The only way to get into Gatorland is to walk straight into an alligator's toothy maw. The giant mouth provides entrance to 110 acres of marshy wildlife preserve––home to a vast ecosystem populated by thousands of alligators, crocodiles, and birds, including rare wading birds and four rare white alligators. Among these, more than 130 gators splash and lounge in the park’s breeding marsh, which visitors can view safely from a three-story observation tower or while sitting on the shoulders of Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Yet one of the biggest thrills of Gatorland is the reptile's raw power. Visitors can see this on full display during the Gator Jumparoo show, where alligators leap four to five feet out of the water to snag food directly from a trainer’s hands, or during the Gator Wrestlin' Show, where a handler demonstrates survival skills. True thrill-seekers can even dangle over the breeding marsh while riding the 65-foot-tall Screamin’ Gator Zip Line. And to experience the unsettling sensation of stumbling upon a swamp filled with alligators at night, the Night Shine takes participants deep into gator territory armed with only a flashlight and a few hot dogs.
The experience begins with a ticket that’s a printed replica of a 1912 boarding pass, complete with the name of an actual Titanic passenger whose identity you’ll assume for the remainder of your voyage aboard the one-voyage wonder. A fully costumed actor, portraying one of the ship’s famed passengers, leads history hounds and treasure seekers on the approximately 75-minute tour through the 20,000-square-foot exhibit. While learning about the ship’s construction and hearing the hidden stories of those who rode on her, you’ll walk through full-scale re-creations of famous spots such as the grand staircase, an opulent first-class passenger suite, the steamy boiler rooms, and a temperature-controlled promenade deck complete with oceanic stars and an April-on-the-Atlantic arctic breeze. You’ll also venture into the Underwater Room, which houses an eight-foot replica of the ship as she rests in her present-day home at the bottom of the ocean. Marvel at more than 200 artifacts, including movie memorabilia from the ship’s various film incarnations. At the conclusion of the tour, the background of the passenger named on your ticket will be revealed, and you’ll discover their fate on the night the ship sank.
Orange County Regional History Center showcases the area's past inside a building steeped in Orange County history: the 1927 Courthouse. Today, visitors can explore the grand courtroom where the murderous Ted Bundy was allegedly arraigned. Such recent events, however, barely scratch the surface of the 12,000 years worth of history encompassed within the center's permanent exhibitions. Spanning Native American and Spanish roots to the meteoric rise of Walt Disney World, the museum illustrates Orange County's vast lineage.
The building has five floors, four of which house permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and materials for traveling exhibitions that highlight Florida history throughout the country. An Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum also plays host to programs for all ages, from lunchtime speaking engagements to educational programs designed to spark the imagination and satisfy curiosity. The Emporium offers one-of-a-kind gifts reflecting the cultural history of Central Florida including rare vintage photographs, quirky Florida souvenirs, and delicious Florida treats.
Adventures in Florida gives you the chance to experience the serene beauty of Florida galaxies away from the T-shirt-cannon-wielding mascots and bedazzled, man-eating airhorns of modern life. After grabbing your favorite life partner for your full-moon paddle, you'll be briefed by an ACA-certified kayak/canoe instructor who will put your paddling apprehensions at ease with a local's deep knowledge of the Winter Park Chain of Lakes. Set out in the midst of a sultry sunset and watch the moon come out to drench your vessel in dim, flattering light that's ideal whether you're looking for high romance or an atmospheric night of ghost stories. Adventures in Florida welcomes customers to bring wine and/or spirits to heighten the dizzifying majesty of the moon people that hide in their peripheral vision.
Named the best museum in Orlando by Cityvoters in 2008, Cornell Fine Arts Museum awakens retinas with a vast collection of more than 5,000 artworks. Patrons can meander through this elegant facility overlooking picturesque Lake Virginia, checking out a multifarious slew of permanent and travelling exhibitions, which feature chromatic canvases ranging from the early Renaissance to the modern day. The complimentary Corps Exquis catalogue is a bound anthology of famous etchings, mixed media, poems, and drawings by artists such as Paul Cezanne and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bring home a copy to inspire burgeoning brush buffs or keep uncultured coffee tables company.