Orlando has so many great things to do, but while the region claims seven of the world's ten most-visited theme parks, it's also home to many outstanding attractions beyond the Orlando area.
Orlando is the perfect starting point for a host of easy day trips. From sun-drenched beaches with refreshing water and scenic nature preserves filled with rare wildlife to high-energy spectator sports and unique cultural, educational and historic attractions. Visitors can find them all within a few hour's drive from Orlando.
Northeast Central Florida
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens - Span the globe in one afternoon, viewing rear and intriguing wildlife from nearly every region of the world, in one location the Central Florida Zoo.
With more than 2,000 animals, it's home to a diverse collection of animals, and showcases hundreds of rare or endangered animals, including cheetahs, elephants, kangaroos, baboons, leopards and some of the most powerful snakes in the world. Also enjoy the new ZOOm Air Adventures, a zipline experience. 407-323-4450
Hard Knocks - Execute missions that challenge your ability to defuse bombs, rescue hostages, protect VIPs and eradicate the enemy in an urban themed combat area.
Hard Knocks is an indoor combat simulation arena open for entertainment, law enforcement training and corporate team building. Other features include a LAN Gaming Lounge with multiple LCD televisions and a high definition movie theatre for some of the best video gaming around. 407-359-9091
Eastern Central Florida
Brevard Zoo - Located in Melbourne, Fl., Brevard Zoo features more than 550 animals representing 165 species, from North and South America, Asia, Australia and Africa. Unique experiences including hand-feeding gentle giraffes and kayaking through wetlands. 321-254-9453
Daytona International Speedway - is the home of "The Great American Race" - the Daytona 500 and Coke Zero 400 NASCAR races. Offering exciting racing, guided Speedway tour, Daytona 500 Experience The Ultimate Motorsports Attraction; and the Richard Petty Driving Experience.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex - Take a tour of Kennedy Space Center and explore America's gateway to discovery within outer space and the universe, at one of Florida's most famous attractions. Go behind-the-scenes for views of the Space Shuttle facilities and launch pads. Visitors can feel what it's like to blast into space in the Shuttle Launch Experience, meet a real astronaut every day and see "Space Station 3D" in the world's largest twin IMAX® theater.
Silver Springs - Famous for it's Glass Bottom Boat ride and Fort King River Cruise, Silver Springs encompasses the largest artesian limestone spring in the world. Other highlights include bear, panther and crocodile exhibits; a children's petting zoo; animal shows; a historical museum; and headline concerts. 352-236-2121
Zero-G Corporation - Experience a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience true weightlessness. The ZERO-G provides a full-day experience featuring a weightless flight in a specially modified Boeing 727, that allows you to float, flip and soar as if you were in space.
Flights depart from the Kennedy Space Center.
West / Southwest Central Florida
This 30-acre water park features thrilling slides and tube rides. A Splash Attack play area, a 20-foot platform for cliff jumping, lagoons, waterfalls and more. 888-800-5447 or 813-987-5660
Busch Gardens is a family amusement experience that includes naturalistic zoological habitats, exciting rides, and thrilling live entertainment. Located in Tampa, which is about 90 minutes from Orlando.
Citrus Tower - Located in Clermont, Citrus Tower provides a panoramic view of rolling hills, spring-fed lakes and citrus trees from three Tower Observation Decks. The Tower offers in-season fresh citrus fruit for sale, either to take along or for gift shipments. A restaurant and gift shop are also on the grounds. 352-394-4061
Dinosaur World - located in Plant City, has more than 150 life-size dinosaurs located on its grounds. Examine fossils and learn why dinosaur remains are not traditionally found in Florida. Shop for hard-to-find dinosaur toys and educational materials in the gift shop. 813-717-9865
Drivetech Racing School at USA International Speedway - in Lakeland gives racing fans the opportunity to get behind the wheel of an authentic NASCAR racecar. Guests race like the pros as they drive the laps drafting, passing and leading, setting their own pace around the track.
drivetech.com 800-678-8864 or 909-349-0255
Fantasy of Flight - in Polk City invites guests to explore the romance and nostalgia of flight in self-guided "immersion" experiences that chronicle the history of aviation. Guests can enjoy the world's largest private collection of vintage aircraft, flight simulators, back-lot tours, hot air balloon flights and open cockpit biplane rides. 863-984-3500
Florida Eco-Safaris - at Forever Florida offers eco-safaris via horseback, zipline or in a swamp buggy through a nature preserve with nine ecosystems. The Zipline Safari, Florida's first zipline experience, takes guests on a treetop nature tour reaching heights of 55 feet (16.8 meters) and speeds up to 20 mph (32.2 kph). 407-957-9794
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards - located in Clermont, is Florida's largest premium winery. Visitors can take a free tour of the winery, sample wines in the tasting room or purchase a bottle of the award-winning Lakeridge wine at the gift shop.
Revolution The Off-Road Experience - in Clermont lets visitors take the wheel of an all-terrain vehicle, Hummer, Jeep Dune Buggy or high-speed rally car for a few hours of off-road fun. Or, guests can take to the water for wakeboarding, waterskiing or fishing.
Legoland Florida will be located in Winter Haven, Florida, on the former site of Cypress Gardens.
Driving Distance from Orlando FL. to