There’s nothing like skimming across Lake Tohopekaliga’s surface, propelled by a 500hp fan. That’s the thrilling experience offered by the Wild Willy’s Airboat Tours, which drift in the gentle marsh to catch sights of great blue herons, 12-foot alligators, snails, and other native creatures. All the while, your guide will provide expert information on the lake and the surrounding terrain, plus help you spot the wildlife.
While other tour guides pack groups into 12-passenger boats, Wild Willy’s keeps it passenger numbers low to reduce weight and increase speed. Up to six guests can board one of the airboat, which sail past reeds and Spanish moss before. Afterwards, you can take pictures with resident baby gators Thunder and Half-Stripe in the visitors’ center. And safety is a major focus at Wild Willy’s—guests should arrive 15 minutes before their tour time to receive a Coast Guard-required talk about safety.
Harmony Golf Preserve is an award-winning golf destination that prized as a Top 10 Orlando Golf Course in 2011 from Golf Orlando Florida. Course architect and US Open Champion Johnny Miller designed a layout that would work in concert with the local wildlife. The result is a sprawling championship course that melds seamlessly with the natural wetlands and wooded thickets of the 260-acre wildlife preserve that surrounds it, earning the distinction of a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
While acting as a haven for feathered and furred animals, the course challenges golfers with tricky doglegs and undulating terrain, culminating in the course’s signature 9th hole, whose treacherous sand bunkers and water to the left of the green demand precision off the tee or a generous bribe to the mulligan maestro hiding in the thickets.
During course play, players can stop at a beverage cart or at the Grill on the Turn to refuel. After penciling in their final score, golfers can savor artisanal dishes and bask in the elegant, old-Florida atmosphere maintained by Graze, the clubhouse restaurant. Harmony Golf Preserve also helps players of all stripes cultivate their skills and clubbing techniques at The Performance Academy, while budding golfers can equip themselves with brand-name equipment and apparel from the pro shop.
Course at a Glance:
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.
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.
The history of today's Atlanta Braves traces back to 1876 in Boston, where the team played as the Red Stockings. In the more than 100 years since, the club lived like a nomadic tribe, claiming two World Series titles in separate cities before finally landing in Atlanta in 1966. There, they found reason to settle down, winning an unprecedented 14 consecutive division titles, as well as another World Series in 1995. Throughout the years, many of baseball's all-time greats have donned the Braves uniform, including Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, and Cy Young. Opened in 1997, Turner Field serves as the club's home turf, relaying the action on a 29'x38' BravesVision video board as a 27' neon tomahawk menaces visiting players and vegetables alike.
Offered Monday through Saturday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., and 2 p.m., Minute Maid Park tours provide an insider’s guide to a great American ballpark in a fact-filled approximately one-hour stroll. Reflecting Houston’s historical relationship with railroads, the park’s most distinct feature is a full-sized locomotive that runs along 800 feet of track in left field and is regularly held up by a tatterdemalion gang of thieving cowboys. Incorporating red brick masonry, a lush natural grass surface, and a retractable roof, “The Juice Box” boasts a 40,976-person capacity for baseball games and is a also a prime locale for recreating Braveheart battle scenes. Visitors will be led by a pleasantly colloquial tour guide that usually provides illuminating access to areas such as the broadcasting booth, press boxes, the dugouts, luxury suites, and lightsaber training areas–all of which are much more interesting than the Alamo’s basement.