Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Orlando: Beyond the theme parks

The popular holiday destination of Orlando is closely associated with some of the world’s biggest and most popular themes parks, which attract millions of people from all over the globe every year. But contrary to popular opinion, perhaps, there is much more to see and do in Orlando than simply hop on board the rides.
Here, we’re going to take a look at the top attractions that the city has to offer, beyond the well-known thrills and spills available at the theme parks. You can hire a car in Orlando and make the most of your stay.
Weeki Wachee Springs
If you’re looking to escape in the world of fantasy but don’t fancy paying theme park prices for the privilege, then Weeki Wachee Springs ought to feature prominently on your list of must-see attractions.
Located approximately one hour and 35 minutes away from Orlando in the car, this charming destination is definitely worth the travel time as it encourages you to believe in the surreal.
That’s because the spectacularly clear waters of the springs feature ‘mermaids’ performing underwater feats. Ever wanted to see a mermaid down a soft drink? Well, this is an opportunity not to pass up.
Among the best of the underwater shows on offer is The Little Mermaid, which takes place in a 500-seat theatre embedded in the side of the springs.
Flagger Beach
Golden sands and spectacular weather are probably what most holidaymakers think of when they close their eyes and think of Florida. And there are few beaches in the state that can match the splendour of Flagger Beach, which is a bit of a throwback to the days before condominiums and high-rise buildings.
The beach itself is distinguished by the reddish colour of the sand and the fact that despite its attractiveness, is considerably less busy than those seen elsewhere in the state. What’s more, it’s worth noting that while the area does not boast many malls or fast-food restaurants, it is home to a wonderful farmers market on Fridays and Saturdays, where you can pick up fruit and veg, among other items.
Located less than an hour from Orlando, this is one attraction that you will not want to miss, because – let’s be honest – it’s not often that you get the opportunity to watch a spaceship take to the skies.
There are a number of great locations in this part of Florida to watch lift-off. Of course, this is sure to be an exhilarating experience for all the family, but especially so if you have young children, who are unlikely to ever forget the experience.
Silver Springs
This set of springs offers a rare insight into life under the sea and in particular, the springs that make up much of the state's landscape. And doing so this way means that you needn't don a wet suit in order to enjoy an amazing view of the beautiful sights of Florida.
What's more, there is also a petting zoo for youngsters, as well as a series of shops and restaurants that can help make your visit all the more enjoyable. But what if you fancy a bit of peace and quiet? Well, the botanical gardens make for the ideal spot to relax and unwind, leaving your everyday stresses behind you.