17 cool attractions worth your tourist dollar

Theme parks? Yeah, we've got 'em. But Orlando is also home to a host of other attractions that have an appeal all their own – from escape rooms to indoor go-kart racing to a park dedicated to gators, here are some of the diversions worth checking out when you're visiting our tourist corridor. 17 MORE cool attractions worth your tourist dollar


5800 Water Play Way, 888-800-5447, aquaticabyseaworld.com

SeaWorld's water park. Enjoy a variety of slides alongside animal attractions. Hours vary seasonally; admission prices vary with deals for Florida residents.

Artegon Marketplace

5250 International Drive, 407-351-7718, artegonorlando.com

This repurposed mall is now an open-air market of sorts that houses booths where artists, artisans, craftspeople and more hawk their wares.

Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens

3755 N.W. Highway 17-92, Sanford, 407-323-4450, centralfloridazoo.org

The Orlando area's only zoo is home to more than 400 animals, as well as the Zoom Air Adventure Park.

CSI: The Experience

7220 International Drive, 407-226-7220, orlando.csiexhibit.com

Hands-on science experience gives visitors a chance to pretend they're investigators trying to crack a crime.

Forever Florida

4755 N. Kenansville Road, St. Cloud, 407-957-9794, foreverflorida.com

Eco-safaris of a 4,700-acre Florida nature preserve by horseback, open-air coach or zipline offer views of a traditional Cracker-style ranch, gators, black bears and other wildlife. Overnight horseback tours available.

Fun Spot America

5700 Fun Spot Way, 407-363-3867. fun-spot.com

Go-karts, bumper boats, carousels, slides, an arcade and an awesome wooden rollercoaster make this park worth checking out. Pay by the ride or buy an armband for unlimited fun.


14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail , 407-855-5496, gatorland.com

Gatorland is a roadside attraction turned eco-preserve. The flesh-eating beasts roam (almost) free, along with many more scary things.

I-Drive 360 Entertainment Complex

8445 International Drive, 407-601-7907, i-drive360.com

They say that on a clear day, you'll be able to see the Kennedy Space Center from the top of the Orlando Eye, a 400-foot-tall observation wheel that's the centerpiece of the newest of I-Drive's entertainment destinations. Catch the breathtaking view, then check out one of the other attractions: Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, the Sea Life Aquarium or the Skeletons museum. The complex is scheduled to open on May 4, 2015.

I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing

5228 Vanguard St., 844-437-4831, idrivenascar.com

This indoor go-kart race facility isn't just for the little ones – big kids will also enjoy racing the environmentally friendly electric carts around the half-mile track at up to 45 miles per hour.

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

State Road 405 east of Titusville, 321-449-4444 , kennedyspacecenter.com

Space junkies, this complex is worth the drive to Titusville: Take guided tours of launch areas, see historic rockets, ride the Shuttle Launch Experience and see the Astronaut Hall of Fame.

Magical Midway Thrill Park

7001 International Drive, 407-370-5353, magicalmidway.com

Elevated wooden go-kart tracks, a ginormous slingshot ride, bumper cars and boats, a carousel and an arcade, all in one plaza right on I-Drive.

Orlando Science Center

777 E. Princeton St., 407-514-2000, osc.org

How can you not love a museum that's home to SimMan, a life-sized simulated sick person whose vital signs you can follow until he flatlines? The science center also has Florida's largest refractor telescope and all sorts of hands-on learning experiences that'll appeal to kids and adults alike.

Ripley's Believe It or Not!

8201 International Drive , 407-354-0501, orlando.ripleys.com

You've probably seen Ripley's Believe It or Not "odditoriums" at pretty much every tourist trap you've ever visited. This one is home to a full-sized car made out of matchsticks, a portrait of Beyoncé made out of candy and an actual human shrunken head, all housed inside a building that looks like it's falling into a sinkhole.

Titanic the Experience

7324 International Drive, 407-248-1166, titanictheexperience.com

The 20,000-square-foot interactive museum offers a guided tour of authentic artifacts by costumed actors portraying the famous passengers and crew of the "unsinkable" ship.

Wet 'n Wild

6200 International Drive, 407-351-1800, wetnwild.com

Experience thrill rides with vertical drops, multi-person tubing rides, toboggan slides and more. If you like your water rides on the milder side, float along the lazy river or splash in the wave pool.


6464 International Drive, 407-212-3030, whirlydome.com

Play a game that's a combination of hockey, jai alai, basketball and bumper cars at this unusual I-Drive attraction. There's also an arcade, lazer tag, lazer frenzy, a restaurant and bowling, which makes it the perfect one-stop attraction for days when it's too rainy to take in the parks.


9067 International Drive, 407-351-8800, wonderworksonline.com

Housed in an upside-down building, this attraction has high-tech effects that simulate earthquakes, hurricanes and a hang-gliding experience; plus indoor zip lines, a 4-D theater ride and more. n