Looking for something unique to do in Orlando, Florida?
Have you spent endless days walking the miles and miles of theme parks and just can’t stand in line for the next ride one moment longer?
Well, this post should help you out, as we look into some of the smaller venues that take you off the well beaten path and try to offer something a bit more unique.
First a word on Orlando’s theme parks
So, how does one find unique things to do in a small city that gets 60 million visitors a year? From ghost tours to paddle boats to the largest rose garden in Florida, there is bound to be something that interests you.
Orlando Florida is known as the theme park capital of the world for a reason. Between Disney World and its many parks, Universal Studios and its many parks, plus SeaWorld and LegoLand, you can easily think that that’s all Orlando offers.
While we’re big fans of the big parks (looking at you Harry Potter World, we do love to find the quieter places to unwind and experience other things as well.
That said, Orlando is the most visited city in the US and there will always be people around no matter where you go. However, in comparison to the larger theme parks, the places on this list will generally be quieter and give you alternate things to do in Orlando.
While we’re on the subject, many places on this list aren’t in Orlando itself, but within quick and easy driving distance from your hotel.
Unique Things to do in Orlando
Without further ado, here are 15 unique things to do in Orlando Florida. Hope you enjoy it.
Strain your neck at the Giraffe Ranch
Ever been licked by a giraffe, nipped at by a zebra or ridden on a camel? I’ve been lucky to do all three, and lived to tell the tale.
At Orlando’s Giraffe Ranch, you can explore wildlife via a driven safari tour, a camel safari tour or on a Segway safari tour.
What do they all have in common? They all take you on a ride to see a huge variety of African, Asian, Australian and American animals from rhinos to hippos to lemurs and ostriches. Every tour includes hand feeding some giraffes so watch out for that two foot long blue tongue, it will surprise you I guarantee it.
Go on a ghost hunt at American Ghost Adventures
Never been on a ghost hunt?
Have you ever been fascinated by the supernatural? Want to explore the darker (literally) side of downtown Orlando?
The American Ghost Adventures tour takes you on a ghost tour that includes some history, a few ghost stories and a brief investigation inside some of the most haunted buildings in downtown Orlando. When the sign says you will be provided ghost hunting equipment or you can bring your own, you know you’re in for a unique experience.
Stroll through the Bok Tower Gardens
What do acres of trees and the Singing Tower have in common?
Both can be found at Bok Tower Gardens just outside Orlando in Lake Wales. The Singing Tower is a 205 foot tall, circular pink and grey marble building with a carillon on the top floor with 60 giant bells connected to a clavier (piano like device) that fills the surrounding garden with rich reverberating sound when being played. With over 250 acres of trees, reflective pools, winding paths and a thriving bird sanctuary, there’s plenty to explore on a nice day.
Defy gravity at Spook Hill
What does gravity, illusion and roads have in common?
Spook Hill in Lake Wales (close to Bok Tower Gardens) is known as a gravity hill. While uncommon enough to warrant inspection, especially if you are already down the road at Bok Tower Gardens, this anti-gravity phenomenon puts you at the bottom of a seemingly small hill. When you put your car in neutral your car will magically start driving up the hill. Perception is a wondrous thing.
Go indoor skydiving at iFly
Never been skydiving? A little nervous jumping from a plane?
Well, you can go indoor skydiving at iFly Orlando. With state-of-the-art vertical wind tunnels, you can experience the thrill of skydiving only a few feet off the ground. It’s a great experience when you’re with a group and it’s almost guaranteed you’ll walk away with a smile whether you’re five or 105.
Visit the indie-inspired Ivanhoe Village
Love the indie scene? Want to see where hipsters dwell, art lovers peruse and wine connoisseurs congregate?
Ivanhoe Village comprises of an eclectic group of retro retailers, art museums, craft breweries, boutique wineries and savory restaurants. You can hunt for records at Rock & Roll Heaven or check out vintage clothing at Deja Vu Vintage. You can have a beer at Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company or a glass of wine at the Imperial Wine Bar. You can even stroll or bike the many lakes and pathways that call this little area of Orlando home.
Get mystified at the Orlando Science Center
Love science? Want to know the secrets of the universe and to unlock age old questions in a fun setting?
Then the Orlando Science Center is your ticket to happiness. With four floors of interactive exhibit halls, an observatory, theaters, labs and workshops, there’s no better place to learn as you play than a science center. With ever changing exhibits, 3d films on giant screens, a hands on dinosaur exhibit and huge playrooms for the little ones, it also makes a great indoor rainy day activity and is located in Ivanhoe Village.
Walk around Lake Eola
What do swans, ducks, turtles and an amphitheater have in common?
They all can be found around Lake Eola in Orlando. With a mile-long walking trail skirting the pretty little lake, you can easily walk it in an hour. Between the artisan markets, the local wildlife and the nearby restaurants, it’s easy to spend a few hours here.
If you want to go the tourist route, take an electric swan boat out for a ride at night, but if you want to chill with the locals, sit down on one of the many benches and watch the real swans swimming and walking around.
Take a paddle boat out on Lake Fairview
Have a fear of land and speed?
Then taking out a paddle boat on Lake Fairview is a sure way to put a smile on your face. There are actually a large variety of boats you can rent to spend the afternoon on Lake Fairview in Orlando. You can rent everything from kayaks and canoes to pontoon boats and fishing boats.
Strike a pose at Madame Tussauds Orlando
Have you ever wanted to stand next to your favorite superstar? Wondered just how tall a particular famous person was or just how round their belly really was?
Well, you can likely see their doppelgangers at Madame Tussauds in Orlando.
Gimmicky? Yes. Quirky? Definitely. Unique? Well, unless you happen to be a world class wax carver or painter with uncanny skills at making true to life replicas, the answer is definitely yes. While there are wax museums found across the world, Madame Tussauds Orlando is worth checking out if your celebrity curiosity knows no bounds.
Sink your blues away aboard Titanic Orlando
Ever wondered what life aboard the Titanic was like?
Whether you love history or just loved the movie, Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition is a great step backwards to the beginning of the last century with exhibits highlighting the wonder of that fateful ship.
This two hour romp gives you a replica boarding pass as you become a passenger aboard the historical ship. Featuring more than 300 artifacts as well as full room recreations, if you loved the Titanic, this should be placed on your list of things to do in Orlando.
Tackle the unbelievable at Wonderworks
Ever walked into an upside down building?
While I tried to step away from amusement parks, this place leaves a lasting impression. Complete with over 100 hands on exhibits, Wonderworks is more entertainment than education, but it doesn’t mean you won’t learn something along the way.
From walking through a 100 mph hurricane to experiencing a 5.1 earthquake there’s a few other activities that are worth checking out including playing a giant piano, sleeping on a bed of nails and experimenting with a giant Tesla Coil.
Go for a hike in the Tibet-Butler Preserve
What does the worlds largest amusement parks and a preserve have in common?
Nothing, except they’re both found in Orlando. If you need to get away from the chaos known as theme parks, there’s not much better place in Orlando than the Tibet-Butler Preserve.
With raised boardwalks, numerous trails, marshes, trees, plenty of birds, turtles and small animals, the preserve is a great free way to get away from the crowds and back into nature. With a small visitors center complete with clean bathrooms, it’s a great way to spend a quiet morning after a day battling the crowds.
Walk among the roses at Harry P. Leu Gardens
Ever been in a rose garden so large you’re not sure which direction you came from?
The largest rose garden in Florida can be found at the Harry P. Leu Gardens. This sprawling 50 acre estate, only minutes from downtown Orlando, comprises over 40 different plant collections and different dedicated gardens from a butterfly garden and herb garden, all the way to a bamboo garden. If you love camellias, this is one place you don’t want to miss as they also have one of the largest camellia collections in North America.
Glide through the bogs at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
What do huge fans and small flat bottomed metal boats have in common?
They can both be found together at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. Whether you take one of the personal tours or go on the larger 16 person boat, going for a swamp ride on an airboat is a unique adventure.
As you cruise along you’ll see everything from huge alligators to wading cranes to piles of turtles basking in the sunlight. You might be able to convince yourself you’re going there to experience nature but the truth is, those airboats are a ton of fun to ride on.
Have any other unique places in Orlando that are worth sharing? We’d love to the hear about them!