The city of Orlando is located in one of the world’s most visited tourist regions, which draws tens of million visitors every year. Among its principal tourist attractions are Walt Disney World, SeaWorld Orlando, and Universal Orlando. Within easy reach, too, is the Kennedy Space Center on Cape Canaveral.
1 Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World is Florida’s most popular family attraction and has been for many years. Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot Theme Park, and MGM Studios are just some of the highlights that have long entertained children and parents. There is enough to see and do to keep families occupied for days on end. Additions such as Downtown Disney now cater to a more adult crowd, with shopping, restaurants, theaters, and music venues.
Orlando’s SeaWorld, with its huge aquariums, dolphin and whale shows, touch pools, and extensive list of rides, draws a large family crowd. It also allows opportunities for close up encounters with dolphins and other residents. SeaWorld in Orlando is among the world’s largest marine parks.
3 Universal Studios
Universal Studios offers a look at the film studio of Universal studios, but also offers all kinds of other attractions and entertainment. This combination theme park and working studio was designed in consultation with Steven Spielberg to give visitors an interactive experience with the movies. As a result the attraction is designed to entertain adults and children and draws a large number of families.
City Walk, also part of Universal, is a huge entertainment complex, featuring dining, shopping, movies, and other day and night entertainment.
4 Discovery Cove
Located next to SeaWorld Orlando, Discovery Cove is one of the areas premier attractions. Visitors can experience some of the mysteries of the sea in an island resort setting. Some of the options including swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling along a reef, and wading among stingrays. On land you can relax in lounge chairs in the tropical setting.
5 Typhoon Lagoon
TyphoonLagoon is one of Disney’s most popular water parks, with all kinds of slides and rides, a wave pool for surfing, and areas for small children to enjoy themselves. Shark Reef gives visitors an opportunity to swim with leopard and bonnethead sharks, along with sting rays and other fish.
6 Islands of Adventure
Located at Universal Orlando, Islands of Adventure has five unique islands, each designed in their own theme, complete with rides and various other forms of entertainment.
7 Wet ‘N Wild
One of Florida’s first water parks, Wet ‘N Wild contains enough fun and thrill rides to entertain people all day long. On site are a wave pool, water slides, chutes, raft rides and flumes. There are both individual and multi-person rides. Some of the highlights include “The Surge”, a six-story speed slide, and “Bomb Bay” where the rider is dropped in a capsule from a great height.
8 Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center showcases several branches of science from mechanics to biology and applied technology. There are a variety of themed exhibits. Among the top favorites is “Kids Town”. Kids Town is available to children under 48 inches tall with stimulating interactive exhibits. There are also laser shows and large format films at the Dr. Phillips CineDome.
9 Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe
Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine was built in the 1980s. This large church can seat 2,000 people and is adorned with impressive stained glass windows. The church contains an 8 ft marble statue of Mary, created by sculptor Jill Burkee. In the outdoor chapel is another sculpture of the Mother and Child by Jerzy Kenar.
On site is a museum with religious sculptures, paintings, and a relic of Saint Desiderius. Also of interest is the Pilgrimage Center, offering information on the history of the Christian Pilgrimage.
Gatorland has thousands of alligators, crocodiles and other reptiles, some of which perform in daily shows and demonstrations. The “Alligator Jumparoo” show and “Gator Wrestlin'” are two examples. The facility is also home to rare leucistic alligators which are white.
A small train does rounds on the grounds and an observation tower provides views of the breeding marsh and surrounding region.