Everyone knows that Orlando, Florida, is the epicentre for Disney and other huge theme parks. There are hundreds of acres of Disney theme parks in Florida, but that doesn’t mean that they are the only things to do in Orlando. Especially for us folks without kids, what draw does Orlando have for us?
There are plenty of adult-oriented hidden gems in Orlando just asking to be explored. I love a good theme park and a terrifying roller coaster, but I’ll need a break from dinner with Disney characters and the children who follow them around. So, here are five hidden gems in Orlando that aren’t theme parks.
Kennedy Space Center
- Image via Flickr by Pat Hawks
It isn’t very hidden, but it isn’t somewhere all of us would think to check out. I wager that this is an attraction I wouldn’t want to visit. However, my Dad would want to go, so I would go and enjoy it. The best place to watch a rocket launch in the world, the Kennedy Space Centre Complex also offers a ton of exhibits, a bus tour of the complex, an Encounter With an Astronaut, and even an astronaut training simulator so you can see if you have what it takes.
Manor Pro Wrestling Dinner Theater
The Manor Pro Wrestling Dinner Theater is like no other dinner theatre you’ve ever attended. Since 2012, this dinner theatre has combined wrestling, music, great eats, and a very cool location. The show occurs once per month, with an encore the next day. It’s kind of like a wrestling version of Medieval Times, but the actors are fighting for the Manor Medallion. Kids are welcome at this event, but this is pretty far from the classic Disney night out!
Presidents Hall of Fame
Not all of us get to meet American presidents, but the next best option is visiting wax figures of them at the Presidents Hall of Fame. Reagan once called this niche wax museum a “true national treasure”. Ron could always spin a phrase.
Not only does the museum exhibit wax statues of each of the presidents and many of the first ladies, but there are also miniature scale models of all kinds of American landmarks, notably the White House. The museum also contains some real historical artifacts, like White House china and some full-scale replicas, such as one of the Lincoln bedroom.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Image via Flickr by Ricardo’s Photography (Thanks to all the fans!!!)
Orlando’s Leu Gardens are only a few minutes from downtown, and they’re the ultimate reprieve from the craziness of it all. These gardens were donated to the city in 1961 and span 50 acres, with the 19th century Leu House Museum in the middle. Visitors can attend special events, join plant tours, or wander the grounds and relax.
Orlando Ghost Tours
I love a good ghost tour, and if you’re in Orlando in the fall, there’s nothing better than a solid ghost tour or a haunted house. The Orlando Haunted Houses company runs all kinds of spooky tours, mainly in the fall. The tour guides are local history buffs who take masochistic visitors around town to Orlando homes, cemeteries, and neighbourhoods that give you a different side of Orlando’s history and very possibly keep you up that night.
Best Places to Stay in Orlando FL
There are tons of different types of accommodations in Orlando, so it’s best to check out a range of hotels and guesthouses suitable for your budget and preferences. The top neighbourhoods for tourism are generally closer to the theme parks, but if you look outside those areas, you may find some pretty amazing deals! Hopefully, none of them are on the ghost tour.
Everyone knows that Orlando is a fantastic destination for kids, but we can also see that there are some fascinating draws for adults as well. Add the hidden gems of Orlando to the city’s world-class dining, major league sports teams, and entertainment options, and a trip to Orlando is sure to please both the young and the young at heart.
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