A list of some of the more popular tourist attractions to visit when traveling to Orlando Florida.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
There are so many different sections to this attraction. We've mentioned just a few to tempt you! You can enjoy seasonal displays of plants and flowers as well as year round varieties.
Stroll through the Urban Garden area which shows Florida's gardeners what they can do with small spaces. The Ideas Garden, which covers 3 acres, is land given over to educational displays of different plants and flowers suitable for the Florida area. The Enabling Garden shows how people with disabilities can enjoy gardening too.
Also on the grounds you'll find a garden house with a botanical library, garden gift shop and art gallery. In the center of Leu Gardens is Harry Leu's home, which after major restoration has been placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Holy Land Experience
This is a theme park with a difference. The Holy Land Experience opened in February 2001. It's the first of its kind in the world - the museum travels back to the time Christ was on earth and depicts life as it was then through biblical exhibits, presentations, drama and music.
At this attraction you'll also see replicas of the Dead Sea Qumran Caves (area where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found), Calvary's Garden Tomb (where Christ's body was placed after he died - a good place for a spot of reflection and prayer!), and the world's biggest indoor model of Jerusalem circa A.D. 66.
Don't miss the Scriptorium, home to the Van Kampen Collection, containing thousands of manuscripts, scrolls and religious artefact's as well as material from the personal collection of 19th century biblical scholar, Eberhard Nestle.
Mary Queen of the Universe Shrine
This is a popular choice with millions of Catholics visiting the area. This relatively new church with its beautiful stained glass windows, marble statue of Mary Queen of the Universe, bronze sculpture of Mother and child and outdoor chapel will have you in awe as to what can be achieved in a short space of time.
With so much to see and of course prayers to be said - try to fit in a visit to the church's Pilgrimage Center - as it holds a very fitting tribute to the late Pope John Paul II. The church also houses a museum which has a fine collection of art, sculptures and relics.
A series of concerts for special occasions are held during the year.
This attraction is definitely "blow-the-budget", but saying that it's probably something you'll not do again. To ease the pain of the admission price, what you are getting for your money is, use of wet suit, towels, lockers, snorkel gear, breakfast, lunch as well as snacks and drinks throughout the day.
Add to this your once in a life time experience of having a play with bottle nose dolphins at Dolphin Lagoon (session duration 30 min with brief training session beforehand).
Next it's off to Coral Reef for a bit of snorkeling. Here you'll meet many species of exotic fish as you swim through vibrant reefs, grottoes and the remains of a ship. Keep your eyes peeled for a glimpse of shark and barracuda. No need to worry though, they are safely behind protective glass!
This is just a taster of what to expect at Discovery Cove.
Little India and Little Saigon
Little Saigon is in the East Colonial Drive area and here you will find approximately 100 stores. These include Asian groceries, gift shops and some herbal remedy shops. Items stocked originate from China, Vietnam and Hong Kong. For authentic Vietnamese and Asian cookery you will find there's an abundance of these restaurants here as well.
While you're in Little India check out the South Orange Blossom Trail area and also Lancaster Road. In these areas you'll find Indian shops, restaurants and you're sure to catch the latest Bollywood movie at the local Indian cinema.
Walt Disney World Resort
Disney World is located in Lake Buena Vista in Florida, just 35 miles south of Orlando. A bit of forward planning is needed for sure as there are 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, and for adults there's Downtown Disney and Disney's Boardwalk to get through.
As if all this isn't enough, the resort also offers golf, mini golf, tennis, boating, health clubs, spas and backstage tours (that is of course time permitting and if you have the energy for the extras after trudging around one of the theme parks for the day).
Tip: Do not miss a Disney parade - they're nothing short of spectacular. Check with the Disney staff for exact time and parade route.
See online instant video's of Disneyland and Disneyworld rides and attractions.
Sea World is located about 10 minutes to the south of downtown Orlando at the intersection of Interstate 4 and FL 528.
Shark encounter - as you progress through a 60 ft long tunnel you can almost hear that scary "thump thump" music from "Jaws"! This is probably the closest you'll get to these pretty fearsome creatures.
Take a look at the wild arctic exhibit with its walruses, beluga whales and polar bears. Keep an eye out for Sea World's most famous resident, Shamu, the killer whale.
Something else which may seem a little out of place here is those magnificent Clydesdales horses. Remember, the ones from the Budweiser beer add!.
Make things so much easier on yourself and opt for a tour of the attraction. This will take you behind the scenes - you can take part in a dolphin training session and you might even get an opportunity to feed the animals.
Add to all of this some cracking rides and shows and you've got one hell of an adventure for all the family.
Universal Orlando Resort
Here you have 2 theme parks to choose from, namely Universal Studios Florida and Universal Islands of Adventure.
Calling all adrenalin junkies, here's your chance for that ultimate buzz, on Dueling Dragons (a twin roller coaster. Another popular choice is the Hulk roller-coaster.
Adrenalin not pumping yet? Then how about trying "Revenge of the Mummy" or "Doctor Doom's Fearfall". With names like that I don't think these rides would be for the faint hearted!
There's something for everyone at these parks. Kids will have a ball at Woody Woodpeckers kidzone or Camp Jurassic. There's interactive fun for all the family with "Men in Black - Alien Attack" where you can have a little competition between you to see who has the best aim in zapping those aliens.
Orlando Museum of Modern Art
Orlando Museum of Modern Art was founded in 1924. Permanent collections on view at the moment include the African collection which contains a fine selection of bead-work, wooden figures and masks.
The American Art Collection which features paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures from the 18th century and onwards is well worth checking out. Keep an eye out for works by Thomas Moran, George Inness and John Singer Sargent.
Art of the Ancient Americas has pieces dating back to 2000 B.C. Enjoy artefact's from more than 30 different cultural groups made from silver, jade, stone, cloth and gold.
The museum hosts a number of temporary exhibitions during the year, so please check the website for further information.
Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center had its humble beginnings in 1960 as an anthropology museum. In the '70's its remit was changed and it became a science and technology center until 1984 when it finally became known as the Orlando Science Center.
The museum has a number of permanent features, for example a scanning electron microscope. Dr. Dare's lab lets you experience what its like to be a scientist (don't worry; there's a trained instructor on hand so you can't go too wrong mixing those chemicals).
Orlando Science Center is definitely searching for those scientists of the future. They have a specially designated area for kids, "Kid's Town". The aim here is to get the kids interested in science through play.
You can wish upon a star and observe far flung galaxies and planets through the 10 inch lens of the refractor telescope at the Crosby Observatory.
A number of temporary exhibits are held during the year.
Reference: Mairead Foley writes for www.Novacarhire.com where you can book car hire at airports, ferry ports, rail stations, cities and towns all over the world.