View of Lake Eola with Orlando in the background and swans swimming in the lake

Fun Things to do in Orlando Besides the Theme Parks

I’m sure almost all of us have heard of Orlando Florida. It is world-famous for its theme parks attracting millions of tourists each year. But what if you are traveling to Orlando and don’t want to spend your days in the theme parks, is there anything else to do?

Of course, there is. There are plenty of fun things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks. 

Orlando is the heart of Florida, home to Disney World and other attractive theme parks, but just because the theme parks is what made Orlando famous, doesn’t mean you have to spend all your time there. 

Outside the main resorts, rides, and crowded lines of the theme parks of Orlando, there is so much more to explore. 

Orlando has a bunch to offer you for an unbelievable experience. So if you are here to find out what you can do in Orlando besides the theme parks than keep reading. 

Wooden pathway with trees all around it

Things to do in Orlando Besides the Theme Parks

1. Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve

Theme parks can be overwhelming, so if you are looking to avoid them and get back into nature you might want to check out Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. Hop back into nature and leave the city behind. With multiple trails and boardwalks, this is a great way to refresh yourself in Orlando.

The trails move around the curves of Lake Butler with spectacular habitats for local wildlife. 

Cypress-lined shores, pine forests, and bayhead swamps are a joy to walk through. They also have a and don’t butterfly garden which is a magical experience. It is a tree trek adventure that you won’t find at Walt Disney World. 

Bring lunch with you and enjoy a nice relaxing meal next to the water’s edge or one of the several picnic areas. With over 3 miles of trails, you will be sure to reflect and reconnect to nature.

Space shuttle taking off

2. Kennedy Space Center

Not far from Disney, about an hour’s drive to be exact is Kennder Space Center. A great alternative for the whole family to enjoy besides theme parks. Come spend the day learning about space and America’s space program.

Spend the day checking out the astronaut hall of fame and wander through the rocket garden. It is a great way to spend your day just outside of Orlando without having to deal with crowds and lines that you would experience in any one of Orlando theme parks. 

Kennedy Space Center is a fun spot in America that everyone should visit in their lifetime. If you are lucky enough you could even time it to see a rocket launch. Now, how cool would that be? 

Hot air balloon taking off at sunrise

3. Orlando Sunrise Hot-air Balloon ride

Why not enjoy nature’s amusement ride and go for a hot-air balloon ride?  Hop into a hot air balloon ride and get a beautiful aerial view and lay of the land.

With offers for half-day flights to personalized and private tours, this is a wonderful experience. High above the local area, you will get to take in the breathtaking view of what Orlando has to offer.

Get a new perspective as you float over Disney land, the crystal rivers, lakes and the view of the city skyline.

The sunrise flight is something special you will always remember. 

When the early morning light casts a smile across your face as it stretches over the greater part of Orlando. Warming you up from the inside out you will make this a top memory as you toast champagne and post-flight snack.

Don’t forget to hang your flight certificate on the wall when you get home.

4. Discovery Cove

This is an all-inclusive resort experience. There are no lines in the park so the experience will be at your leisure.

One of the major highlights is a one-on-one swim with dolphins. Get nose-to-nose with bottlenose dolphins in this epic adventure.

All guests are given time to meet and get up close and personal with the dolphins to help ensure everyone will have a personal experience.

At The Grand Reef, you will feel as if you were in a tropical aquarium. Swim and snorkel with hundreds of vibrant fish in this stunning coral reef habitat.

For those with land legs, there are boardwalks and paths that follow the water’s edge with small pockets dug in where you can view life from above and below.

Float down the lazy river with your love as the smooth and calming current send you past the sandy resort beaches, stunning rainforest, cascading waterfalls and through an underwater cave.

Head through the freshwater oasis with up-close encounters with sea otters. Your ears will love the sound and melody of the Aviary. With hundreds of species of birds, you will get lost in the colors and songs. Now, how do we replenish and refuel?

This is an unlimited all-inclusive experience as we said early and when it comes to food and drink this doesn’t change.

Accommodating dietary needs, vegetarian dishes, and allergy requirements all dishes are freshly prepared. In addition, cold beverages and coffee wine, and beer are also provided for guests.

With endless snacks and gourmet breakfast and lunch you will always be up for the adventure.

Picture of chocolate hearts

5. Chocolate Museum and Café

Deliciously different, and delightfully fun is an understatement that the chocolate museum lives by. This tour will hit all your senses. 

Unlike syrup, you can’t just tap into a tree and start filling a jar with this sweet treat. You will learn the origins of chocolate and see how it has been processed over time to be one of the world’s greats delicacies.

True masterpieces and art made from chocolate will be seen when you enter the sculpture area. 25 solid, iconic landmarks crafted out of pure chocolate will make you wonder about the willpower the artist had to not taste the creation.

Continuing on you will get to see the modern machines that make this sweet treat from a bean to a tasty creation.

Finally, you will get to the part that you did this tour for in the first place…The tasting room. Samples of the world’s finest chocolate recipes will be yours to discover.

Inside the Café, you can treat yourself to handcrafted coffees, gelato, pastries, and warm sandwiches. There are several options beyond the chocolate museum that you and your bae will love. Enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing or fondue 4 two in addition to the museum tour.

Nothing sweeter than being with your sweet, trying delicious treats.

Gator swimming in brown water

6. Gatorland

This is a one-of-a-kind park experience. Do not let the name fool you into thinking that is all to see. But who doesn’t want to get up close and personal with gators… I mean, after all, you are in Florida, so why not embrace it?

Crocodiles, a petting zoo and one of a kind animal show are some of the attractions it offers. 

Gatorland is home to the largest collection of rare white leucistic alligators.

There you will take a custom 12ft high swamper and take a scenic boat tour to get up close and personal with these gusy in their natural environment.

This rugged adventure will put you right into the swamp and marshes of Gatorland.  With the adrenaline pumping it’s on to the zipline.

Above the tree tops your adventure will start at 7 stories high! With multiple platforms, you will make your way over 1200 feet of line cruising at 30MPH.

You will fly over the marsh breeding ground and the most famous attraction, the Nile and Cuban crocodile exhibit.

Go behind the line and get a special opportunity to get within feet of giant hungry gators. Create a feeding frenzy and pose for a spectacular picture.

7. Teatro Martini

It all began when a #1 ranked dinner show showed up in central Florida. This is an amazing collection or art, music, comedy, and a whole bunch of entertainment.

Performers from around the world will be showing off their amazing skills with aerialist acrobatics, juggling, singing and more.

It is a great night activity to do in Orlando. Enjoy the fun-filled environment over dinner and drinks. The three-course meal and unique venue with wonderful hand-crafted cocktails will be a wonderful experience in your Orlando getaway.

It is a fun thing to do in Orlando when you are tired of the theme parks. 

Lake Eola at Sunset with Orlando in the background

8. Lake Eola Park

The centerpiece of downtown Orland is Lake Eola. Besides being around the hustle you can find a quick escape by renting out a swan boat.

With a little peddle power you will get to tour around the lake at your pace.

Get up close to the center fountain and have a chance to encounter real swans. If planned right be sure to hit the local Sunday farmers market before or after your cruise.

Grab some fresh and local grub, dance with live music, and sip on a cold one in the beer garden. This is a great way to escape the crowds and become a local. Enjoy the sunshine and views of the skyline around Lake Eola.

9. Plant Street Market

This is a local community market that is home to over 20 vendors that is in downtown Orlando in winter park. Open 7 days a week you will find handmade local artisan products and farm-fresh organic food.

This is a truly exceptional indoor market. Oysters, Sushi and poke bowls, empanadas, ceviche, BBQ, fresh donuts and loaded Mac n Cheese are just some of the smells that will draw you in.

Crooked Can Brewing is a staple inside with live entertainment and a pet-friendly atmosphere.

Enjoy specialty batches and seasonal flavors in this flagship location. This will be one to come back to on your next vacation. 

A great Orlando escape that is not a theme park.

10. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

A beautiful source of entertainment. From Broadway shows to live music and Ballet you will be entertained and stunned at the skills and abilities of all performers. 

Shows from Hamilton to the Lion King have been performed and ballets such as The Jungle Book and Nutcracker as well.

One spectacular addition is the movie night. Please look for movies that will fall into a playlist that is in conjunction with the Orland Philharmonic Orchestra.  They will play the music live as you watch the movie. What a personal experience!

11. Nona Adventure Park

Can you measure fun, fear, and adventure all in one activity? At nona water park you will conquer fears, push your self and laugh all the way through. Enjoy your climb of a 60 ft ropes course. Tilting boards, wobble bridge, and cargo nets are only part of the list of obstacles you will experience.

Once you reach the top you will get to have the leap of faith. A free fall to the bottom. There are 3, 500 ft climbing walls to challenge you.

There is a range of features for all levels of skill and comfort. Once you mastered your fear and agility it’s time to hit the aqua park.

Get creative when navigating this 1000 ft floating obstacle course. 36 platforms featuring a tire run, ninja jump and two Mt Rainiers to scale through.

Don’t worry about falling, in fact it is fun and you might be looking for an excuse to splash around. With a small bistro on sight this is a win all around.

12. ICON Park

A little bit of everything all in one at ICON Park. Party and play right in the heart of Orlando. Walk down the Ocean tunnel with full 360-degree views of sharks, rays and tropical fish.

Hang out with the rescued sea turtles and touch sea anemones and starfish. Take a tour with your favorite celebrities at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

Walk and capture selfies with Bea and some of the greatest leaders in history, actors/actresses or superhero. The always fun and trippy Museum of illusions will have you sideways.

The walk-through magic of optical illusions will be mind-bending as you break the laws of “normal”. Don’t forget and there is no way you could overlook the 400ft high Farris wheel.

Each pod has air conditioning and spectacular views of the surrounding areas. Find your way to the max action arena and enjoy Axe throwing, Zero Latency Extreme Virtual Reality, Adventure rooms, escape rooms and more.

With so much more from the arcade room, 7D motion theatre and over 10 places to eat from this is a must for an unforgettable one-stop hit.


So, what to do in Orlando besides theme parks. You don’t have to spend all your time at Disney.

Hopefully, this list has helped to inspire you on some other activities you can do while you are traveling to Orlando.

It might even be a good idea to split your time while you are there. Spend some in the theme parks and other time doing other activities on this list. 

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