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.
In more than 100 locations around the country, ThrillZown's staff facilitates adrenaline-filled excursions full of extreme water, air, and land adventures. Under the supervision of experts, brave souls defy gravity as they skydive, hang-glide, bungee jump, or play films of apples falling off trees in reverse. On land, crews harness the power of horses, stock cars, and snowmobiles; in the water, groups navigate whitewater rapids or explore aquatic depths as they scuba dive or surf.
Since 1960, Orange Bowl Lanes has facilitated friendly competition on 12 lanes, which cradle the throws of bowlers during open hours seven days a week and the more gutter-hugging curveballs pitched by league bowlers at night. Open until midnight on Monday and Wednesday, Orange Bowl Lanes keeps its doors ajar until 2 a.m. the rest of the week, providing night owls with something to do instead of counting the rhinestones on Orion’s Belt.