Orlando Florida Holidays

By: Terry Hely

Copyright (c) 2008 Terry Hely

Known the world over as the home of Walt Disney World, Orlando Florida is undoubtedly the entertainment park capital of the world. Most people are familiar with the Disney name, but very few realize that the total Disney experience is made up of several different parks, being the Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Disney-MGM Studios, Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach Water Park, River Country Water Park and Pleasure Island. Booking online for the Disney parks involves over 11 pages of ticket combinations!

Universal Studios Florida is actually 2 adjacent entertainment parks. Universal Studios is the number one movie studio theme park in the world with real movie sets and attractions that put you right at the center of your favorite movie scenes.

Universal Studios Islands of Adventure consists of five islands, each with its own character and offering something for everyone.

Making up the "big 3" parks is SeaWorld Orlando, a huge marine park renowned for its dolphins, killer whales and its reputation for fun into education. With over 200 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds and a 17acre lagoon, there is absolutely no location like it anywhere else in the world.

Visitors get to explore the mysteries of the oceans, marvel at the beauty of the Arctic, come face to face with polar bears, walruses, seals, beluga whales and get to feed dolphins.

Orlando is also home to a host of other world-class entertainment parks such as Gatorland, Wet 'n Wild, Water Mania Florida and the Central Florida Zoological Park.

** Other Central Florida Visitor Attractions

The entertainment parks are naturally the #1 attractions that entice millions of visitors each year to Orlando and the adjacent towns of Kissimmee and Lake Buena Vista which are the locations for many of the park attractions. However, central Florida offers plenty to see and do apart from the theme parks.

The Harry P. Leu Gardens is located just a few minutes from downtown Orlando and consists of 50 acres of botanical magic. The gardens house one of the largest camellia collections in North America and the Leu House Museum is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Orlando Museum of Art is considered to be one of the finest art museums in the southern USA, with outstanding collections of American art, ancient Americas and African art plus excellent educational programs.

Like everywhere else in Florida, numerous private and public golf courses dot the landscape of Orlando and the surrounding areas of central Florida. Many of the top resort courses are restricted to just resort guests.

Cracker Jack Stadium, completed in 2002, is the spring training home of the Atlanta Braves baseball club. The spring training matches at the stadium provides an opportunity to see the professional players up close before the regular season gets underway.

Orlando has its own basketball franchise in the NBA and the Orlando Magic play approximately 40 of their regular-season games in the 17,500-seat TD Waterhouse Center which is their home venue.

** Central Florida Natural Attractions

The Blue Springs State Park, located near Cassadaga, is about 40 miles (65km) north of Orlando. The park is an historic area that was home to the Timucuan Indians for hundreds of years and is now a leader in the fight to protect the endangered Florida manatee.

The huge Ocala National Forest Reserve is renowned for lakes and natural springs, and provides excellent facilities for hiking, canoeing, fishing and swimming. The park is about 60 miles (96km) northwest of Orlando and adjacent the town of Ocala,.

The reserve consists of three major spring areas. The beautiful Juniper Springs has crystal clear waters and is an excellent canoeing location. Walking trails through cypress forests ate a feature of both Salt Springs and Alexander Springs.

A popular local attraction is the Lake Eaton Sinkhole, which is 80ft (24m) deep and 450ft (135m) in diameter. It has a staircase leading to the bottom. Nearby Lake Eaton provides a popular spot for swimming.

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