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Things to Do in Florida - page 5

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Disney's Animal Kingdom®
8 Tours and Activities

In this amazing place you're in a living storybook on a breathtaking adventure, filled with creatures real and fantastic. Animal Kingdom blends theme park and zoo, carnival and African safari, while mixing in a healthy dose of Disney characters, storytelling, and magic. Board a rickety jeep and ride through the Sahara, past zebras and lions, in Africa, or take a raging river ride in Asia, with Mt. Everest looming on the horizon. Here you can see Bengal tigers, huge fruit bats, Komodo dragons, and other exotic critters.

DinoLand U.S.A. evokes a fun-filled small-town fair, with its carnival-style rides, games and a herky-jerky thrill ride that transports you back in time. Let your heart sing along in a moving musical celebration of the circle of life at Festival of the Lion King. Here, every path and trail invites you to explore the awesome surprises of nature, with all the enchantment of Disney.

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Lake Eola Park
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3 Tours and Activities

Boats glide alongside actual swans on Lake Eola, at the heart of Lake Eola Park. The site isn’t big by many standards – a mile around – but it packs a big punch as an oasis in the middle of bustling, crowded Orlando. Locals and visitors flock here – like the geese they feed out of hand – to take in a little nature. The Orlando skyline rises in the distance, a stunning contrast to the peace and quiet of the park and a beautiful reminder of the nearby city.

There are countless things to do in Lake Eola Park, including a weekly farmers’ market to visit, complete with fresh produce and live entertainment. Children run amok on the Lake Eola playground, and the iconic swan boats are a favorite for all ages. The park also has its own performance space, the Walt Disney Amphitheatre, which hosts events throughout the year. There’s even a restaurant on the premises; the Relax Grill promises to live up to its name.

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Fun Spot America Theme Parks
3 Tours and Activities

Fun Spot America is a theme park with locations in Orlando and nearby Kissimmee. It is the only family-owned theme park in the area and admission is free to the park - you just pay to ride and play!

The parks are fully equipped with activities to keep the fun going all day. Each location boasts unique, patented multilevel go-kart tracks, an arcade where visitors can play a variety of games and collect points to redeem for prizes, and several roller coasters. The Kissimmee park is home to the tallest SkyCoaster in the world, which stands at 300 ft (91 m), while the Orlando park is home to Orlando's only wooden roller coaster, White Lightening. There are also thrill rides, bumper cars, bumper boats, and load of other rides that are appropriate for kids and fun for the whole family.

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SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology!
2 Tours and Activities

The SKELETONS exhibit of Orlando is the first specialized museum of its kind, with more than 400 complete animal skeletons in its collection. It examines the function and form of the skeletal system with specimens from all over the world.

The museum is family owned, having begun with one child’s fascination with a skull he found in the woods. Over the years he collected bones, including those of very rare species, and then decided to make them available to the public to see (and even touch!) The family has cleaned and articulated every single one of the hundreds of skeletons on display, which can take months at a time depending on the intricacy of the skeletal structure. Some of the larger animals of the world offer the most impressive skeletons, as demonstrated by the whale and elephant skeletons at this fascinating museum. Visitors can both learn about the lifecycle of the animals and appreciate the complex composition of nature.

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Disney Springs™
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3 Tours and Activities
Located in Lake Buena Vista, about 25 minutes from Orlando, Downtown Disney is an outdoor complex featuring retail shops, restaurants and entertainment. Unlike the Disney theme parks, Downtown Disney is free to enter and explore. The attraction is separated into three distinct areas including the Downtown Disney Marketplace, Pleasure Island and Downtown Disney Westside. The Downtown Disney Marketplace is where you’ll find the main shopping hub -- including World of Disney, the planet’s largest Disney merchandise store -- as well as restaurants and attractions. Indulge in an ice cream sundae and admire antique chocolate-making equipment at the Ghiaradelli’s Chocolate Shop and Soda Fountain, dine with life-sized wildlife at the Rainforest Cafe or get in touch with your inner child and ride the carousel.
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Disney's Hollywood Studios®
8 Tours and Activities

Disney's Hollywood Studios puts you center stage in the only place where big-screen thrills, TV fun and the best of Broadway come together. Tires scream, flames burst, motorcycles fly, and moving cars split in half. It's intense, behind-the-scenes movie-making magic at its best - and it’s also a working studio!

Hands-down the most exciting rides are the spooky and unpredictable hotel elevator in the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, and the Rock 'n' Roller Coaster, where your stretch limo races through the streets of LA after dark. A must-see attraction is Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular!, a 35-minute show that looks a lot like the movie. Scream as you zoom through 13 floors of fear on a radically random elevator ride, or blast 0 to 60mph (96 kph) in 2.8 seconds as the music of Aerosmith rocks you through a wild, twisting rollercoaster road trip. Then, sit back and let the magic and music of Disney's Beauty and the Beast take your breath away.

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More Things to Do in Florida

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando

Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando

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2 Tours and Activities

Also known as the Orlando Odditorium, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando is on normal attraction, a fact you’ll discover as soon as you walk up. Designed to look off kilter, the appearance of Ripley’s is the first of many interesting oddities you’ll find here.

This wild and wacky world is filled with wonder, and families can experience it all without leaving the city of Orlando. Filled with bizarre exhibits and mesmerizing optical illusions, Ripley’s includes life-size Terracotta warriors, a real shrunken human head, a two-headed dog skeleton, a shooting range and much more. Perfect for a step outside of the ordinary, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando has got the market cornered on quirky Florida attractions.

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Sim Center

Sim Center

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De la Cruz Collection

De la Cruz Collection

2 Tours and Activities

The De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space contains works from the personal collection of Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz and covers 30,000 square feet with art. Before moving to this site in 2009, the original space was an extension of the couple’s home of 25 years and focused on international contemporary art.

The art space includes various rooms with rotating exhibits, including one dedicated to showcasing local Miami artists’ works. Look for lectures designed to increase public awareness of art history and modern-day art practices. To help further promote the local art scene, Miami creative often submit proposals for site-specific installations, and classes and workshops designed with local schools take place as well. The De la Cruz family has also developed internship opportunities and a scholarship program for high school and college students. The De la Cruz Collection Contemporary Art Space is privately owned and funded by Carlos and Rosa de la Cruz.

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Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

Ernest F. Coe Visitor Center

1 Tour and Activity

The first opportunity for information and assistance when you arrive in Everglades National Park, the Ernest Coe Visitor Center is worth a stop when visiting the park. With educational exhibitions and plenty of maps, the Ernest Coe Visitor Center is the perfect place to get an overview of the extensive offerings in the Everglades. Be sure to stay for a showing of River of Life, a 15-minute film that provides an excellent park overview. The Coe Visitor Center also provides information on park ranger-led activities (mostly talks and some walks) as well as details about boat tours and canoe rentals.

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Ripley's Believe It or Not! Key West Museum

Ripley's Believe It or Not! Key West Museum

1 Tour and Activity

Located on the famous Duval Street, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is one of the most unique attractions you’ll find in Key West, Florida. With over 10,000 square feet on the second floor of a historic Key West historical building, the over 500 exhibits will easily keep you busy for an entire day.

Ripley first displayed his odd collection at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, which was labeled Ripley’s Odditorium. The exhibit attracted over 2 million visitors, leading Ripley to take his show on the road. Today, there are franchised locations of Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Odditoriums all over the world.

The 500-plus exhibits in Key West are showcased in 13 galleries. Ripley collected the most unusual objects and collections he could find on his global travels to create the Odditoriums. Look for featured items like a shrunken head that once belonged to Ernest Hemingway, whose own typewriter and glasses are on display as well.

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Epcot Center

Epcot Center

6 Tours and Activities

With no roller coasters screeching overhead, no parades, no water rides and plenty of greenery, Epcot Center moves at a slower pace. Here you can smell the incense in Morocco, listen to the Beatles in the United Kingdom, eat sushi in Japan, and get a pastry in France.

An acronym for “Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow,” The Epcot Center is divided into two halves. The modern Future World, with its hard-to-miss iconic geosphere known as Spaceship Earth, explores modern technologies through myriad rides and displays.

The other half is the World Showcase, where you can tour the world in a day by taking an intoxicating toe-dip into the cultures of 11 different countries, featuring Mexico, Norway, China, France, Germany, and Italy.

Epcot also offers plenty of activities that appeal to inquisitive tots. The new Soarin' ride is a winner, and Mission: SPACE is good for getting the adrenaline pumping after one too many educational exhibits.

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Exploration Tower

Exploration Tower

1 Tour and Activity

You can enjoy one of the best views along the Space Coast with a visit to Cape Canaveral’s new Exploration Tower. Built in 2013, the curved, sail-like building is a design match with the myriad cruise ships that venture in and out of Port Canaveral, and the viewing platform atop the seven-story structure offers an ideal vantage point for watching the bustle of the port or a NASA rocket launch from Kennedy Space Center, which sits about 10 miles to the north. Exploration Tower also features inside exhibits, including interactive movies in a two-story auditorium, and a simulator where would-be cruise captains can try their hand at navigating Port Canaveral.

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Ybor City

Ybor City

2 Tours and Activities
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Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

Boyd Hill Nature Preserve

1 Tour and Activity

Florida’s Gulf Coast is haven for all kinds of interesting and exotic wildlife, and the Boyd Hill Nature Preserve near St. Petersburg offers the chance to explore unique ecosystems, including hardwood hammocks, sand pine scrub, pine flatwoods, swamp woodlands, willow marsh and lake shore. The 245-acre park has six miles of trail and boardwalk along the shore of Lake Maggiore, where you can spot alligators and lizards, myriad birds, butterflies and much more. The park also has an aviary for birds of prey, picnic areas, a playground and overnight camping.

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