Orlando: The City Beautiful. O-town is famous for many things including beaches, shopping and theme parks. It’s true those top-ticket items can be rough on the pocketbook. But saying that, it’s equally true that your Orlando experience would be incomplete without them.
You don’t have to break the bank every day you spend in Orlando, though. Between visiting the big attractions, spend some time at these less expensive, but still essential, Orlandonian options. Remember, you can save some serious money before you even touch down on US soil, by booking your flight with Cheapflights.co.uk and taking advantage of our great rates on flights, hotels and car hire.Plan your Orlando trip now
1. Stroll the Harry P. Leu Gardens
It’s not sunning by the water or riding thrilling roller coasters, but in its own way, the gardens and butterfly pens of the Harry P. Leu Gardens are an equally quintessential Orlando experience. They surround an 1880’s mansion museum and offer a more secluded way to spend some time. Experts recommend a morning visit so you beat the heat. Admission is $10 for adults, $3 for students, and babies and toddlers go for free.
2. Hit the lanes at King’s Bowl Orlando
Sure you can bowl anywhere, but King’s Bowl is comfortable and has great food by bowling alley standards. Since it’s air-conditioned and Orlando is in Florida, you’d do well to schedule this for your lunch rest or a mid-afternoon break and get out of the heat for a couple of hours. Games before 6pm run at $6 per person.
3. Mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure
To say you played mini golf at Pirate’s Cove is like saying you went running at the Boston Marathon. Pirate’s Cove has up to 36 holes of Disney-level intricate courses in a Caribbean pirate theme. You’ll putt among pirates, slice through rigging and navigate scurvy water hazards. There are two locations, with admission running under $13 for 18 holes. Play all 36 for more money, but still less than $25.
4. Take a boat tour through Winter Park
The lakes and canals of Winter Park have a history far longer than Disney’s footprint on the Orlando area. A private, narrated tour winds through these narrow, scenic waterways while your guide points out native wildlife and the famed mansions of this posh district. A good way to rest your legs and add a little perspective to your trip. Adult tickets run $12, with kids at half price.
5. Laugh it up SAK Comedy Lab
The SAK club serves up improv sketches and musical comedy complete with suggestions and participation from the audience. General admission from $5 to $15 depending on the event and drinks are reasonably priced. Check ahead of time, since shows happen only on select evenings.
6. Learn at the Orlando Science Center
Most cities have some kind of science centre: a collection of cool, hands-on science exhibits with an IMAX and planetarium attached. Orlando has to compete with the big theme parks for attention, and it shows. This is one of the better science centres in the US, and an air-conditioned oasis for harried parents. Adult tickets are $19, with kids getting in for $13. If you include an IMAX or planetarium show, your price of admission might rise above the $25 mark, but it’s worth it.
7. Get weird at Orlando Odditorium
Orlando Odditorium is housed in an off-center mansion and includes 16 galleries of interactive exhibits, showcasing some of the strangest events, artefacts, artworks and people in the history of the world. It’s hard to find a true freak-show these days, but the Odditorium delivers. Adults get in for $16.99, and kids tickets run $10.99 each.
8. Race the K1 Speed indoor go kart racing
For a certain kind of traveller, it’s hard to beat rolling a 70,000 square foot racetrack in a go-kart capable of making 50 mph. It’s indoors too, so you get a break from the Florida heat and humidity. Adults get to race 14 laps for $19.99, with junior courses of 12 laps available for the same price. It gets busy in the afternoon, so book in the morning to minimise your wait time.
9. Get artsy at the Morse Museum
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art is an indoor museum showcasing various pieces of high-end American commercial art. Its centrepiece is the world’s largest collection of Tiffany pieces, including a bewildering array of his famous glass lamps. During peak season, admission is $6 for adults and free for children. Admission in the evening on Fridays is free from November to April.
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