Fun things to do in Florida

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    Beautiful Fairchild Tropical Gardens and...
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Most Viewed Things to Do in Florida

  • Cho45's Profile Photo

    Cypress Grove Park, a delightful place to relax

    by Cho45 Written Dec 20, 2014

    I love Florida for its splendid parks, and ever since I moved here in November 2011 I have been to several, and none of them have disappointed me. This particular one where we went to last Friday is called Cypress Grove Park. It is located on Holden Avenue and part of Orange County Parks & Recreation.

    There are a whole bunch of amenities at this large park which looks out on to scenic Lake Jessamine. You will find a couple of gazebos, a boardwalk, restrooms, ball fields, volleyball/basketball courts and seating located throughout the grounds. It has open fields that can be used for a variety of functions, many picnic and barbecue spots, and a fun playground for the kiddies. Paved walkways abound throughout the park that are worth strolling around, and taking in the natural beauty of the grounds.

    There is also a colonial-style home on the grounds called the Estate House, that is often rented for weddings or other special occasions. This elegant looking house is a beautiful plantation-style Southern home with a pretty outdoor garden and yard where wedding ceremonies are held. Nearby is a small Rose Garden.

    The park is clean and very well-maintained with paved walkways going around the entire perimeter where you can have a nice view of the lake. For such a lovely place there weren't that many people around when we went there, perhaps because it was a weekday. As the park covers a vast area, there's plenty of open space for walking and meditation (yes, sometimes we need some meditation to collect our thoughts, wouldn't you agree?) and enjoying the beauty of the place.

    What I like most about this place are the abundance of the huge live oak trees with hanging moss which actually looks quite romantic to me, and of course cypress trees all over the place. The environment is as close to nature as it can be, and once you go through the entrance you don't really feel like you're in a big city.

    It's not far from where we live in Orlando. Once inside the park you can find ample parking space in pleasant surroundings, so to sum it, nothing beats this place if you're looking for an afternoon picnic, a playground for the kids, a pleasing water view, or a quick jog in the park. Best of all, there is no admission fee. Definitely a park worth visiting again!

    Park entrance Many live oak and cypress trees here View of the lake Picnic area at the park Entrance to the Rose Garden at the park
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    A jewel in the center of downtown Orlando

    by Cho45 Written Dec 19, 2014

    Last summer we had a lot of rainy days, but one Sunday the weather was sunny, a good day to go out and enjoy some of the city's many delights. I have already been to Lake Eola park for a brief visit when I first arrived in Orlando in November 2011, but this time I wanted to walk and explore the full length (about 1 mile) of the park.

    There were already a lot of people when we got to the place around 11 am. It is a popular urban park for the city's residents especially on weekends when a farmers market is set up. It is pet friendly too, so many people bring their dogs. One can jog or run at a casual pace, or just take a leisurely stroll in the park's wide walkways, plus the iron-and-wood docks provide great views of the lake and its avian population. The trees, plants and flowers surrounding the walkways are thick and vibrant in color, making it a pleasant outing.

    Obviously, the lake itself is the main feature of the park. It is actually a sinkhole with an ornate fountain in the middle. The fountain is illuminated at night, when you can see the colors changing like a light show. During the day the fountain constantly shoots water upward in an attractive display. If you fancy a boat ride on the lake you can rent a "swan boat" which is actually a pedal boat in the shape of a white swan. The rental fee is $15 for 30 minutes which I thought was quite expensive!

    But wait, there are a lot of real swans (both black and white ones) swimming on the lake or roaming around the whole place. As we ambled around the park we saw many of them, along with geese and ducks. Be careful though, if you don't watch out they might chase you, or sneak up behind you and nip your feet!

    We also had a look at the farmers market (open only on weekends) where they had various booths selling home made soaps, baked goods, various types of arts and crafts, clothing, etc. They had about 3 or 4 food vendors, a burger/hot dog stand, a fruit stand, a fresh juice stand, and other shops as well. There is an area nearby with picnic tables and chairs where you can eat and/or relax. If you don't fancy fast food, plenty of regular restaurants are within walking distance outside the park. In fact, you can have a splendid view of the city skyline from anywhere within the park.

    This place is very much family oriented. There is a kids playground and a restaurant besides the lake. Public restrooms are situated in convenient spots. At the entrance there is an amphitheater which plays host to regular cultural events, festivals and other fun activities held throughout the year. We also saw a Japanese "garden," a World War II memorial, and a Confederate States of America (CSA) monument.

    Overall, the park is clean and well-maintained. This is the place locals come to relax, unwind, chill, get inspired, or just people watching. New York City has its Central Park, but Orlando (besides Disneyworld) has this lovely little oasis in the heart of the city!

    Entrance to Lake Eola in Orlando, Florida City skyline across the lake Swans swimming gracefully in the lake The Japanese gardens at Lake Eola, Orlando Another view of the park at Lake Eola
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    Alligator capital of the world

    by Cho45 Updated Dec 18, 2014

    I had been living in Florida for nearly two years at that time, but never been to Gatorland, even though it's just a ten minute drive away from where we lived in Orlando. Well, we finally made it one summer day. One reason was we wanted to take advantage of the special admission fees for the month of August, only $10 for Florida residents which is $15 off the usual rate of $25. Great incentive!

    At the entrance there is a giant 'Gator mouth.' We got there before the opening time of 10am, and though it was a weekday, a lot of people were already waiting in line to purchase tickets. We even had to wait our turn to take photos at the Gator mouth!

    Although billed as the "Alligator captial of the world," Gatorland is actually a theme park and wildlife preserve. Besides the estmated 3,000 alligators and 90 crocodiles of all sizes, there are also exotic birds, reptiles and other animals at this park. I was expecting the place to smell bad like the crocodile farm in Thailand, but surprisingly I found Gatorland to be quite clean and well maintained. This is very much a family oriented venue. There is also a childrens playground, and plenty of attractions and activities to keep you and your kids busy all day long. You can also watch 3 different shows such as the Up Close Encounters, alligator feeding and gator wrestling. These shows are all included in the entrance fee.

    All of the above shows are highly entertaining. In the first show called Up Close Encounters, the two staff/performers kept taking out crawling creepy creatures from boxes behind them and showing them around to the apprehensive audience. Then they asked for volunteers to hold the big long python (see photos). Needless to say, I didn't volunteer as I am basically a coward, LOL!

    The next show was the alligator feeding where two of the staff playfully competed against each other to see which one could make the alligators jump highest to catch the chicken they were holding above the water. I was relieved to see that they were not live chickens.

    In between shows we visited the petting and feeding area for deer and goats, the aviary (which was really a bird enclosure) to feed the cute parakeets. The Swamp Walk was interesting too. It was going though a long walkway in jungle like surroundings to observe the flora, fauna and other wildlife.

    We also took in the Gator Wrestling performance which was really not you or someone from the audience wrestling with an alligator, but sitting on its back. The gator had his mouth tied of course, except when the professional handler put on his act. He must have spent considerable time training and practising with alligators as he was quite good. Not surprisingly, there were many people, both young and old, wanting to have their pictures taken with the alligator. I noticed that all the shows were packed, and by the time we finished with this last show the park was crowded with even more people coming in.

    Next, we took a mini train ride through the park which cost an extra $2. This wasn't too exciting as it was only a short ride and didn't cover the whole place. Before leaving we went into the gift shop to browse around. Oh yes, we even bought a book there to give as a present to my young grandson whose birthday is coming up soon.

    Oh, I almost forgot, there is zip lining there too. I think the cost is $70, and as the ads say, you soar through the air and above the alligators. However, we didn't do this thrill ride which is fast becoming popular all over the country, as we did it already in Nicaragua a few months ago for only $35.

    As mentioned earlier, this park is really a mini-zoo with the emphasis on alligators and crocodiles. Covering an area of 110-acres it is relatively small, but one can easily spend a whole day there for an educational and/or entertainment tour.

    Jaws entrance to Gatorland Pretty 'gators having a nap You can also take photos with a snake here There's one jumping out of the water Me doing some silly stuff at Gatorland
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    • Zoo

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    Kayaking in Moss Park

    by Cho45 Written Dec 17, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    My first trip to Moss Park was in December 2011. This huge 1500 acre park is located about a 45 minute drive from downtown Orlando. That first time we checked out all the available facilities and recreational activities with the intention of coming back there again in the future.

    Then on one Sunday last summer we loaded our kayaks in our open pickup, and went to the park again. It was a beautiful sunny day, ideal for going around Lake Mary Jane which frames the park with another lake called Lake Hart. We wanted to explore Bird Island in the middle of the lake to watch the wood storks nesting there. Egrets, ibises, herons and other migratory birds (I was told nearly 100 different species) are also known to inhabit the island.

    It was my first time kayaking but I suppose, due to beginner's luck I had a fairly easy time using the paddle and made it to the island in about 10 minutes. The only difficulty I encountered was when I wanted to take photos, and keeping the kayak still in the water. Also, I was worried about my camera falling into the lake. The island is surrounded by marshes on one side, so navigating through the reeds can be a bit tricky for a first timer like myself.

    The water of the lake was surprisingly warm, and I took a dip in it with my life jacket on. I am a reasonably good swimmer so I didn't even need the jacket and the shore was not that far away, so I could have made it back to land even without the life vest.

    After we got back to the shore we took a break at one of the picnic tables of which there is an abundance all over the park. While we were sitting a couple of sandhill cranes came to visit us. I recall that on our first trip they also came near us, and I wondered if they were the same birds.

    Besides kayaking there are two boat ramps for boating on the two lakes, plus a swimming area along Lake Mary Jane. Other amenities include picnic spots with grills, RV (recreational vehicle) and trailer sites, a multi-purpose field for sand volleyball and other sports, and a playground for children too. There is also a campground, and I believe one can also rent a tent for camping

    If you are into nature walks there are hiking trails all over the park where one can come across wildlife such as deer, wild turkey, armadillos, raccoons and squirrels.

    The Park admission fees are $3 per vehicle for 1-2 people, and $5 per vehicle for 3-8 people which is quite reasonable for spending a fun day at this multi-recreational park.

    Entrance sign at the park Sandhill cranes coming to visit my table Swimming area on the sandy beach Rowing across the lake in my colorful kayak Trees covered with moss are all over the park
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    A place where you can re-live the 50's and 60's

    by Cho45 Written Dec 16, 2014

    I grew up in the 1950's and 60's. You could say I am a nostalgia buff, and a devotee of that period when life was innocent and carefree. So when I moved to Florida in November of 2011, my friend told me that there is an outdoor entertainment attraction called 'Old Town' in Kissimmee a small city about 30 minutes drive from Orlando. Since then I have been there several times and have always enjoyed my visits.

    Old Town is actually a section of Kissimmee built in 1950’s style that features open-air shopping with over 75 specialty shops, dining in more than half a dozen restaurants, and a choice of several thrill rides. Old Town takes you back on a delightful journey into a nostalgic past that captures the sights, sounds, and aromas of a simpler, more carefree time.

    You can stroll along the brick-lined streets of Old Town Boulevard and capture the imagination and heart of the 50’s and 60’s, while taking in the intricate and ornate architecture reminiscent of past Americana.

    You can find amusement rides for the whole family. For extreme thrills, you can try the Old Town Slingshot that is powered by giant cables and springs, and which catapults riders 365 feet or 110 meters in the air! There's also the 150 foot/45 meters tall Super Shot freefall ride, Windstorm roller coaster, and a giant Ferris Wheel.

    The specialty stores have everything from resort wear to sports apparel, jewelry to souvenirs, and old fashioned collectibles. I was especially interested in a shop called Wound 'n Around which specializes in Hollywood memorabilia.

    We usually go there around 6 in the evening to be part of a show called Little Darlin's Street Party where a local band play live oldies music every Wednesday, and on weekends. The audience is made up of mostly 'young at heart' people like us (LOL), and it's fun to watch the mature couples dancing along with the music or just enjoying themselves listening to the popular hit songs of yesterday, once more. These golden oldies (but goodies) sure bring back a lot of wonderful memories for me!

    To sum up, Old Town is a family oriented entertainment complex with a combination of shopping, various types of amusement for young and old, great food, and a fun place for all ages. Admission is free of charge, and there is ample car parking space which is free too.

    Parade of classic cars at Old Town The very high Super Shot freefall ride at Old Town At the clocktower of Old Town, Kissimmee My favorite store at Old Town, Kissimmee You can dance there at Old Town, Kissimmee
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Crandon park beach key biscayne

    by gwened Written Sep 5, 2014

    This was our favorite family beach when we lived not far from there and many memories of family gathering sometimes as much as 30. The beach is at Key Biscayne, and there a toll bridge for 2 USD now to get to it .

    Crandon Park beach
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    Best area beaches Ft de Soto

    by gwened Updated Sep 5, 2014

    well lived off Ft LAuderdale and family in Cape Coral off FT Myers, know the areas very well. The water is better overall in the Atlantic. Howver for folks in that area they go to Siesta Key beach, and for my taste go up north to Fort DeSoto National Park, one of the best beaches in the USA. right up I75 highway.
    http://www.fortdesoto.com/googlemap2.php

    http://siestakeychamber.com/aboutsk.php?id_cat=43&PHPSESSID=9331a30aa99ffaf5f9f359afaf9d6637

    great beaches anyway

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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Sea World Orlando

    by gwened Written Mar 6, 2014

    another site that we frequent a lot and finally found me a photo lol!
    sea world is like an aquarium but an active on display shows one, so its like a mix water park and attraction ride park. In Orlando Florida.

    Park open from 9am to 7pm, by bus see no 4 ,i came by car as I-4 West to exit 72 (Beachline Expressway/FL-528/Airport). Once on the Beachline, take the International Drive exit (exit #1). At traffic light, turn left. (You will be driving on International Drive.) At the second light, turn right onto Central Florida Parkway. The entrance to SeaWorld is on the right hand side of Central Florida Parkway.

    they have several pricing scheme better explained here
    http://seaworldparks.com/seaworld-orlando/book-online/tickets/mostpopulartourist/?source=OPT_pass_hours_tourist

    Shamu rides and killer whales , and sea lions shows were our favorites but there are several like
    http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/attractions/?from=Top_Nav

    Inside dining ,the buffet was for us, and then we went outside the park
    http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/dine-and-shop/dining/

    and plenty of shopping souvenirs
    http://seaworldparks.com/en/seaworld-orlando/dine-and-shop/shopping/

    one of the main parks of the Orlando area, so plan on seeing it; unique experience.

    Sea Lions show at Sea World
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    Marineland

    by gwened Written Feb 3, 2014

    This is the first marine park in Florida where Dolphins were brought in for observation and training. We used to lived about 40 mins from it up the coast along AIA. I am glad the park still going strong.
    the photos of old as when I used to lived there before 1995.I moved further South later on.

    how old well, founded as Marine Studios on ocean-side property just 18 miles south of St. Augustine, Florida, the facility opened on June 23, 1938.
    more on the story
    http://www.marineland.net/about_marineland.html

    admission ,hours, schedules and réservations are here
    http://www.marineland.net/dolphin_encounters.html

    It is an unique recherche center too,and very educational, if near don't missed it.

    Marineland dolphin show jumping Dolphins !
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  • gwened's Profile Photo

    Seaquarium of Miami

    by gwened Updated Feb 2, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    a wonderful property for years there now an institution not to be missed while in town. I have been coming here since I was a teenager and that is a long time ago, then took my sons, and hope you do the same.

    great experience with the dolphins,and seals shows as well as the killer whales, our favorite shows.I have added some older photos

    Daily Admission Tickets
    General Admission $39.95
    Children (3 to 9) $29.95
    check prices in webpage for updates.
    Miami Seaquarium® is opened 365 days a year. Our park is open from 9:30 a.m. and closes at 6:00p.m. Box office closes at 4:30 p.m. each day. Daily admission includes a fun filled day of marine-life shows and exhibits on 38 beautiful acres overlooking the Miami skyline.

    entrance to seaquarium entrance to key Biscayne and causeway killer whale show jumping dolphins show
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  • ArenJo's Profile Photo

    Miami Children's Museum

    by ArenJo Written Jan 19, 2014

    There is quite a bit for kid's to do, but we didn't find it to be as fun as other children's museums that we have tried.
    Also, if you have a children's museum membership anywhere else, you may get a discount here.
    This is close enough to where the cruise ships dock that you can see some which is cool.
    One bad thing is due to the location, traffic can get really slow at times.

    The Publix pretend grocery store My son buying his pretend groceries at Publix My son in a doggy cage My son driving a fire truck My son being a pirate
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    Universal Studios

    by ArenJo Updated Jan 19, 2014

    For Islands of Adventure:
    Although I believe the Whizardly World and all that is in it is over-rated, the rest of the park is awesome. My son loves the Cat in the Hat ride as well as the High in the Sky Trolley. And adults seem to like those rides plenty as well. The only problem with this park is, besides that one area there isn't much for kids to do here. The "Stories you Will Hear" are great for kids and they get to meet the characters afterward. Also, the Christmastime plays like the Grinch are great. Even my 4 year old son was into it the whole time.

    For Universal Studios:
    I will agree that many of the rides here are similar and not much fun. However, the Mummy is awesome. This is also a great place for concerts throughout the year. And the annual pass is cheap compared to Disney. One tip I can offer, you can use those lockers next to the Mummy and Men in Black for a little longer than just the ride.

    The ball pit area My son with Sam I Am My son with The Grinch My son joining in the skating show My son in Barney's Playground
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    Ice Bar in Orlando

    by ArenJo Written Jan 19, 2014

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Very cold, but they give you comfy winter clothing when you walk in the door. The admission price includes a few drinks. Afterward you can relax in a warm bar, but there doesn't tend to be anyone hanging out there.

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    Old area of St. Augustine

    by ArenJo Written Jan 19, 2014

    Very cool to see an old town right in Florida. Definitely worth a stop if you are nearby.
    I would skip the carriage ride though. We had to keep waiting around for one because apparently they only work when they feel like it. Then we got charged more than we were quoted. And it wasn't relaxing or sweet at all. We wanted something romantic, instead we got a driver that wouldn't shut up and the smell of horse poop.
    We tried the Mexican food place next door to the old fort. It was ok, but nothing special.

    Flagler College An old church Our carriage ride Us with the horse that pulled our carriage An old cemetary
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    Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine

    by ArenJo Written Jan 19, 2014

    The grounds are beautiful and the views from the top are great. The whole family enjoyed it. A 70 year old, 50 year old, 25 year old, and 4 year old. Also, if you have any senior citizens with you, let them buy the tickets. If I remember right, he spent about $10 and it got all of us in.

    The grounds The view from the top My son playing with the cannons One of the many cannons My family on the grounds on the inside.
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