Florida Theme Parks
Outside of the major parks such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld, Florida has a great selection of smaller, less well known parks that also make a major contribution to the Florida vacation experience.
(Located on Hwy 441 at the Orlando-Kissimmee line in Sth Orlando)
This park is the "Alligator Capital of the World" and a great way for a family to spend a half day getting up-close and personal with alligators, crocs, birds, bears, parrots, turtles, iguanas and much more. The popular Gatorland Express train carries visitors throughout the park.
The Gator Jumparoo has been a feature of the park since the park opened in 1949. In this one-of-a-kind show, huge alligators leap four to five feet out of the water to retrieve food. Visitors can venture into the land of the Jungle Crocs where four exotic and rare species of crocodiles lurk in the waters.
Another Gatorland attraction is an alligator wrestling show where 6 to 8 feet long (2.0 to 2.5 meters) alligators are tackled and captured by hand while at the same time the audience is shown survival techniques.
At the Upclose Animal Encounters Show visitors get to meet fascinating Florida native wildlife as well as creatures from around the world, including some of the most dangerous snakes alive.
Visitors can stroll through 10 acres of alligator breeding marshes and enjoy the one-of-a-kind reptilian shows.
Wet 'n Wild Florida
(Located on International Drive, Orlando)
The world's premier water park features a whole day of fun and excitement on thrill rides and aquatic attractions that offer something for all ages. The Thrill Rides attractions range from 6 stories of intertwined looping tubes, 76 feet (48 meters) near vertical drops, 6 story speed slides plus other adrenaline pumping rides involving twisting high speed flumes, water cannons and high speed tube rides.
Wet 'n Wild specializes in multi-person attractions so that family and friends can have the fun of shared experiences. Two person rafts blasting down dark tubes, multi-person toboggans hurtling down banked curves and speedy straightaways, family tubs bouncing down 6 stories of dips and splashes.... and lots more.
The little ones are not overlooked. Wet 'n Wild's Kids' Park features miniature versions of the park's most popular adult attractions. Every detail of the area is carefully planned to make kids feel at home in their very own miniature water park. Add a slippery air-filled balloon, spray fountains, water guns and climbing ropes and kids will have a ball.
Not forgetting the Surf Lagoon Wave Pool, volley ball beach and the mile-long Lazy River that slowly floats visitors on a relaxing journey past the palms and waterfalls that surround this attraction.
Water Mania Florida
(Located on Irlo Bronson Highway (U.S. 192) Kissimmee)
Visitors to Water Mania enjoy over 36 acres of wild raft rides, thrilling slides, twisting flumes, adventurous pools and a three acre wooded picnic area.Adults are catered for with an assortment of thrill rides ranging from riding the continuous perfect wave at Wipe Out, twin speed slides screaming down and over double dips and a splash landing on The Double Berzerker, free-fall speed slides on The Screamer, twisting and turning 400 ft. down the Anaconda... and whole lot more.
The children can enjoy a paradise designed just for kids, including slides, fountains, water guns, and an immense pirate ship. Children of all ages flock to the life sized "Rain Train" locomotive with Water sprays, wheels and slides. Guests looking for a more relaxed activity can float swiftly along an 850 foot tropical river which winds around several of the park's main rides. Colorful foam alligators and snakes will swim along to entertain the children.
(Located at Highway 17-92, Sanford)
For a change of pace from the theme parks, enjoy an entertaining and educational experience for the family with toy train rides for the kids. Enjoy the natural Florida surroundings of stately oaks, towering pines and palms. The Central Florida Zoological Park is a resource center for wildlife and conservation education, providing a living classroom where students can explore wild opportunities in learning.
One of the zoo's most critical functions is to provide a refuge for animal species that are threatened in the wild. Stroll along winding pathways of this small 116 acre park and enjoy encounters with hundreds of mammals, reptiles and birds from around the world.
The park is home to several of the big cat families such cheetahs and leopards and offers Behind the Scenes Encounters with the cheetah (Saturday only) and Asian elephants (Sunday only). The zoo also houses primates and colorful birds such as macaws and kookaburras. The fascinating world of reptiles is on display in the herpetarium.
The butterfly gardens are always popular and visitors attracted to the unusual will enjoy the carnivorous plant gardens.
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