Zoo in Metro West

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iFLY Orlando's state-of-the-art indoor wind tunnel lets acrophobic and aerophobic adrenaline junkies experience the sensations of skydiving under safe conditions. iFLY Orlando will suit you up with a helmet, goggles, flight suit, earplugs, and a can of gravity repellent, before an instructor teaches you the basic maneuvers and hand signals. Once you've learned a lesson, you'll be unleashed into the vertical tunnel’s artificial wind current for two one-minute rotations of air time at terminal velocity (real skydives usually allow for about 40 seconds of air time). The entire process lasts about an hour, including waiver signing (flyers under 18 must have a parent or guardian sign), a 15-minute class, and a flight slot during which your group takes turns flying. In addition to the flight experience, the multimedia package includes a DVD with a recording of your flight.

Indoor skydiving is accessible to a wide, family-friendly age range, meaning that Grandma and Grandpa can celebrate their 60th anniversary with more than the traditional cake shaped like Andy Griffith. iFLY Orlando's free observation deck allows for maximum show-offiness, so invite along an audience of hard-to-impress friends, lovers, and butlers to marvel at your simulated plummet through the heavens.

6805 Visitors Cir
Orlando,
FL
US

Gator Adventure Productions brings people into contact with the dinosaurs who still roam the earth: namely, crocodiles and alligators. The trainers help promote conservation and educate the public by getting visitors up close and personal with the animals during shows at the park. They offer photo opportunities with the animals, and standing exhibits where guests can safely observe larger creatures and repeatedly lose alligator vs. human staring contests. The park holds an annual summer Croc Fest, a celebration that benefits a particular species each year. In 2013, for instance, they aided conservation efforts for the Jamaican crocodile, and the 2014 festival focuses on saving the Philippine crocodile. The trainers can even take the alligators and crocs on the road?the animals have made appearances at private parties around the area.

6515 international Dr
Orlando,
FL
US

Fun Spot America's family-friendly amusement park has the charm of a small-town carnival, but the colorful adventure never packs up and leaves. Although there are activities for kids, such as miniature tea cups, a fun slide, and an arcade, where Fun Spot really makes its name is with its thrilling ride for adults. White Lightning, Orlando's only wooden roller coaster, offers 10 moments of air time over it's 2,000-foot track, sending riders down 75-foot drops, around a track filled with twists and turns, and around 90-degree banking turn before pulling back into the loading station.

Speedsters can also head over to a series of Go-Kart tracks that keep riders pushing pedals through banked bowls and hairpin curves on a multilevel track. The park rounds out its attractions list with bumper cars, Enterprise, a Tilt-a-Whirl, and Rip Curl.

5551 Del Verde Way
Orlando,
FL
US

The first thrill at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Museum begins in the parking lot. As visitors walk toward the front door, they are greeted with the seemingly precarious sight of a building that slopes into the ground. The illusion is all for show, but the wide-eyed stares continue once guests enter the museum and begin to peruse the 16 galleries of artifacts and oddities from around the globe.

Inspired by the eclectic collection of cartoonist, world traveler, and renowned eccentric Robert Ripley, the museum's galleries are an ode to the unusual. The exhibits feature jaw-dropping displays, including a real shrunken head, a 25-foot mural of Jimi Hendrix made from more than 8,500 playing cards, and wax replicas of famous figures and candles throughout history. Seeing is believing, and the museum remains open 365 days a year, encouraging patrons to experience a small sampling of the world's most bizarre relics and stories.

8201 International Dr
Orlando,
FL
US

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.

14501 S Orange Blossom Trl
Orlando,
FL
US

Constructed in 1886, the residence now known as Haunted Grimm House sheltered the Grimm family funeral business until a triad of unfortunate events—the stock-market crash, a Grimm son's gradual descent into insanity, and a murderous butler—brought the clan to a macabre end. Nearly 100 years after the house's construction, the Old Town council⎯afraid to tear the building down lest they rouse wrathful spirits⎯decided to open the two-story home for tours.

…Or so visitors to Haunted Grimm House are told before embarking on 10- to 15-minute treks through the spooky structure's more than 4,000 square feet. Via winding corridors, patrons peek into the Victorian-style dwelling's 20 rooms, which claim to teem with ghouls, monsters, and chiropractors extracting the chills from spines.

5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy
Kissimmee,
FL
US