With an average of 233 sunny days per year, Orlando offers warm weather adventures practically all year-round. From golfing to swimming to—you guessed it—visiting with gators, we've found a wide variety of activities that you won't have to travel far to enjoy. So, if you're looking to escape the winter cold or just enjoy a fun 'statecation' in sunny Florida, this trip is perfect for you!
It wouldn't be a proper trip to Florida without seeing some alligators! Gatorland is home to hundreds of alligators and crocodiles, and allows visitors to not only see them in their natural habitat but get the chance to feed them as well. Or, if you're feeling daring, you can try Gatorland's "Trainer for a Day" program and spend the whole day interacting with various animals behind the scenes. A truly unique and memorable experience for the whole family, the park offers discounts for in-state Florida residents.
If you didn't get your fill of wild animals at Gatorland, then Discovery Cove is sure to help. This aquatic theme park has beautiful white sand beaches, tropical lagoons, and a variety of oceanic animals, including dolphins and otters. Tickets can cost anywhere from $300-400, and include access to the many different pools and beaches, wetsuits and snorkel gear, unlimited food and drinks, and the chance to swim with dolphins.
Florida has some of the most beautiful golf courses in the country. And while there are many to choose from in Orlando, we recommend Shingle Creek Golf Club. With a brilliant blue creek running right through the middle (hence the name), Shingle Creek is one of the most naturally beautiful courses. Not only can you play a full round here, but you can also enjoy 70,000-square-feet of teeing grounds and the largest practice putting green in Orlando.
For an adults night out, look no further than ICEBAR. Not your typical bar, ICEBAR is kept at a chilly 27 degrees and features over 50 tons of ice. The largest permanent ice bar in the world, this icy place has been featured on numerous travel lists and tv shows. While ICEBAR does operate as a full-service bar with wine, beer, and cocktails, kids 8 years old and above are permitted to enter between 5pm and 9pm. And yes, they provide the coats, blankets, and gloves.
Perfectly situated near the airport and all the major attractions, the Crowne Plaza Orlando is the perfect hotel to round out your trip. As part of the IHG® Hotels & Resorts network, guests who use the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card to pay for their stay earn extra points. Additionally, the Crowne Plaza Orlando offers special packages and discounts for some of the surrounding theme parks, including SeaWorld, Walt Disney World Resort, and LEGOLAND.
Covering four floors and housing multiple different exhibits, you can spend an entire day enjoying the Orlando Science Center. With an emphasis on experience-based learning, this massive museum is full of things to see, touch, hear, and explore. Great for kids of all ages, there are even maps, guides, and tours geared towards specific ages and school levels. Check online and see if the museum's Science Night Live is happening during your visit—a 21 and older event that allows visitors to enjoy both the museum and a cocktail after hours.
If you're looking for some nature, but want to stay within the confines of the city, the Mead Botanical Garden will certainly fit your criteria. Located just north of downtown Orlando, the gardens offer a plethora of plants, walking paths, and boardwalks, many of which even stay open in the rain. This is also a great spot for birders and geocachers (and dogs!). If you go, be sure to check out the butterfly garden and the discovery barn.
A short drive from both the Science Center and the Mead Botanical Garden, the Ravenous Pig takes a traditional English pub setting and adds a dash of American flavor. A James Beard Award nominee, the menu at the Ravenous Pig changes with the seasons. It's one of the few places in Orlando you can find shrimp and grits alongside Korean-style fried chicken and pulled pork. There’s also a decent variety of microbrews and a delicious dessert that comes with chocolate espresso sauce.
From the amusement parks to the museums to the hotels, this trip offers a ton to do in a small radius. And we, along with the IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card, want to ensure that your Orlando trip is full of not just places, but rewarding experiences too.
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