While Orlando, Florida is internationally known for its theme parks, there are actually countless opportunities for fun in this tourist Mecca. Teens, in particular, will find a host of things to do depending on taste, budget and creativity in this Central Florida playground. Consider one of many fun entertainment categories as you plan an Orlando vacation.
1. Theme Parks
No trip to Orlando would be complete without a trip to one or more of its theme parks. Walt Disney World properties include Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Disney's Hollywood Studios. Disney also operates two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. SeaWorld Orlando has many fun teen activities including the Shark Encounter show and several exciting rides including the terrifying Kraken roller coaster. Universal Studios operates a theme park that includes a large Harry Potter section boasting rides, activities and shopping themed in the style of the famous Hogwart's resident. LegoLand may appeal to younger teens with its building block-themed theme and water parks.
2. Fun in the Outdoors
Orlando, being centrally-located, is easily driving distance from the ocean to the east and the Gulf of Mexico to the west. Some appreciate the clear, smoother beaches on the Gulf while teen surfing enthusiasts may prefer the Atlantic Ocean experience with its higher waves. Consider Discovery Cove for an opportunity to swim with dolphins in a guided 30-minute experience or the 2,600-acre Blue Spring State Park to hike and swim or to view the wild manatees. If your teen is an outdoors enthusiasts, but your weather conditions are not cooperating, visit I Fly Orlando's indoor skydiving experience to enjoy the thrill of a free fall airplane jump in the indoor comfort of its facility.
3. Sporting Activities
If your teen is a sports nut, Orlando has a variety of destinations to fit the bill. Orlando is home to the Orlando Magic, a championship NBA basketball team. Orlando Paintball boasts the largest indoor/outdoor paintball facility in Florida. Similarly, Battleground Orlando is Florida’s largest indoor/outdoor advanced laser tag facility and is open until midnight or later for after-hours teen fun. Airheads Trampoline Arena offers enormous trampolines inside of several rooms with padded walls for outrageous jumping and dodge ball experiences. Airheads offers teen nights with activities and music geared to the teen crowd. Disney also boasts the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with 220 acres of sporting events and activities, some of which may appeal to your sports-minded teen.
4. Animal Lovers
Consider Gatorland if you have an animal-loving teen. The helpful staff at this small theme park will give your teen the opportunity to touch and handle real alligators. It also offers the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line for the adventurous teen and many other activities suited to children of all ages. The Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens has more than 400 animal exhibits not including the ever-popular Massey Services Insect Zoo.
5. Orlando on a Budget
If you are on a tight budget but still want to have fun with your teen, Orlando can help. Orlando has several enjoyable museums, many of which boast free admission. The Cornell Fine Arts Museum features works by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse among others. The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida offers an educational look at this tragic event in history. Lake Eola Park is a 43-acre recreational area near downtown Orlando and features many free concerts, some of which will be appealing to your teen. FleaWorld and FunWorld are a few miles north of Orlando, in Sanford. They are home to the largest indoor flea market in the U.S. and include animal exhibits and other types of entertainment, most of which are free of charge.