When I say Orlando what’s the first thing that comes to mind? The big mouse? Shamu the whale? Sunshine? But, did you know that Orlando and the surrounding area is also home to some great attractions that embrace the cultural history and experience of the region? Orlando is probably the last place you would think of visiting to experience Shakespeare but the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre takes pride in presenting classic performances and educational opportunities to visitors. They offer year round performances for both adults and children.
The Orlando Museum of Art was founded in 1924 and presents 10-12 exhibits each year. Regionally it services reach 67 Florida counties. Along with offering display art it has numerous enrichment activities for adults and children.
Harry P Leu Gardens are a 50 acre botanical garden. You can stroll the gardens or participate in one of the classes held onsite. There is a turn of the century home on site and the surrounding gardens have been created to showcase native flora and fauna. You also can visit A World of Orchids in Kissimmee where orchids and other exotic flowers from all over the world are on display.
If you explore best through food then you won’t want to miss Orlando’s food scene. It’s not all carnival fare! Tantalizing Tastes and Tours is an Orlando based company that specializes in providing food tours around the city. You’ll experience some delicious ethnic foods and see that there’s more than meets the eye (or mouth!) in this city.
Lastly, not all theme parks are bad. Walt Disney World’s Epcot Center has long been a go to spot for those visitors who prefer a more international fare. The world showcase pavilions allow visitors to explore destinations all over the world just by walking around the park. You can watch performers, listen to traditional music, and eat delicious food representing the eleven countries that call Epcot home. Most adults claim this is their favorite park but don’t be surprised to discover kids love it just as much!
If you’re willing and able to leave the Orlando area there are even more historical and cultural sites to see. Historic Spanish Point is a 30 acre museum in Osprey, Florida. This interactive museum has on display 5,000 years of history! From prehistoric archeological digs to Florida pioneer homesteads and schoolhouses visitors experience Florida through the years.
One of the most unique state parks in the US is the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park in Homosassa, Florida. There are daily educational programs that include manatee programs and alligator/hippopotamus programs. Visitors can see West Indian manatees everyday via the parks underwater observatory. There also is other native wildlife like black bears, bobcats, deer, and river otters.
When you plan your next visit to Orlando don’t forget to visit some of these great locations and experience more than just theme parks!
Have you experienced the educational & cultural side of Orlando yet?