Explore Orlando's lesser-known (and often less crowded or expensive) attractions 

Be a tourist in your own town

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click to enlarge Replica of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase
  • Replica of the Titanic’s Grand Staircase

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

It's been more than 106 years since White Star's legendary ocean liner met an iceberg in the North Atlantic, and two decades since James Cameron's film version of the incident crowned him "king of the world." That should be enough temporal distance to quiet any calls of "too soon," allowing you to enjoy reliving the R.M.S. Titanic's tragedy for edutainment purposes without enduring any residual guilt. Premier Exhibitions' 20,000-square-foot I-Drive experience integrates detailed reproductions of iconic locations aboard the doomed vessel – such as the Grand Staircase and First Class Cabin – with displays of authentic artifacts recovered from the wreck, including a three-ton section of the steel hull. Daytime self-guided tours of the Ship of Dreams cost $22 ($10 cheaper than the sister attraction in Vegas) and themed dinner events on Friday and Saturday nights ($69) include a four-course meal with professional actors playing Capt. Smith and Molly Brown. Whichever way you sail, you're guaranteed at least 70 percent less Celine Dion than in Dion than in the cinema.

click to enlarge Feeding a lemur at Safari Wilderness
  • Feeding a lemur at Safari Wilderness

Safari Wilderness

So, you're eager to go on an expedition to see exotic animals and Animal Kingdom's Kilimanjaro Safari isn't authentic enough for you, but a flight to Africa is out of the budget. Plot a course for Safari Wilderness in Lakeland, where herds of wild game roam free across 260 undeveloped acres a mere six miles away from I-4. Call ahead to book a safari truck for a $90, two-and-a-half-hour guided tour of the property, complete with the opportunity to feed waterbuck, Watusi cattle and water buffalo from the open-sided vehicles. (The truck is a bit bumpy, but far less bruising than the optional camel-back rides.) Or show up for a $39 Young Explorers Safari, a 45-minute introductory tour held on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons from May through August; similar Critter Christmas walk-up tours are offered over the holidays. Whichever experience you pick, don't miss the park's most adorable attraction: a colony of adorable guinea pigs that guests can hand feed.

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May 12, 2021

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