Orlando, FL: More than just Disney World

Photo by karl.simpson on Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by karl.simpson on Flickr Creative Commons

While Orlando is known mainly for a famous mouse and dreams coming true, there’s more to it than that. Yes, the Disney parks are magical and everyone should go at least once in their lifetime, but most people already know about that. Unfortunately, it’s not all sunshine and roses in regards to Disney as a worker was just killed during a Lamborghini driving ride, but these are extremely rare occasions. Orlando is home to a wider range of attractions such as sports, wildlife, beaches and more.

As far as the sporting world goes, Orlando’s teams can vary from a rising American conference power in the University of Central Florida, an expansion MLS team, and for die-hard football fans there is a powerhouse arena football team that shares the Amway Center with the NBA’s Orlando Magic. Whatever the season, you can guarantee that Orlando will provide the entertainment.

Bright House Networks Stadium. Home of the UCF Knights

Bright House Networks Stadium. Home of the UCF Knights

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Amway Center. Home of the Predators (AFL) and Magic (NBA)

For a big metropolitan city, it comes as somewhat of a surprise to people that the city and surrounding areas are a hotbed for some exotic creatures. Take an airboat ride through the swamps to find alligators, bottle-nosed dolphins, manatees or a sea turtle or two. If you want to stay on the comfort of dry land, black bears, coyotes, armadillos and bobcats are what you could encounter. However, if you decide you’re feeling too lazy to search for the animals, the Central Florida Zoo has you covered.

Photo by: Maurice Raymond on Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by: Maurice Raymond on Flickr Creative Commons

Since this is Florida, there’s always a beach within a short driving distance away. The closest to the city is Cocoa Beach, only an hour and five minutes away. Cocoa Beach is a popular place to go among Floridians as on lucky occasions, the beach dwellers get to witness a space launch from nearby Cape Canaveral. Daytona Beach is well-known for the famous Daytona International Speedway that resides there which hosts NASCAR’s Daytona 500. Lastly, Melbourne Beach is geared towards a more family-friendly outing. On calm, clear days, one can look out into the water and spot the coral reefs that sank Spanish ships almost 300 years ago.

Cocoa Beach. Photo by: Garth Beatty from Flickr Creative Commons

Cocoa Beach. Photo by: Garth Beatty from Flickr Creative Commons

So next time someone tells you that all Orlando has to offer are  a bunch of theme parks, send them to this post so they can see the error of their words.

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