When thinking about a theme park in Orlando, the first one to come to mind is very likely Disney World. And with good reason; it’s a great place and all, but the fact is that it isn’t the only notable one in the Orlando area. There are quite a few theme parks that have just as much to offer. While you probably won’t run into Mickey Mouse, you might encounter a giant killer whale, or a nest of crocodiles. Consider looking into these options when planning your vacation or student tour.
The Universal Orlando Resort is a popular destination that includes two theme parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios is a theme park for movie fans as is includes roller coasters, simulations and 3-D shows, all based on popular movies such as Twister, Jaws, and Men in Black. The Islands of Adventure amusement park is another exciting option. This park is based around movie character, or comic book character themes, and includes five islands each with their own rides, attractions and dining experiences. Guests can take several thrill rides on Marvel Super-hero Island, play it cool at Toon Lagoon, a comic strip theme water park, and hatch a Velociraptor egg at the Jurassic Park Island. Smaller children will want to play at Seuss Landing, a collection of carousels, water rides, and play zones all based on the popular Dr. Seuss books.
For a more unique theme park experience, consider taking a trip to Gatorland. This 110 acre theme park and wildlife preserve calls itself the “Alligator Capitol of the World,” and with good reason; Gatorland is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles, as well as birds, snakes and various other creatures. Guests stroll through an unspoiled swamp on a raised platform for a look at a gators natural habitat, see how big crocs and gators can actually at Gator Lake, and even take a train ride through the park and marshes. The park also contains a lorikeet display where visitors will enjoy feeding these colorful birds with small cups of sweet nectar, a water park, and a petting zoo (parents shouldn’t worry…the kids don’t actually get to pet the alligators!). The park also has also several shows which guests will enjoy. One show features an alligator feeding, and there is even a gator wrestling show.
For more water related fun, spend some time at Sea World; guests will be amazed as they watch acrobats interact with dolphins and killer whales in one of the parks many shows. After this, wander through an underwater tunnel for a close-up view of several shark species, or visit and exhibit that features penguins, puffins, and even rescued sea turtles. Visitors can pet stingrays, view new-born bottlenose dolphins, and check out polar bears, walruses and beluga whales. SeaWorld is an especially great place for a student tour, as the park offers overnights, guided tours and various other educational activities. Roller coasters and various other rides will give your group their share of thrills, and a slightly larger fee admission to SeaWorld will include a trip to Aquatica; a water park that has water slides, wave pools, and river rapids.
Here are just a few options for other Orlando theme parks. Whatever you choose, there is certainly a lot to see at any of these parks, and they will be fun for your entire group.