Every day until at least midnight, the floor of Bananas Diner is bustling. Often, it's for the bounties of reinvented diner food. Stuffed french toast coated in rice crispies, chicken 'n' waffles, and unusual benedicts—such as the eatery's signature Funky Monkey topped with fried goat cheese, sun-dried tomato jam, and hollandaise—add an element of novelty to the morning. Lunch and dinner bring surprises as well. Take the Garbage Plate, for instance, which smothers burger patties, hot dogs, or grilled chicken breasts with a tower of hash browns, macaroni salad, cheese, onions, and salsa. Nine burger varieties grant the option of an Angus beef, turkey, chicken, or veggie patty, while an array of classic sandwiches pay homage to deli tradition better than a bagel stuffed with take-a-number tickets.
But sometimes, the crowd is there for something else entirely. On weekends, when the diner stays open 24 hours a day, servers dressed in drag ferry eclectic breakfast dishes to customers while female impersonators hold court on stage for the Sunday Gospel Brunch. Other past events have included Queengo (the diner's own take on bingo), Broadway-themed drag shows, and the competition known as Bananas Got Talent. No wonder Bananas Diner has won multiple best-of awards from OpenTable diners.
From the outside, Professor Wonder’s WonderWorks laboratory appears to have flipped completely on its head. When visitors enter the upside-down edifice, they must first pass through the psychedelic, spinning lights of the Inversion Tunnel, which turns the building right-side up for families to embark on a full day of entertaining, educational activities. More than 100 interactive exhibits spark excitement around natural phenomenon, including replica space capsules that visitors can climb into, a gallery of mind-bending illusions.
Some of WonderWorks Orlando’s hands-on displays allow guests to experience the aftershocks of the San Francisco earthquake of 1989, throw a strike against Derek Jeter, and lie down on a bed of 3,500 sharp nails without so much as a scratch. Additional activities include the Indoor Ropes Challenge Course, which exercises bodies and minds as challengers navigate three stories of swinging beams and suspension bridges, and the XD Theater 4D, which transports viewers to swift canyon roller coasters, haunted mines, and Mars with full-motion seats and 3-D visuals.
Laughter fills the air as kids zip down slides and caper about a jungle of wall-to-wall inflatables and obstacle courses within Monkey Joe’s play center. Kids 12 and under romp throughout the air-conditioned playscape’s obstacles, and tykes 3 and under stretch their imaginations on the softer and smaller attractions in the toddler play area. An orchestra of electronic beeps fills the arcade, and the scents of savory pizza waft from a concessions stand. Colorful balloons and cakes pack party rooms, where birthday boys and girls unwrap presents and brand-new imaginary friends.
Safety is paramount to Monkey Joe’s. The play areas are always supervised by the trained staff, and as little ones frolic, a child security system tracks visitors through identity bracelets and video monitoring. These safety measures—combined with the use of FDA-certified cleaning solutions—put parents at ease as they relax in the adult lounge, where they can catch their favorite shows on flat-screen TVs or browse the Internet for ways to pimp their minivans.
The Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando was founded to give those who share the Jewish tradition a communal setting in which to exercise, play, and learn with one another. Between them, the two locations boast full fitness facilities, tennis courts, and an outdoor pool. Group exercise classes and a gymnasium aid adults in acquiring fitter bodies, and sports leagues provide a venue for grownups to compete and ceremoniously dump sports drinks on each other. The center also puts on its own full-blown theatrical productions.
The center’s staff tailors certain events to the needs of senior citizens, helping them with exercise regimes such as yoga. Staff members also assist the Senior Nite club in organizing trips to new restaurants or the theater and help pintsize guests by helming a preschool, kids' camps, and extracurricular programs. Staffers can even pick up youngsters from school and ferry them to one of the facilities for afterschool development programs, which, like backyard mazes, are designed by the child’s parents to challenge young ones.
Dr. Anne Scholl-Mealey has always believed in treating her four-legged patients as if they were her own pets. Though she doesn?t work at Animal Hospital at Vista Lakes?a clinic she opened in 2005 due to an overwhelming demand for an Orlando-area vet?she chose two fellow doctors and a supporting staff who share her compassion. This able team treats dogs, cats, rabbits, and exotics, such as mangos with whiskers. Their services include preventative care and checkups, surgery, and microchip identification, a procedure that painlessly places a small electronic chip into pets' skin so they are traceable if lost. The facility also includes a kennel for boarding and a grooming center headed by a graduate of the Florida Institute of Animal Arts.
Snap! Orlando unravels a city-wide canvas for more than 50 renowned photographers and emerging local talents to showcase their shutterbug prowess. Stretched across a dozen different venues, including art galleries, cafés, and exhibition spaces, the multi-day celebration unites both photography novices and veteran collectors under the same creative banner. On Friday, an artist reception launches the festivities with live talks from featured visionaries, and on Saturday, a fashion show shifts the spotlight from portraits to patterns with bold new styles inspired by some of the event’s creative minds. Attendees can also drop in on a lineup of lectures, workshops, and guest speakers who will be on hand to discuss their areas of expertise or demonstrate their go-to dance moves for developing a Polaroid.