Yeah, I know… It’s Orlando, and no story about Orlando is complete without mentioning theme parks. The city has earned its reputation as the theme park capital of the world, with iconic destinations like Disney World, Universal Studios, and SeaWorld drawing millions of visitors each year. However, Orlando is so much more than just these famous attractions.

Beyond the theme parks, Orlando boasts a vibrant and diverse cultural scene. The city is home to numerous art galleries, theaters, and museums. The downtown area is a hub of creativity and entertainment, with a bustling nightlife, trendy restaurants, and live music venues that cater to a variety of tastes.

Nature enthusiasts will also find plenty to explore in Orlando. The city is surrounded by beautiful lakes, rivers, and nature reserves. Visitors can take a break from the bustling theme parks and indulge in outdoor activities like boating, fishing, hiking, and wildlife spotting.

While Orlando is renowned for its world-class theme parks, the city offers a rich tapestry of experiences beyond the attractions. Orlando truly has something to offer every visitor, ensuring an unforgettable and well-rounded experience in the heart of Florida.

Here are 12 cool things to do in Orlando without visiting a theme park:

1. Visit the Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center | I-4 Exit Guide
Orlando Science Center | I-4 Exit Guide

The Orlando Science Center is a hub of interactive learning and discovery. With exhibits covering a wide range of scientific disciplines, visitors can explore hands-on activities, catch awe-inspiring planetarium shows, and engage in immersive experiences. From fascinating exhibits on dinosaurs and space exploration to interactive experiments and live science demonstrations, this center offers an educational and entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.

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When Is It Open?

The Orlando Science Center is open Wednesday thru Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Sundayfrom 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Closed Monday and Tuesday)

Money
How Much Does it Cost?

Adult admission to the Orlando Science Center (ages 12+) is $24.00, Students and Seniors (with ID): $22.00, Youth (ages 2-11): $18.00, Children (Under 2), and Members: Free

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How Much Time Do I Need?

To fully appreciate all that the Orlando Science Center has to offer, plan on spending around 2-3 hours.

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How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4, take Exit 83A onto South Street. The Orlando Science Center is located at 777 East Princeton Street.

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Website

https://www.osc.org/

2. Experience the Orlando Museum of Art

Orlando Museum of Art | I-4 Exit Guide
Orlando Museum of Art | I-4 Exit Guide

The Orlando Museum of Art is a cultural gem, showcasing a diverse collection of American, African, and contemporary art. Visitors can appreciate works from renowned artists and explore rotating exhibitions that provide insights into various artistic styles and periods. With its thought-provoking displays, the museum offers a window into the world of visual arts and an opportunity to appreciate the creativity and talent of artists past and present.

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When Is It Open?

The Orlando Museum of Art is open Tuesday thru Friday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Saturday and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Closed Monday)

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Adults admission to the Orlando Museum of Science is $20.00, Seniors (60+): $12.00, Students (ID Required): $10.00, Children (6-17): $8.00, Active Military, Veterans, First Responders: Free (ID Required), Children (5 and under): Free

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The time you spend visiting the Orlando Museum of Science can vary on your level of interest. Generally, plan for 1-2 hours to explore the museum.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4, take Exit 85 for Princeton Street and head east. The Orlando Museum of Science is located at 2416 North Mills Avenue.

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Orlando Science Center Website

https://omart.org/

3. Take a Scenic Boat Tour

St. Johns Rivership Company | I-4 Exit Guide
St. Johns Rivership Company | I-4 Exit Guide

Embark on a boat tour and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Orlando’s waterways. Whether cruising the Winter Park Chain of Lakes or the scenic St. Johns River, these tours offer a peaceful and picturesque escape. As you glide along the water, you can witness stunning landscapes, spot wildlife like birds and alligators, and learn about the history and ecology of the area from knowledgeable guides.

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When Is It Open?

Hours vary by tour operator.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Prices vary depending on the tour operator and duration of the tour. Check with the tour operator for prices and tour details.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

Operators offer tours of various durations, Typically you can expect 1-2 hours for a short duration tour, and 2-4 hours for a longer tour. It’s best to check with the tour operator for specific times.

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How Do I Get There?

The starting points for boat tours vary depending on the specific tour operator and location. It’s best to check with the tour operator for directions.

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Orlando Boat Tour Websites

Popular boat tour operators in the area include Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour (https://www.scenicboattours.com/) and St. Johns River Cruises (https://www.stjohnsrivershipco.com/)

4. Explore Harry P. Leu Gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Harry P. Leu Gardens | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Escape to the lush beauty of Harry P. Leu Gardens, a stunning botanical oasis spanning 50 acres. Stroll through the meticulously maintained gardens, featuring a diverse array of plants, flowers, and landscapes. Discover themed gardens, such as the Rose Garden and the Tropical Stream Garden, and take in the tranquil ambiance of the Japanese Garden. The gardens also host various events and exhibitions throughout the year, including art installations and plant sales, providing additional opportunities to engage with nature and horticulture.

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When Is It Open?

Harry P. Leu Gardens is open Tuesday thru Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Closed Monday)

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Adult admission to Leu Gardens is $15.00, Active Military (ID Required): $10.00, Children (4-17): $10.00, Children 3 and under, Members: Free

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The time you spend visiting Harry P. Leu Gardens can vary on your level of interest. Generally, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours walking through the property.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4, take Exit 85 for Princeton Street and head east. Turn right onto N Forest Avenue. The Harry P. Leu Gardens are located at 1920 North Forest Avenue.

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Leu Gardens Website

https://www.leugardens.org/

5. Take in a Show at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Immerse yourself in the arts at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, a state-of-the-art venue that hosts a wide range of performances, including Broadway shows, concerts, ballets, and more. Step inside the beautiful theaters and experience world-class productions by renowned artists and performers. The center also offers educational programs and workshops, allowing visitors to engage with the performing arts through various activities and events. A visit to the Dr. Phillips Center promises an enchanting and memorable cultural experience.

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When Is It Open?

Hours of operation at the Dr. Phillips Center vary depending on performance schedules.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Ticket prices at Dr. Phillips Center vary depending on the production and seating selection.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The duration of a typical performance at the Dr. Phillips Center can range from 2 to 3 hours.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on Interstate 4, take Exit 83A for Amelia Street and head west. Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is located at 445 South Magnolia Avenue.

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Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Website

https://www.drphillipscenter.org/

6. Take a Scenic Walk Thru Mead Botanical Garden

Mead Botanical Garden | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Mead Botanical Garden | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Mead Botanical Garden provides a serene oasis in the heart of Orlando. This urban green space features beautifully landscaped gardens, tranquil trails, and a diverse array of plants and wildlife. Visitors can wander through lush gardens, discover butterfly gardens, and enjoy the peacefulness of nature. The garden also hosts educational programs and events throughout the year, providing opportunities to deepen your understanding of the natural world and appreciate the importance of conservation.

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When Is It Open?

Mead Botanical Garden is open daily from 8:00 am to dusk.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Admission to Mead Botanical Garden is Free (Donations are appreciated)

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The time you spend visiting Mead Botanical Garden can vary on your level of interest. Generally, expect to spend 1-2 hours or more exploring the garden.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on Interstate 4, take Exit 87 for Fairbanks Avenue and head east. Turn right onto South Denning Drive. Mead Botanical Garden is located at 1500 South Denning Drive.

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Mead Botanical Garden Website

http://www.meadgarden.org/

7. Go on an Orlando Food Tour

Orlando Food Tours | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide
Orlando Food Tours | Orlando, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Embark on a culinary adventure through Orlando’s vibrant food scene with a guided food tour. Led by knowledgeable guides, these tours take you on a gastronomic journey, sampling a variety of delicious dishes from local eateries and uncovering the city’s culinary gems. From international flavors to regional specialties, these tours not only satisfy your taste buds but also provide insights into the city’s history, culture, and diverse culinary traditions.

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When Is It Open?

Orlando food tour hours of operation Vary by tour operator and specific tour.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Food tour prices in Orlando vary depending on the tour operator and specific tour chosen.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The time you spend taking an food tour in Orlando can vary on your level of interest. Typically, you can expect to spend 2-3 hours for a food tour.

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How Do I Get There?

The starting points for food tours in Orlando can vary depending on the specific tour operator and tour route. It’s best to check with the tour operator for directions.

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Orlando Food Tour Websites

Different food tour operators offer various experiences in Orlando. Some popular options include: Wandering Palms Food Tours (https://wanderingpalmadventures.com/) and Original Orlando Food Tours (https://www.originalorlando.com/).

8. Discover the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art _I-4 Exit Guide
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art _I-4 Exit Guide

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is a treasure trove of exquisite works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Visitors can marvel at the museum’s comprehensive collection, which includes Tiffany’s renowned stained glass masterpieces, intricate jewelry, and decorative arts. The museum also showcases American art from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, providing a rich tapestry of artistic expression. A visit to this museum allows you to appreciate the beauty and craftsmanship of Tiffany’s creations and gain a deeper understanding of American art history.

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When Is It Open?

The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of America is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 9:30 am to 4:00 pm, and Sunday from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm (Closed on Mondays and major holidays)

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Adults admission to The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of America: $6.00, Seniors (60+): $5.00, Students with valid ID: $1.00, Children (Under 12): Free

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How Much Time Do I Need?

The time you spend visiting the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of America can vary on your level of interest. Typically, expect to spend around 1-2 hours.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4, take Exit 87 for Fairbanks Avenue and head east. Turn left onto North Park Avenue. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is located at 445 North Park Avenue.

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Charles Hosmer Morse Museum Website

https://www.morsemuseum.org/

9. Take a Helicopter Tour

Orlando Hel-Tours | I-4 Exit Guide
Orlando Hel-Tours | I-4 Exit Guide

Take to the skies and enjoy a breathtaking helicopter tour of Orlando’s skyline and iconic landmarks. These exhilarating tours offer panoramic views of the city’s architectural wonders, lush landscapes, and glittering lakes. As you soar above, you can capture stunning aerial photographs and create unforgettable memories. Whether it’s a romantic sunset flight or a thrilling tour during the day, the helicopter tours provide a unique perspective on Orlando’s beauty.

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When Is It Open?

Helicopter tour hours vary by tour operator and availability.

Money
How Much Does a Helicopter Tour Cost?

Prices for Helicopter tours vary depending on the tour operator and duration of the tour.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

Operators offer helicopter tours of various durations. Typically you can expect 10 minutes for a short duration tour, and 30 or more minutes for a longer tour. It’s best to check with the helicopter tour operator for specific times.

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How Do I Get There?

The starting points for helicopter tours vary depending on the specific tour operator and location. It’s best to check with the helicopter tour operator for directions.

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Orlando Helicopter Tour Websites

Popular helicopter tour operators in the area include MaxFlight Helicopter Services (https://maxflightheli.com/) and Orlando Heli-Tours (https://www.orlandohelitours.com/)

10. Go Zip Lining at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park | I-4 Exit Guide
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park | I-4 Exit Guide

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park: Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park offers an exhilarating outdoor experience for thrill-seekers. This aerial adventure park features a series of challenging obstacle courses set among the treetops. From swinging ropes and wobbly bridges to zip lines and Tarzan swings, visitors can test their agility, balance, and courage. The park offers different courses suitable for various skill levels, ensuring everyone can participate. It’s a fantastic opportunity to push personal limits, bond with friends or family, and enjoy an adrenaline-pumping adventure surrounded by the natural beauty of the forest.

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When Is It Open?

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park hours vary by season and day of the week. It is recommended to check the park’s website for the most up-to-date information.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Prices at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park vary depending on the age group and course chosen. Typically, prices range from $35 to $59 per person.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

Typically, you should allow 2-3 hours at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park, depending on the chosen course and personal pace.

Route Map
How Do I Get to There?

Traveling east or west on I-4: Take Exit 90A for FL-414 E/Maitland Blvd. Continue on FL-414 E/W Maitland Blvd and take the exit toward FL-434/Wekiva Springs Road. Merge onto Eden Park Road and turn right onto East Welch Road. Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is located at 7625 Sinclair Road.

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Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park Website

https://orlandotreetrek.com/

11. Visit the Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center | I-4 Exit Guide
Orange County Regional History Center | I-4 Exit Guide

The Orange County Regional History Center serves as a gateway to the region’s past. The center offers a captivating journey through time, showcasing the history and heritage of Orange County and the surrounding areas. Its exhibits delve into various aspects of the region’s development, including Native American cultures, early settlers, industrialization, and modern-day advancements. With interactive displays, artifacts, photographs, and engaging narratives, the History Center provides visitors with an immersive and educational experience. Through its diverse programming and community outreach, it plays a vital role in preserving and sharing the rich history of Orange County for generations to come.

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When Is It Open?

The Orange County Regional History Center is open Tuesday thru Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and Sunday from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm (Closed Monday)

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Adult admission to the Orange County Regional History Center is $8.00, Seniors (55+): $7.00, Students, and Military: $7.00 (ID Required), Children (5-12): $6.00, Children 4 and under, Members: Free.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

Typically, you should allow 1-2 hours to take in all exhibits at the Orange County Regional History Center.

Route Map
How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4: Take Exit 82B toward South Street/Downtown, Merge onto South Street, Continue on South Street for approximately 0.6 miles. Turn right onto Orange Avenue Continue on Orange Avenue for about 0.5 miles. The Orange County Regional History Center will be on your left, located at 65 East Central Boulevard.

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Orange County Regional History Center Website

https://www.thehistorycenter.org/

12. Relax at Wekiwa Springs State Park

Wekiva Springs State Park | I-4 Exit Guide
Wekiva Springs State Park – Apopka, Florida | I-4 Exit Guide

Wekiwa Springs State Park is a tranquil nature escape located just outside of Orlando. With crystal-clear springs, lush vegetation, and abundant wildlife, this park offers a range of outdoor activities. Visitors can swim in the refreshing spring waters, rent canoes or kayaks to explore the Wekiva River, or embark on hiking trails that wind through the park’s diverse ecosystems. The park also has picnic areas and camping facilities, allowing visitors to extend their stay and immerse themselves in the serenity of nature. It’s an ideal destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

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When Is It Open?

Wekiwa Springs State Park is open from 8:00 am to sundown, 365 days a year.

Money
How Much Does It Cost?

Admission to Wekiwa Springs State Park is $6.00 per vehicle (up to 8 people), $4.00 Single Occupancy vehicle, $2.00 for pedestrians, cyclists, and extra passengers. Camping, see website.

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How Much Time Do I Need?

Typically you should plan to spend half a day to a full day exploring Wekiwa Springs State Park, depending on the activities you choose to engage in.

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How Do I Get There?

Traveling east or west on I-4, take Exit 94 for FL-434 toward Longwood/Winter Springs. Head west on FL-434, then turn left onto Wekiwa Springs Road. Continue for about 4 miles until you reach ekiwa Springs State Park entrance on your right.

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Wekiwa Springs State Park Website

https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/wekiwa-springs-state-park


before you go…

These activities provide a diverse range of experiences, allowing you to explore the cultural, natural, and adventurous aspects of Orlando while avoiding the theme park crowds.

Please note that the specific hours of operation, admission prices, and other details may vary and it’s recommended to check the respective websites or contact the attractions directly for the most accurate and up-to-date information before planning your visit.


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One of the most complete road travel resources of its kind on the Internet! The Interstate 4 Exit Information Guide features exit service listings for the entire length of I-4 from Tampa to Daytona! Food, gas, lodging, rest areas, attractions and more…