Maybe it's the themed activity areas. Maybe it's the vibrant color splashed across each of the walls. Whatever the reason, kid stepping into Amaya Papaya's play lounge know that they're not walking into your average play date. Instead, they pass their time in a hybrid lounge that combines the best elements of indoor playgrounds, event and party spaces, and local shops for kids up to five years. Seven themed areas fend off boredom, with a creativity corner allowing kids to color on the chalk and paint walls and a construction corner letting them design cost-effective skyscrapers out of wooden blocks.
While kids play during drop-in playtime Monday-Friday, parents pass their minutes browsing the toys, games, and educational resources that populate the center's shop. After ringing up purchases, they can also kick back in comfy seats, keeping an eye on their child's play session while taking a break for themselves.
Amaya Papaya's staff also leads classes before open play and after closing time for both parents and adults, such as art and language classes and CPR training. To keep things fresh, they constantly rotate toys and pull out their etch-a-sketches to plan special events such as meetings with children's authors. Amaya Papaya is also available for private birthday parties on the weekends.
With more than 18,300 square feet dedicated to all manner of bounce, Rebounderz Indoor Trampoline Arena's original location in Longwood invites guests to leap and bound across more than 10,400 square feet of specially engineered indoor trampolines. After working up a sweat during rounds of air dodgeball or plunging into foam pits, bouncers can take a break with a game of ping-pong or hit the arcade games. A café refuels visitors and bakes up pizzas for birthday parties, which are an ideal way to celebrate kids for surviving this cruel world thus far.
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.
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.
Magical Midway’s neon-lit towers jut into the night sky as visitors scream with excitement from the amusement park’s go-kart tracks, thrill rides, and fully stocked arcade. The Space Blast Tower shoots passengers 180 feet in the air at a g-force greater than 3. Drivers cruise go-karts along two elevated tracks or whip around corkscrew turns on the Audubon-inspired fast track, as nearby bumper cars collide as harmlessly as two marshmallows doing a chest bump. Pucks float across the air-hockey table in the arcade, which also houses racing simulations and dancing games. Hungry thrill seekers refuel with sundry meals and snacks, such as hand-tossed New York–style pizza and ice cream.
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.