Orlando Travel Guide
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ATTRACTIONS

SeaWorld
For years small children have been chanting “Shamu, Shamu, Shamu” at the very mention of SeaWorld Adventure Park. Well, the killer whales are still there, along with polar bears, birds of all shapes and sizes and some amazingly friendly dolphins. For those seeking a little more active stimulation the park has spent the last few years adding some truly incredible thrill rides.
SeaWorld Adventure Park sister park is Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, an easy 60 minute drive from Orlando. Animals and adrenaline are in abundance as thrill ride enthusiasts from all over the world loop the loop and defy gravity high over the African plains!

Universal Orlando Resort
Universal's family of theme parks, hotels, and entertainment complexes has developed into a truly first rate destination with two amazing theme parks, Universal Studios and Universal's Islands of Adventure. The great dining and entertainment complex CityWalk and several world class on-site hotels round out Universal Orlando ResortSM, making it a premier destination of its own.

Downtown

Orlando's main distractions comprise the Harry P Leu Gardens, an estate with over 2000 varieties of camellia and an 18th-century mansion; the Orlando Science Center, which has a gator hole and the physics-phriendly Tunnel of Discovery; and the Orlando Museum of Art, which showcases Mayan archeological finds. Given these heart-pounding highlights, most visitors use Orlando as a base from which to make excursions to nearby theme parks.

Universal Studios
This vast complex houses two theme parks (Universal Studios, for movie rides, and Islands of Adventure, for thrills), an entertainment/nightlife complex (CityWalk) and a variety of hotels. You can buy passes for admission to the parks or just visit the bars, restaurants and stores on the CityWalk.

Walt Disney World
This world-famous resort consists of four theme parks (Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom), three water parks, more than 20 hotels, eight golf courses and a myriad of attractions. In its first year, Disney World saw over 10 million visitors, and it remains one of the world's top tourist destinations, now attracting more than 20 million visitors a year. It's also the world's biggest amusement resort, covering an area twice the size of New York's Manhattan. It would have made Walt very, very happy.

Epcot Center
This Disney theme park is divided into two areas: Future World, with attractions based on modern advances and futuristic projections, and World Showcase, where various world cultures are on display.

Discovery Cove
Adjacent to Sea World, this water wildlife park offers visitors the chance to swim with dolphins, relax on sandy beaches or view beautiful coral.
Attraction type: Amusement/theme park; Wildlife park; Aquarium; Water park; Architectural building.

Orlando Museum of Art
Over the past 80 years, the Orlando Museum of Art has grown from a meeting spot for aspiring local artists into a major Orlando cultural center. The Orlando Museum of Art proudly showcases a vast permanent collection of American and African art. In addition to the permanent displays, the Museum hosts nationally and internationally known exhibits throughout the year, making each visit a unique experience. Current and past exhibitions have included displays of Ancient Inca jewelry and sculpture, South African Ndebele art and modern American paintings from a variety of well-known artists.

Blue Spring State Park
For hundreds of years the Blue Spring area was home to the Timucuan Indians, until settlers killed them off in the mid-1800s. Today, Blue Spring State Park is practicing karmic retribution by doing everything it can to protect a beleaguered resident of a different kind - the endangered manatee. This park is the best place in the state to see manatees in their natural habitat, especially between November and March, when the St John's River to the north gets cold enough to drive the manatees to Blue Spring's warmer waters. There are campsites and cabins within the park, but book ahead as things get crowded and you can't see a manatee through somebody else's tent.

Kennedy Space Center
Ever wonder what it takes to make it to space, what it feels like to be cramped in a real space capsule or how big the biggest rocket is? Have these questions and more answered in a hands-on experience that will leave you looking to the stars. Just a 45 minute ride from many of the Orlando attractions, Kennedy Space Center is home to the real adventure of space travel as well as an opportunity for visitors to witness first hand all that is involved with the program. From massive launch pads and Apollo/Saturn rockets to a 5-story video perspective of space, out of this world excitement is a sure-fire bet.
Center Highlights: Early Space Exploration, Debus Conference Facility, Center for Space, Space Walk of Honor, Exploration in the New Millennium, Information Center, Robot Scouts, Space Shop

Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge
NASA only uses 5% of its land area for making things go boom. It turned over its unused land to the US Fish and Wildlife Service in 1963, who in turn established the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, where migrating birds stop on their way to and from South America. Manatees, alligators and turtles also inhabit the refuge. The best time to visit is from October to May. Black Point Wildlife Drive, a 6-mile (10km) loop, is a good road for self-guided tours. A two-hour bus tour leaves from the Kennedy Space Center, taking visitors around the coast.

Ocala National Forest
The Ocala is a unique and fascinating forest that offers an accommodating climate for year round recreating. The mild winters are fine for family camping while a summer canoe trip down a palm-lined stream is a cool way to spend an August day. The temperatures for the dry months of November through February range from a daily average of 50 F to a high of 72 F. The summer season is much warmer and wetter. Short afternoon thundershowers often raise the humidity to about 90% while the temperatures range from 80 F to 95 F. The average rainfall is approximately 55 inches per year.

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