There are numerous places to visit and things to do when on vacation in the Orlando area of Florida whether you want to visit the theme parks and attractions, play sport, go to the beach, shopping or see places of interest. Orlando is the world's Number One tourist destination!

                      

While many people think of the area as a kid's playground, with such popular theme parks as the Walt Disney World  (with the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios), Universal Studios, Sea World, Discovery Cove and more than 80 other attractions, it actually offers plenty to do for visitors of all ages.

               

                

                               

Located in the centre of Florida and less than an hour's drive to the Atlantic Ocean, Orlando has become world-famous as a popular vacation spot.

There are more than 3,800 restaurants in the area, 125 challenging golf courses, superb weather just about all year long, and more than 39 million square feet of retail space — in fact, Orlando is the fastest growing retail market in the United States.

The link to the Florida Leisure blog below provides news and updates on activities in the parks and the Orlando area.

 

A must for a visit is Pointe Orlando in International Drive. Not only are there 13 restaurants but there is also shopping and entertainment including one of the famous BB King's Blues Clubs.

Here is a taste of the music in BB Kings.

Follow the Pointe Orlando link below for details of what is to offer within the complex. Orlando is a world-class destination that has so much to do that every member of your family can have fun in their own way

Feel the adrenaline rush of indoor skydiving; twisting and turning on a thrilling roller coaster; or soaring over Central Florida in a glider, WWII fighter plane, helicopter or hot-air balloon. Cool off as you splash, spin, turn and twist through one-of-a-kind water rides at the area’s water parks and water ski parks. Or, discover the weird and unusual, the historic, and the spectacular at the many unique indoor attractions. In fact, when you consider the mix of legendary theme parks, magnificent museums, world-class entertainment and blockbuster rides and attractions, it would take more than 65 eight-hour days to visit all of the entertaining offerings. Orlando offers you such a diverse range of leisure activities that you’ll need to return again and again to experience them all. With something for everyone in your family—the choice is yours for the taking.

Please click on the Florida flag below for more tourist information about Florida

The following links to places to visit and activities around the Kissimmee area may be of interest to you.

                    

Attractions

There are numerous other theme parks and attractions in the Orlando area for you to visit.

  

              

The original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Islands of Adventure opened in June 2010.

   


In 2014 a new attraction opens at the Universal Orlando Resort.

The Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts ride expands The Wizarding World of Harry Potter by recreating a scene from the fourth film and final book of J.K. Rowling’s magical series.

And here is a first look at the Goblins inside Gringotts Bank (click on the photo below).



Legoland successfully opened a new park at the site of the old Cypress Gardens in Winter Haven on 15 October 2011. The 150 acre theme park has kept the gardens and offers more than 50 rides, shows and attractions in 10 themed areas that are geared for families with children aged 2 to 12. This is the largest Legoland in the world.

Kennedy Space Centre is about an hour away and is well worth a visit. Atlantis, the last shuttle to fly will remain at Kennedy as an exhibit.

      

The Real Florida

 

You must take a visit to see the real Florida by visiting Blue Spring State Park.

Blue Spring State Park, about 35 miles north of Orlando, is the winter home to more than 200 manatees. Tucked within 2,643 acres are 15 natural communities, a lagoon, a north flowing river (St Johns River) and a first magnitude flowing spring. Blue Spring is the habitat for at least 15 threatened or endangered plants and wildlife. Apart from the winter home for manatees, it is also home to the Florida scrub jay, gopher tortoise, black bear and one of only two known locations for the Okeechobee gourd. Look for herons and other wading birds near the water. See osprey and red shouldered hawks in the wild.

You can stroll along the one-third mile boardwalk that follows the flowing spring through the shady woodland. The clear spring run displays the flashing scales of gar and sunfish, while swimming turtles can be seen from 50 feet away. Listen to frog calls, gaze at a basking alligator or catch a glimpse of elusive migratory birds.  In winter watch manatees swim, rest and play in the warm 72 degree F waters. You can explore the St Johns River by renting a canoe or kayak, by taking a kayak tour or experience native plants and wildlife on a 2 hour river cruise.

It is best to book the boat tour in advance to avoid disappointment. Click on the picture of the cruise boat above for link to their website.

You must also visit Bok Tower and Gardens (for details click on the link above). The meandering garden is one of the greatest achievements of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Tranquil resting places, shady recesses, picturesque vistas and expansive splashes of color create a contemplative setting for your enjoyment. There are also many family friendly garden areas  which give children the chance to learn about the gardens while playing in a vine-covered arbor or observing butterflies.

The acres of ferns, palms, oaks and pines create a year-round backdrop of 1,000 shades of green for the seasonal bursts of azaleas, camellias and magnolia blooms that form an ever-changing work of art.

One of the best spots to observe the Gardens’ native birds, wildlife and wetland plants is inside the nature observatory known as “Window By The Pond.” Situated on the edge of a pond, the small wooden building has benches that face a large picture window where visitors can observe birds, reptiles, butterflies and native species in their natural habitat.

In all the natural beauty of the Gardens, Bok believed something was missing. Remembering the glorious sound of carillons in his native Netherlands, he decided to build a beautiful Singing Tower as the focal point of the Gardens which would be crowned by a large carillon. Bok commissioned fellow Philadelphian, architect Milton B Medary, to design and build the majestic Singing Tower. Medary drew his main inspiration from the Gothic towers and churches of Europe, but wanted to adapt his design to the characteristics of the Florida landscape. Lee Lawrie, a noted sculptor from New York, was engaged to design the elaborate marble sculpture that adorns the Tower. Although Medary’s overall design is neo-Gothic in its conception, he, like Lawrie, was a man of the times. Thus, Lawrie incorporated art deco influences into the sculptural decoration of the Tower. Construction of the Tower began in 1927 and was completed in time for the dedication on February 1, 1929.

 

Emerge from the peaceful gardens to find yourself in a setting reminiscent of the 1920s and 1930s. A tour through the magnificent Mediterranean-style Pinewood Estate lets you experience the luxurious lifestyle of C. Austin Buck, an early 20th century industrialist.The Estate occupies eight acres of Bok Tower Gardens and is enjoyed by thousands of visitors each year. Explore Pinewood Estate’s beautiful gardens and 20 room Mediterranean-style mansion built in the early 1930s. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, it is considered one of the finest examples of Mediterranean-style architecture in Florida. From time to time, special musical performances are featured at Pinewood Estate.

A little further away is the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park that provides an opportunity to see Florida's wildlife in a natural setting along 1.1 miles of paved trails and boardwalks. The fishbowl underwater observatory allows visitors to see manatees up close below water. Thousands of fish congregate in the 72 degree waters. Educational Programmes are presented daily on the endangered manatees, Florida wildlife, alligators and the park's hippo. Click on the picture above for the park web page.

       

Shopping

There are numerous shopping malls and other outlets within easy reach of the house.

Orlando may be home to the world’s greatest theme parks, butshopping is one of the most popular attractions in town. With more than 52 million square feet of existing retail space and continuous expansions and renovations, Orlando is a major player in the United States retail market.

An astounding array of shopping options awaits you. Shop the eight major malls located throughout for the convenience of brand-name stores and specialty shops, all under one roof. No matter where you travel from, you will be at home with major retailers, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, J C Penny, Macy’s, McRaes, Saks Fifth Avenue  and Dillard’s. Or, for the bargain hunter in you, be sure to visit our many outlet centres, bargain boutiques and flea markets. Search for that one-of-a-kind gift—shop our antique districts and upscale boutiques such as Nicole Miller and Tunis along charming oak-dotted streets, and Orlando’s themed shopping villages and theme park entertainment and shopping complexes. So, pack an extra suitcase and check your shopping list, because you’re sure to find bargains galore and perhaps an unexpected hidden treasure. Bring back not only lasting memories — but also trinkets and treasures from your trip.

There are links below to a few of the many shopping malls in the area.

 

    

 

Golfing in Florida

Golfers findparadise all year round. There are a number of golf courses within an easy drive of our villa to suit all abilities and pockets. The following web sites can provide all the details you need.  Florida a

Links to courses:

Here are details of a number of  golf courses near our house and the contact numbers/websites:-

Course

Holes

    Par

Phone

Website

Crooked Cat at OCN

18

72

407-656-2626

www.ocngolf.com

Faldo Golf Institute

9

32

407-238-7677  

http://Golf-instruction.marriott-vacations.com

Forest Lake Golf Club of Ocoee

18

72

407-654-4653

www.forestlakegolf.com

Hawk’s Landing Golf Club

18

72

407-238-8660

www.golfhawkslanding.com

Hunter’s Creek Golf Course

18

72

407-240-4653

www.golfhunterscreek.com

International Golf Club

18

72

407-248-9997

www.internationalgolfclub.com

Panther Lake at OCN

18

72

407-656-2626

www.ocngolf.com

U.S. 27 SOUTH . . . .

Champions Gate

18

72

407-787-4653

www.championsgategolf.com

Highlands Reserve Golf Club

18

72

877-508-4653

www.highlandsreserve.com

KISSIMMEE . . . .

Boggy Creek Golf Club

9

36

407-857-0280

 

Celebration Golf Club

18

72

407-566-4653

 

Crystalbrook Golf Club

9

27

407-847-8721

 

Falcon’s Fire Golf Club

18

72

407-351-0557

www.falconsfire.com

Kissimmee Oaks Golf Club

18

72

407-354-0011

www.kissimmeeoaksgolf.com

Remington Golf Club

18

72

407-344-4004

www.remington-gc.com

Walk N Sticks Bobby Nichols

9

30

407-348-9555

 

WALT DISNEY WORLD . . . .

Eagle Pines Golf Course

18

72

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

Lake Buena Vista Golf Course

18

72

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

Magnolia Golf Course

18

72

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

Osprey Ridge Golf Course

18

72

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

Oak Trail Golf Course

9

36

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

Palm Golf Course

18

72

407-939-4653

www.disneyworld.com

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