In the heart of Orange County, in America’s Sunshine State, is Orlando. Known for its multiple theme parks and year-round sunshine, ‘The City Beautiful’ attracts visitors from all over the world. But theme parks aren’t the only attractions that make Orlando, Florida, so great, in fact, there’s plenty more on offer. This is our grown up’s guide to Orlando.
The Mennello Museum of American Art
Your grown up tour of Orlando begins at The Mennello Museum of American Art, which can be found in the Loch Haven Cultural Park, a few minutes from downtown Orlando. The museum houses an incredible permanent collection, including works by late artist, Earl Cunningham, as well as temporary exhibitions which are changed frequently. While there, take a walk around the grounds, along the hiking trail around Lake Formosa, and explore the spectacular sculpture garden.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
Temperatures in Florida barely drop below 10°C – ideal for exploring the great outdoors. Wekiwa Springs State Park, a natural paradise, is a 30 minute drive north of Orlando, and it offers all kinds of exciting outdoor activities. Miles of scenic trails are perfect for keen walkers, cyclists and horseback riders, while the Wekiva River and Rock Springs Run are perfect for kayaking and canoeing. You can rent canoes and kayaks from Wekiwa Springs State Park Nature Adventures.
If you want to go shopping, but you don’t feel like going to the mall, make your way to Park Avenue, Winter Park. Park Avenue is one of Orlando’s premiere shopping destinations, boasting designer boutiques and big name brands, found alongside delicious restaurants and cafés. But that’s not all. Mixed in with all the shops are plenty of cultural attractions, including the Winter Park History Museum, the Annie Russell Theatre and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. You could easily spend hours and hours here.
Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
30 minutes south west of central Orlando is another of Florida’s many nature parks: Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. This beautiful preserve showcases the region’s native flora and fauna, including pine woods, bay swamps, deer and gopher tortoises. Visitors can explore any of the winding trails on foot, and learn all about the preserve at the Vera Carter Environmental Center. Here you’ll find interesting exhibitions, as well as a dedicated team of wildlife experts who can answer any questions you may have.
When it comes to evening activities in Orlando you’re spoilt for choice, but you have to make time for IceBar. As its name suggests, IceBar is a bar made almost entirely from ice, and it’s the largest of its kind in the world. Guests are first welcomed into FIRE lounge, where you get kitted out in preparation for the cold temperatures, before entering the IceBar itself. You’ll set eyes on amazing sculptures as you sip on delicious cocktails served in unique, hand-carved ice glasses.
Plan your holiday to Orlando…
…with Alamo. A rental car is the best way to explore this amazing city – and beyond!