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If you're visiting Orlando in the summertime, you are bound to get caught in an afternoon thunderstorm. Don't worry, there are plenty of indoor activities to keep you and the kids occupied without the expense of a Disney pass (also see toward the end for some more adult specific activities).
Orlando has a number of fantastic ways to let the kids burn off some energy indoors and perhaps even learn something in the process. Wonderworks is a perennial favorite. Orlando 's only upside-down attraction, WonderWorks is an amusement park for the mind featuring over one hundred interactive exhibits for people of all ages. Be blown away by 65 mile-per-hour hurricane force winds, get shaken by a simulated 5.3 degree earthquake, virtually swim with sharks, be elevated on a bed of 3,500 nails, make a 3-D impression of your entire body or measure the speed of your pitch to a famous baseball player. Definitely plenty to keep you and your children interested at WonderWorks.
Right down the street is the World Famous Ripley’s Believe It or Not . The weird and wacky 'Odditorium' looks like it's falling into a Florida sinkhole, but if you think the building looks bizarre, wait until you see what's inside. Hundreds of fascinating, outrageous, and interactive exhibits entertain the entire family. Explore an unbelievable variety of artifacts, exhibits and displays in 16 unique galleries that pay tribute to the odd and bizarre. Marvel at the collection of weird and unusual relics and rare treasures.
Further up International Drive is the newly opened Titanic the Experience . The brand new 20,000 sq. ft. / 20 room interactive attraction features full-scale recreations of Titanic’s most famous locales, including her Grand Staircase, First Class Parlor Suite, Veranda and Marconi room. Exceptionally trained actors in period costume portray famous Titanic notables such as Captain Smith and “Unsinkable” Molly Brown, sharing stories of her passengers and crew during an hour-long guided journey; including a walk out on to the Captain’s Bridge and Promenade Deck to experience the chill of the cold Atlantic air as you gaze at the stars. The attraction showcases over 200 artifacts and historical treasures from collectors around the world.
When the sun comes back, Gatorland is generally a hit. Yes, it’s pretty much what it sounds like. Gatorland is a 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combining Old Florida charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment. The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949 – its expanded massively from its humble beginning (no need to fear depressing enclosures or excessive kitsch). Today, it provides affordable family fun with thousands of alligators, and crocodiles, plus an aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs, gift shop, Florida 's best train ride, restaurant, Gator Gully Splash Park , and much more.
If you are NOT traveling with kids, believe it on not, Orlando has a surprising variety of really good museums. A popular destination for visitors from all over the world, the Orlando Museum of Art is both a cultural and architectural treasure in central Florida . Your experience begins the moment you enter the galleries where Dale Chihuly's arresting glass Cobalt & Citron Tower draws your eyes twenty feet up to the glass skylight above. It's only the beginning of an adventure in culture, imagination, and creativity as you explore the Museum. Within a 10 minute car ride is the Orlando Regional History Center . A historic five-story masterpiece offers Orlando residents and visitors alike fascinating insight into how this region has made its transition from a small town surrounded by citrus groves and cattle ranches to today's thriving urban community. The Orange County Regional History Center is home to the varied and extensive collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc.Don't forget Shopping! Orlando has great outlet malls at both ends of I -Drive. The newly remodeled Prime outlets near Universal resort is bigger than the Premium outlet mall (on the Disney side), but both have the big guys- Nike, Adidas, Ralph Lauren, Gap, etc- as well as lots of hidden treasures. For instance, the only Baccarat/Lalique outlet in the US is at the Premium outlet center...and the only 7 for all mankind outlet is at the Prime center. Good shopping!