Annual Manual 2013
Parks, gardens, rides and adventures in the Orlando area
Published: April 12, 2013
Black Hammock Adventures
2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road, Oviedo
Airboat tours of gator-choked Lake Jesup start at $25.95. There’s a fish restaurant on premises that serves mean fried seafood, and there’s a few caged gators for tourists to gawk at.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
3755 N.W. Highway 17-92, Sanford
Home to more than 400 animals, not counting the Insect Zoo. They also have a couple really cool zip lines (check the sports and recreation section for details) and botanical gardens in one package. Admission: $14.95.
6000 Discovery Cove Way
If SeaWorld doesn’t get you close enough, try heading across the road where you can actually swim with fish and dolphins. Prices vary, but start at $169. Reservations are required.
4755 N. Kenansville Road, St. Cloud
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. Safaris start at $32 (open-air coach) to $85 (zipline).
14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Gatorland is a roadside attraction turned eco-preserve. The flesh-eating monsters roam (almost) free, along with many more scary things. Watch them swim, eat, sleep, wrestle and jump. Learn about them. Embrace them. Well, not literally. You know what we mean. Admission: $24.99.
Jungle Adventures Nature Park
26205 State Road 50, Christmas
Kind of like Gatorland, but smaller and more intimate, this roadside attraction takes in injured and abandoned wildlife for rehab. Enter through the mouth of the “largest gator in Florida,” a 200-footer that used to double as the home of the park’s original owner. Inside, you’ll see rarities such as a Florida panther and gray wolves. Admission: $21.95.
Kissimmee Swamp Tours
4500 Joe Overstreet Road, Kenansville
Day and evening times are flexible. Sixty- to 90-minute tours on Lake Kissimmee start at $47.
Old Fashioned Airboat Rides
Christmas (directions provided after reservation is made)
Look for gators and otters and spoonbills on this 90-minute ride through the marshes of the St. John’s River in a six-person airboat. Reservations only. Admission: $50
2271 E. Irlo Bronson Highway, Kissimmee
Times are flexible. Lake Toho tours start at $49.95 for one hour.