transformed Orlando into the theme park capital of the world. Today, visitors come to Orlando not only for the theme parks but also for its thriving arts scene, stunning natural beauty, and delicious cuisine. Whether you’re a family looking for a fun-filled vacation or a solo traveler seeking adventure, Orlando has something for everyone.

15. Fun Spot America

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Fun Spot America is a popular amusement park located in Orlando, Florida. The park features a variety of rides and attractions for visitors of all ages, including roller coasters, go-karts, and bumper boats. One of the park’s most popular attractions is the SkyCoaster, a thrilling ride that takes visitors on a 300-foot drop at speeds of up to 80 miles per hour. Visitors can also enjoy arcade games, miniature golf, and a ropes course. Fun Spot America is known for its affordable prices and family-friendly atmosphere, making it a great destination for a day of fun. The park also hosts special events throughout the year, such as Halloween and Christmas celebrations, and offers group packages and birthday party options.

 

14. Harry P. Leu Gardens

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The Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50-acre botanical garden located in Orlando, Florida. The gardens feature a wide variety of plants and flowers, including camellias, azaleas, and roses. Visitors can stroll along winding pathways and explore themed gardens, such as the butterfly garden and the tropical stream garden. The gardens also include a historical home that has been preserved as a museum, showcasing the life and times of the Leu family. The gardens host special events and programs throughout the year, such as plant sales and outdoor concerts. The Harry P. Leu Gardens is a peaceful and beautiful destination, offering a relaxing escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.

13. The Dr. Philips Center for Performing Arts

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The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a state-of-the-art performing arts center located in downtown Orlando, Florida. The center includes two theaters, the Walt Disney Theater and the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, as well as a community venue, the Seneff Arts Plaza. The center hosts a variety of performances throughout the year, including Broadway shows, concerts, and ballets. Visitors can also attend educational programs and workshops, such as the arts education program for students. The center features stunning architecture, with a modern design that complements the surrounding downtown area. The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is a cultural hub for the community, providing a space for visitors to experience world-class performances and engage with the arts.

 

12. The Orlando Museum of Art

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The Orlando Museum of Art is an art museum located in Orlando, Florida. The museum features a diverse collection of works from around the world, including contemporary art, American art, and African art. Visitors can explore galleries showcasing paintings, sculptures, and other art forms, as well as participate in educational programs and workshops. The museum also hosts traveling exhibitions and special events throughout the year, such as the annual Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. The Orlando Museum of Art is a cultural hub for the community, providing a space for visitors to engage with art and learn about different cultures and perspectives. The museum’s collection and programs reflect the diversity of the Orlando area, making it a unique and valuable institution.

11. The Orlando Science Center

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The Orlando Science Center is a science museum located in downtown Orlando, Florida. The museum features four floors of interactive exhibits that explore topics ranging from physics and engineering to biology and ecology. Visitors can learn about the human body, observe live animals, and experiment with hands-on activities. The museum also includes a planetarium, where visitors can watch educational films and star shows. The science center hosts special events and programs throughout the year, such as science camps for kids and adult-only events. The museum is a popular destination for families and school groups, offering a fun and engaging way to learn about science and technology.

 

10. Disney Springs

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Disney Springs is a shopping, dining, and entertainment complex located at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. The complex features over 100 stores and restaurants, ranging from high-end retailers to fast-food chains. Visitors can browse through a variety of shops selling clothing, jewelry, toys, and souvenirs. The complex also includes several entertainment venues, such as the House of Blues and the AMC Disney Springs 24 movie theater. Disney Springs is known for its lively atmosphere, with street performers and musicians entertaining visitors throughout the day and night. The complex is a popular destination for families and Disney fans, offering something for everyone to enjoy.

9. Madame Tussauds Orlando

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Madame Tussauds Orlando is a wax museum located on International Drive in Orlando, Florida. The museum features lifelike wax figures of celebrities, athletes, historical figures, and fictional characters. Visitors can take photos and interact with the figures, posing with them in various settings and scenarios. The museum also includes themed areas, such as a sports zone, a music zone, and a world leaders zone. The figures are incredibly detailed, with realistic hair, clothing, and accessories. Madame Tussauds Orlando is a fun and unique attraction that allows visitors to get up close and personal with their favorite stars and historical figures.

 

8. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!

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Ripley’s Believe It or Not is a museum that features oddities and curiosities from around the world. The museum is located on International Drive in Orlando, Florida and includes 16 galleries with over 600 exhibits. Visitors can see unique and bizarre artifacts, such as shrunken heads, a two-headed calf, and a vampire killing kit. The museum also features interactive exhibits, such as a spinning vortex tunnel and a laser maze, as well as a 7D interactive theater. The museum’s most iconic exhibit is the “Odditorium,” which houses some of the most unusual items in Ripley’s collection. It is a fascinating and entertaining destination for all ages, with exhibits that will surprise, shock, and delight visitors.

7. ICON Park

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ICON Park is a 20-acre entertainment complex located on International Drive in Orlando, Florida. It features a variety of attractions, restaurants, and shops, as well as an observation wheel that offers stunning views of the city. The wheel, known as The Wheel at ICON Park, stands at 400 feet tall and includes 30 air-conditioned capsules that can hold up to 15 people each. The complex also includes several other rides and attractions, such as The Orlando StarFlyer, a 450-foot-tall swing ride, and the 7D Dark Ride Adventure, an interactive shooting game. ICON Park also features a range of dining and shopping options, from casual to upscale, and hosts a variety of events and live entertainment. It is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, offering something for everyone to enjoy.

 

6. Discovery Cove

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Discovery Cove is a tropical oasis in Orlando, Florida that offers a unique experience for visitors. It is a reservation-only park that limits attendance to a maximum of 1,300 guests per day, creating a more intimate and personalized experience. Visitors can swim with bottlenose dolphins, snorkel with thousands of tropical fish and rays, and relax on a white-sand beach. The park also includes a freshwater pool with an underwater cave system, a lazy river, and lush landscaping with waterfalls and rocky lagoons. Guests can enjoy a variety of complimentary amenities, such as snorkeling gear, towels, wetsuits, and beach chairs. The park also provides food and beverage service, with all meals and drinks included in the admission price. Discovery Cove is a perfect getaway for those seeking a serene and luxurious tropical experience.

5. Attend a Pro Sports Game

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Attending a pro sports game in Orlando is an exciting experience for sports enthusiasts and families alike. Whether it’s basketball with the Orlando Magic, soccer with Orlando City SC, or football with the UCF Knights, there’s always a team to root for. The Amway Center, home to the Orlando Magic, is a state-of-the-art facility with great views of the court from every seat. The energy and enthusiasm of the fans at the games is infectious, and you’ll find yourself caught up in the excitement of the moment. Before and after the game, there are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area where you can grab a bite to eat or a drink with friends. Overall, attending a pro sports game in Orlando is a memorable experience that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

 

4. Gatorland

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Gatorland is a park that specializes in alligators and crocodiles. You can see them up close and even participate in interactive experiences like the Gator Jumparoo Show and the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. The park also features other animals like birds and snakes, as well as a petting zoo and a swamp walk.

3. Seaworld Orlando

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SeaWorld Orlando is a marine adventure park that features a wide variety of marine animals, including whales, dolphins, sharks, and sea lions. You can see them up close and even participate in interactive experiences like Dolphin Encounter and Beluga Interaction. The park also offers thrilling rides like Mako and Kraken Unleashed, as well as shows like Orca Encounter and Dolphin Days.

 

2. Universal Orlando Resort

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Universal Orlando Resort is another major theme park and entertainment complex that includes two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, as well as a water park called Volcano Bay. Universal Studios Florida brings movies and TV shows to life, with attractions like Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts and Transformers. Islands of Adventure is known for its thrilling rides, such as the Incredible Hulk Coaster and the Jurassic Park River Adventure. Volcano Bay  features a 200-foot-tall volcano and water slides like the Ko’okiri Body Plunge. Universal Studios is a thrilling theme park that the whole family can enjoy.

1. Walt Disney World Resort

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Walt Disney World is one of the most popular and visited attractions in Orlando, featuring several theme parks, water parks, and other entertainment venues. The Magic Kingdom is the oldest and most iconic park, with classic rides like Pirates of the Caribbean and Space Mountain. Epcot combines education with fun, featuring pavilions that represent different countries and innovative technology. Hollywood Studios celebrates the magic of movies with attractions like Toy Story Land and Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Animal Kingdom showcases the wonders of nature, with attractions like the Kilimanjaro Safaris and Pandora – The World of Avatar. The two water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach offer thrilling slides and lazy rivers. Walt Disney World attracts millions of visitors every year, making it one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.


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Summary

As you can see, Orlando has a lot to offer everyone. If you are looking to do more in the surrounding area, check out other weekend trips from nearby Orlando, Florida.

These areas are perfect for a quick day trip or a long weekend getaway. Explore our favorite things to do or peruse some pre-built itineraries.

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