Orlando, Florida Must-See Sites

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With over 1,200 miles of coastline, a plethora of amusement parks, some of the best fishing in the US and an endless array of family-friendly destinations to choose from, it’s no wonder Florida is on the top ten most popular tourist destinations of the US list.  Although Florida is home to some big draws for it’s tourist population, Orlando is among 3 of the top tourist visited cities in the entire state which makes it home to some of the best vacation destinations around. Since summer is right around the corner and I know everyone is gearing up for family trips I’ve compiled a short list of some of the best attractions in the Orlando area!

The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens

Located just half an hour from the city, Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens is a must-visit for anyone planning to visit the sunshine state.  Established in July of 1975, it’s home to over 500 animals representing 205 species and a beautiful Botanical Garden for the avid botanist in your group.  In recent years the Central Florida Zoo has also added in a Splash Pad for the younger visitors and a Zip Line for the young adventurers.  So, if the Central Florida Zoo is on your list of Florida destinations to visit this year don’t forget to get yourself a map of the grounds and dress appropriately with cotton shirts, shorts and comfortable walking shoes because it’s going to be a scorcher.

Congo River Golf

 The Orlando Congo River Golf course is just one of two locations in the greater Orlando area that offer miniature golf at affordable prices and in a fun atmosphere that everyone can enjoy.  With it’s tranquil waterfalls, holes that will bring out your competitive side, mysterious caves and fun Rainforests, Congo River Golf is a great spot for some leisure time as a group or even just for two.  As you make your way along the Congo River you’ll discover lost artifacts, be able to feed the live gators, and mine for gemstones.  Remember your sunscreen if you’re thinking of going during the day and bug repellent if playing by night; mosquitos and extreme heat are big issues in the sunshine state!

Lake Eola Park

Whether you’re looking to take a peaceful stroll around the lake with your family or wanting to work in some mileage for your fitness regime, Lake Eola Park has a wonderful atmosphere in which you can enjoy either.  With 9 miles of sidewalk that circles around the lake you can take advantage of the beautiful view, rent a swan shaped paddle boat for the afternoon, feeding the live swans that call Lake Eola home or take in the exquisite flower display.  If you’re a fan of the night life Lake Eola has also brought Moviola to their long list of activities, a free outdoor movie feature where you can bring a lawn chair, blanket and all of your favorite people to catch select movies each week.  So, add Lake Eola to your list of fun activities to do if you’re planning on visiting Florida this year and enjoy the many fun (and a lot of times free) activities the lake has to offer!

Museums

If you’re looking to incorporate some culture into your Florida vacation then Orlando has some of the best museums around.  The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is just one of many in the Orlando area that plays host to works belonging to Pablo Picasso, Thomas Moran and Henry Matisse.  The Grand Bohemian Gallery is another great museum to visit if you aren’t an exclusive art fan.  They have a variety of art, glass, sculptures and even jewelry for their visitors to enjoy.  While some museum admissions can be pretty pricey there are a lot of museums that have special discounts for seniors, students, etc. if you’re willing to ask around or research online.

Last but not least on my list is the magnificent Henry P. Leu Gardens.  Young or old, this is an experience that will be loved by anyone in your group.  There are 50 acres of of stunning gardens to explore and the exhibit is just minutes away from downtown Orlando.  Upon arriving to Henry P. Leu Gardens you’re greeted by giant oaks, magnolias and a gorgeous plantation style welcome center that sets the stage for a wonderful visit.

The Garden is home to over 8,000 plant species which were carefully and lovingly cultivated by the original owner and founder, Henry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane.  They traveled the world collecting rare seeds and plants for their gardens and visitors can enjoy many of them when they visit.  You don’t have to be a self-proclaimed plant expert or a great lover of gardens to enjoy the peaceful environment and lovely floral collection of Henry P. Leu Gardens and admission is affordable with free admission on the first Monday of every month.

The Sunshine state truly is a wonderful place to live but it’s also a fabulous place to visit.  It doesn’t matter what your goals are while visiting, Florida has something to everyone in your family and is the perfect vacation destination to add to your vacation bucketlist.

Photo Credit:  www.orlandoagents.com

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