With a collection sprawling across three floors, the Orange County Regional History Center divulges 12,000 years of central Florida history through permanent and limited-run exhibits. Follow Orlando’s transition from small town to Disney command center, or explore aviation marvels including a WWII B-17 bomber and Kennedy Space Center snapshots of NASA’s nighttime sun landings. In addition to unlimited admission, members receive reciprocal privileges, such as free or discounted admission at 208 museums and historic sites across the country. Additional membership perks include access to invite-only events, gift-store and program discounts, and free parking in the adjacent library garage.
Teaching hips to swivel to new circumferences, dance instructors impart their masterful moves unto students in the respected tradition Arthur Murray schools have upheld since 1912. Students can bring a partner to their lessons or fly solo and dance with the instructor. Protégés may find their new moves applicable in a number of settings, such as when prepping for a wedding dance or when blending into an airport crowd that breaks out in the cha-cha. Embodying the three-count time of a stately waltz brings partners in close, and rumba moves or swing steps add vibrancy and playfulness to a repertoire.
The Winter Park studio provides a warm, aesthetically sound environment for engaging in private and group dance lessons. The full class schedule is well suited to teaching feet to slice and dice a rug until it is no longer recognizable.
Brooke Pottery features fine ceramic crafts and a host of handmade doodads from more than 400 American artists. A glazed, tri-colored McQueeny Belt Bowl ($48) offers a fetching soup-holding alternative to cupped palms, while the Heart Coaster Set ($40) lovingly shields countertops from clammy cocktails and over-fizzed sodas. Decorate feng shui–deficient gardens with ash-wood Chi Energy Amber wind chimes ($35), or embellish tree limbs with colorful Aloha Chimes ($42). For kids, the Blues Band Harmonica ($7) provides hours of fun in the key of harmonica.
The fact that the owners of Numero Uno Cuban Restaurant chose a location with a dining room that seats up to 72 people is no coincidence. Embracing their Cuban heritage, they and their kitchen staff put an emphasis on family-style dining, showcasing a cuisine famous for tender, grilled meats, roast chicken, and stewed seafood. Each dish is an explosion of color and flavor, with shredded ropa vieja mingling with tomato and green peppers, and sides of earthy black beans or saffron-tinged yellow rice accenting entrees. Seafood staples such as whole fried snapper and lobster stew come in single or party-sized servings with the restaurant's catering services.
During a round of golf in this region, it’s not uncommon for players to see the occasional alligator sunning itself on the banks of a fairway pond. The same, however, cannot be said for miniature-golf courses, unless you’re playing at Congo River Golf, where the civilized sinking of putts coexists with the visceral carnage of live-alligator feedings. More than 25 alligators wait for patrons to feed them morsels of gator food in an exhibit beside the course. Though the course offers no chance for an encounter with the ancient, scaly species, it enchants players with waterfalls, safari-themed artifacts, and towering rock faces. In addition, Congo River Golf encompasses an indoor arcade and a gemstone-mining station, where guests dig through dirt for fossils, arrowheads, and Neanderthal’s kindergarten time capsules.
West Orange Trail Bikes and Blades sends pedalers zipping down the 24 miles of paved pathway that comprise the tree-lined West Orange Trail. As the shop is located directly on the trail, bikers don't have far to lug their dual-wheeled chariots before pushing off toward such destinations as downtown Winter Garden and Lake Apopka. Cyclists can choose from a selection of bikes, consisting primarily of Raleighs, including customer favorite, the Raleigh Venture—a seven-speed bike with a suspension seat post and adjustable stem. Hop atop a Raleigh Revenio 3.0 road bike for a smooth jaunt down the pavement, or pick out a tandem bike to share a spin with a quadriplegic octopus, whose four good arms are enough for him to still do his part.