While Florida conjures up images of sultry beaches, Orlando is synonymous with Walt Disney World. You will of course have to experience all these to get a 360 degree Florida experience but to get the true essence of Orlando step off the beaten path and travel the roads less traveled. And you will find hidden treasures that are as enriching as they are unforgettable. A look at the some of the offbeat Orlando sites.
#1 – Titanic: The Experience – Climb aboard the Ship of Dreams and step into the grand yet tragic world of 100 years ago on the ill-fated Titanic. Carefully reconstructed interiors and artfully placed relics all over the ship gives you the wondrous feel of being on the grandest, most expensive and fastest liner of the world, much as the Titanic passengers may have felt with no hint of disaster looming ahead. Trained actors around you portray famous Titanic characters to produce a more realistic effect. Added to this you will also find real artifacts that have been recovered from the actual wreck site on display. Walk down the famous gallery, the grand staircase, the promenade deck, the state cabins as well as the verandah café to feel the pulsating presence of history all around you.
#2 – Haunted House – Almost all Southern cities have a haunted and terror trail experience to boast of but the one just miles away from Orlando is state of the art. Prepare to be petrified. It has two main areas of interest – The Petrified Forest is an outdoor scream trail with over 65 live characters, 22 different haunted locales right in the middle of a deep forest. Terror On The Lake is a haunted mansion with 3600 square feet of dark winding hallways and corners which will give you the willies for life. The ambiance is that of a cursed lakeside town that you have stepped into. Once you have been suitably frightened and entertained you can sit back and relax with the live bands, great food and fun games provided for visitors.
#3 – Silver Springs Nature Park – Stepping into Silver Springs is like stepping into the beautiful heart of nature. Nestled among rich and stunning foliage, Silver Springs offer amazing wildlife experience, nature trails, and even a petting zoo and alligator farm for your kids. Enjoy kayaking, canoeing, boating and bird watching in the Silver River State Park and the Ray Wayside Park. Children can have a gala time picnicking or swimming with the fish in crystal clear water of the Juniper Springs. The Wild Waters Water park combines the best of nature and water park entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.
#4 – Holy Land Experience – If there is anything called time travel, this is it. You are not just transported back in time but you are transported right into the middle of history which is an intrinsic part of our lives even today. The fantastic reconstruction of ancient Jerusalem and the Biblical world gives a firsthand experience of Biblical events for both adults and children alike. It is a theme park with a difference. It is fun, entertaining, educational and simply unforgettable. You get to experience the Exodus yourself and at the same time soak in the timeless atmosphere of a Middle Eastern marketplace, the old city well and feel the pulse of life that throbbed over 2000 years ago.
#5 – Old Town – Feel the age old charm of a true American Old Town when you drive into this site just beyond Disney Parks and the nearby town, Celebration. The admission is free year round and along with live bands and entertainment you can also enjoy the classic car show every Friday and Saturday night. This is one of those rare sites which has preserved the look and feel of a traditional amusement park with the typical arcade games, the Ferris wheel and the age old souvenir shops bringing back the nostalgia of old times.