Orlando may be the theme park capital of the world, but there is much more to do in the heart of Florida than just wander around a sprawling amusement park. There's art, food, nightlife, and culture. After all that, if you still have the time and energy to visit an amusement park, then I'll tip you off to the strangest offerings in Orlando that you've probably never heard of. So come with me, let's drop those bags at a hotel -- I recommend an IHG Hotel near Universal -- and then take a whirlwind weekend tour around town!

Get Your Museum On

With over two dozen museums, there's something for everyone here in Orlando. Fan of sports cars? Visit the Exotic Car Gallery. Fascinated by the history of the Titanic? Visit Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. Artwork more your thing? The Orlando Museum of Art is one of the top-rated in the city. Traveling with kids? Orlando Science Center is the place to go. Want to please the kids and the kid inside of you at the same time? Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Orlando is your answer.

Orlando Museum of Art in Florida
Orlando Museum of Art

Alternative: Don't like any of those? Then you'll absolutely love the Tupperware Confidence Center! Not only is it one of the most unusual museums in the entire United States, but it also wins my award for the most creative museum name ever. 100% refund if you don't leave here with more confidence in your Tupperware skills.

Frozen Fun With Alcohol

Ever visited an ice bar? They can be found in over 30 cities around the world and are absolutely amazing. After donning a jacket and gloves, guests are led into a frozen bar where everything is hand-carved from ice: walls, chairs, tables, glasses, decorations, and even the bar itself!

Shot glasses made of handcarved ice at the Orlando Ice Bar in Florida

Of course, if you're visiting Florida to escape the winter back home, this might not sound like an appealing idea. However, Icebar Orlando is the largest ice bar in the world and features over 70 tons of carved ice, making it the top dog in an already exclusive club. And for that reason alone, Icebar Orlando deserves a visit on a humid evening.

Alternative: Orlando Brewing has been creating "darn good beer" for over a decade now and offers free daily tours every day of the week (except Sunday). The bar features two dozen taps, so no matter what your poison, you can go straight to the source for the freshest brew.

What to Eat in Orlando

Given its reputation as an international family vacation destination, cuisines from around the world can be found in downtown Orlando and the theme park district of the southwest. There is no one dish or cuisine that is distinctly Orlando. However, there are some restaurants that are distinctly Orlandian.

The Cowfish, the first and only burger and sushi bar in the world, is one of the offbeat restaurants keepings Orlando unique

The Cowfish is proudly the first and only burger and sushi bar in the world. Step on in and try one of the signature creations: the Burgushi. Café Tu Tu Tango fuses global recipes with a Florida twist, using only local ingredients and serving meals in an art gallery showcasing local artists.

Alternative: Can't decide? Spend a few hours on an Orlando Food Tour to eat your way around town and have a couple drinks while doing it.

Visit a Quirky Amusement Park

Screw Walt Disney World. Go somewhere unique this trip, like Gatorland–home to all your alligator amusement needs–or better yet, the Holyland Experience–where the Bible comes to life. Hint: it's even more entertaining and over the top than the good book itself. ;)

Welcome to Gatorland, the only alligator themed amusement park in the world and one of the unique and offbeat things to do in Orlandom, Florida

Alternative: If neither of those sounds right for you, check out these other one-of-a-kind Orlando amusement parks.

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  flickr // inazakira cindy sackerman519 hyku

Published in United States

When people think of Orlando they think of Walt Disney World first and of all the other theme parks dotting the horizon second. This is the "Theme Park Capital of the World," home to so many that there is a Top 10 list just of the best Orlando theme parks! (I don't even think there were ten in my home state.)

Most of the big name establishments are owned by Disney or Universal Studios, and thanks to the deep pockets of their marketing departments the masses have been led away. Meanwhile Orlando's best offbeat theme parks, the overlooked ones paying homage to religious history and non-cartoon characters, are ready, eagerly awaiting an opportunity to entertain you and me. So come with me, let's get off the beaten path in Orlando and see what we see!

The Holy Land Experience

The Holy Land Experience Theme Park, Orlando, Florida, a strange, religious offbeat attraction

Equally entertaining to both religious folks and those a little less theologically certain — perhaps even more so for the latter — the Holy Land Experience is exactly what it sounds like: a real-life Christian historical museum. Its 15 acres are filled with biblical reenactments, religious shows and presentations, live music, specialty shops, and nonsectarian research library.

Gatorland

Gatorland Theme Park, Orlando, Florida, an amazing offbeat attraction

Gatorland might not be the most obscure or unknown attraction in Orlando; however, it is definitely the most fun! This gigantic 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve is also the self-proclaimed "Alligator Capital of the World" — but seriously, who out there is going to challenge that title? Open every day of the year, Gatorland has dozens of shows, sights, and experiences such as Gator Wrastlin' and Gator Leapin'. It is the perfect daytime activity for the entire family.

Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Orlando

Ripley's Believe It Or Not Odditorium in Orlando, Florida, an amazing offbeat attraction

The Ripley's name has long been synonymous with oddities and offbeat items. After all, they don't they call their museums "odditoriums" for nothing! I've visited several Ripley's in cities around the US, and they are nothing if not peculiar, even a tad disturbing at times. In addition to the usual tribal oddities, torture devices, shrunken heads, and other downright baffling objects, Ripley's Believe It Or Not! Orlando is known for its fertility statues, which are purported to have helped over 2,500 women become pregnant. Oh, and the spinning vortex tunnel is pretty neat.

WonderWorks!

WonderWorks! in Orlando, Florida, an amazing offbeat -- and educational -- attraction

If such a thing as an educational amusement park could ever be said to exist, that would be WonderWorks. With over 100 interactive exhibits, visitors can get their knowledge on first, and then go upstairs to the basement (yes, I said that correctly — have you seen this building yet?) for all the exciting hands-on games and amusements, such as laser tag.

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament in Orlando, Florida, an amazing offbeat restaurant

No other dinner show can compare to this one. Guests are transported back to medieval times to enjoy a feast inside a castle as the knights joust. Sound familiar? Yes, Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament is the same restaurant from the old Jim Carrey movie, The Cable Guy. Two decades later, they are still going strong and the show is still as entertaining as ever! It's a definite "must" for any quirky travelers to Orlando.

Worried all these amusement parks and activities will break the bank? Browse cheap Orlando hotels via Hipmunk and save as much green as possible for having fun!

More HoliDaze Offbeat Travel Guides

What other offbeat Orlando attractions would you recommend?

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  flickr   //   deapeajay   hyku   nostri-imago   markhardie   Trover   //   Algirdas Sidiskis

Published in United States

I have been an adrenaline junkie as far back as I can remember... having already gone skydiving, bungee jumping and hang gliding to name a few... I am still seeking my next rush!! My little sister has been asking me to come on an adventure for a while now, eager to one day skydive with me. I am however, not prepared to jump out of a plane with my sister just yet. So I brought her, as test, to the World's Tallest Slingshot in Orlando, Florida to see if she was really ready to roll with the "Big Dogs"!

Looking at this slingshot, it really doesn't seem too bad. However, being thrown into the air well... let's just say that's another story. I am pretty sure my eyes rolled into the back of my head, but overall it was an enjoyable experience for just 25 bucks!!!

After viewing the video, I must say my little sister is definitely on her way to being able to handle some of my adventures. Who knows.. Maybe even skydive! I chose to refrain from commenting on my friend sitting next to me and my sister... I think he embarrassed himself enough in the video... don't you think? After all, we definitely couldn't see Jamaica from the slingshot. :)

So, if you desire a quick thrill without paying a whole bunch of money... Check out the Slingshot. There are tons of other videos of celebrities doing it, and some people even fainting (check on youtube)... So don't take it lightly.

Nonetheless, I found that my sister may have what it takes to be a part of my adventures and I checked something off my bucket list!! 2 birds with 1 stone! #boom #winning

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Published in United States

Are you in for an out of this world getaway along with your family? Well, pack up your travel bags, buckle your shoes, and brace yourselves with the wonderful surprises in the 5 featured cities awaiting you! And before leaving the 5 most fantastic cities in the world, make sure to get S.A.F.E.: Sceneries, Accommodations and Lodging, Foods and Beverages, and Entertainment.

Orlando City, Florida: The Magic within “The City Beautiful”

Just when you thought that Orlando is just about Disney, now think again. There is more to this city than be amused with this theme park. Within Orlando, it is stuffed with activities to cherish!

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S: Harry P. Leu Gardens and Lake Eola Park

Everyone is entitled to take a wide-eye glimpse to the idyllic landscapes just in Harry P. Leu Gardens. It is filled with nature trails, oak trees, flowers, lakes and so on. If you want an additional fun, take the Lake Eola Park at Downtown Orlando. Escape from the busy streets with this nature park. It also has a lake, Chinese pagoda, Confederate States of America monuments, and many more!

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A: Discount Vacation Rentals Online

When it comes to Orlando home rentals, DVRO is the companion of the tourists. It offers satisfaction guaranteed service from the staff plus cheap rates! The company also provides condos and townhouses just near to Orlando, such as Encantada Resort and Vista Cay.

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F: Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant and Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar

Let Orlando feed you with some sumptuous dining options! First on the list is Ceviche Tapas Bar & Restaurant. They serve Northern Spanish cuisines, such as a hundred versions of tapas, paellas, and cazuellas. On the other hand, the inviting atmosphere and recipes at Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar will smother you with delight! It is very famous for serving the Coconut Shrimp and Pina Colada Cake.

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E: Wallaby Ranch and Kennedy Space Center

Dreaming to fly high or navigate the galaxy? Do both of these adventure only at Orlando’s Wallaby Ranch and Kennedy Space Center. Wallaby Ranch enables you to do hand gliding or aerotowing. The company ensures safety and a frenzied ride you will never forget. On the other hand, going to Kennedy Space Center is like an experience of being an astronaut. The space theme park offers you a chance to realistically traverse the heavenly bodies!

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Lhasa City: An Escapade in the Roof of the World

Isn’t it interesting to know that this Tibetan city has the highest altitude in the world? This city indeed is worth visiting as you unveil their culture, beauty and sceneries peculiar to other territories.

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S: The Potala Palace

This protected site of Lhasa was once a mythical palace depicting the rich culture of the Tibetans. It showcases a great array of precious sculptures, murals, scripture, Buddha figures, and religious jewelry. Making a plus to these is its Buddhist abode that was declared as a cultural heritage site.

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A: Casa Lhasa in Playa del Carmen

This is a wonderful villa located very near to the La Quinta Avenida, a center of shopping and dining areas. It also offers various activities found in theme parks, golf courses, and many more! You will also be amazed with the home’s authentic design and complete amenities.

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F: Ganglamedo Café Bar

An exquisite food with an equally exquisite ambiance—this is the perfect equation of Ganglamedo Café Bar. Dine in this place and you will know what I’m saying about a diet of mutton, beef and tea. While sipping a cup of café or churning Tibetan, Nepali, or Chinese cuisines, you can also appreciate the Tibetan arts and crafts.

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E: The Xinshiji Langma Hall

Let Tibetans show their artistic skills as they dance and sing along at Xinshiji Langma Hall. Seeing the Tibetans’ bravado in performance, you would be enticed and prefer to stay here longer!

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Havana City: A Journey to the Caribbean

Have an escapade with the Spanish-speaking capital of Cuba. This leading cultural center of the country is a tourist magnet, with various attractions to watch for.

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S: Old Havana

Established in 1519, this significant Cuban attraction is one of the most extraordinary places in Earth. Everything inside Old Havana is a tourist site itself: the cars, music, food, houses, people, history, and the like!

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A: Cuban Villa With Pool

This Caribbean-style abode is composed of two floors, with 3 big bedrooms, terrace, balconies, and other great amenities! Not only that, it also has a maid service, free internet, and enhanced security.

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F: El Aljibe Farm

Just a few rides from downtown Havana and you will taste the delectable and mouthwatering delicacies of Cuba. Their specialty is the El Aljibe Chicken. You will also feel delighted with the home style and traditional designs of the restaurant.

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E: The Havana Tropicana Show

Ecstatic energy and colorful hues will reverberate in your Havana trip as you witness their one-of-a-kind Havana Tropicana Show. It is a combination of graceful dances, glamorous and sensual costumes, amazing performances, and upbeat Cuban music.

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Muscat: The Treasured City of Oman

Oman’s capital city stands high among the cities with interesting tourist places to enjoy. The place became a famous place to visit for their several elegant mosques, museums, and many others. Take a tour around this one of the 5 most fantastic cities in the world.

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S: Al Qaboos Grand Mosque

Once upon a time in Muscat, Sultan Qaboos edified a Grand Mosque which has now become a tourist site for its enticing architectural design. You can find the world’s second largest hand-woven carpet and one bunch of wonderful chandeliers.

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A: Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa

This hotel resort has been receiving positive acclaims both by the tourists and critics alike. It comprises three luxury hotels: Al Bandar (The Town), Al Waha (The Oasis), and Al Husn (The Castle), both offering you the best treats, accommodations and real time desert experience.

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F: Al Tanoor
A guaranteed fine dining, plus an Omani atmosphere resonating around the restaurant, this place is perfect for you! Inside Al Tanoor is a peculiar dining place with Arabian tents, pottery, and vivacious hues suiting the sumptuous menu. It offers tempting recipes from Arabia, Persia, India and Turkey.

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F:Dune Driving 
The sandy desert of Muscat is your circuit toward a fun and adventurous ride! This road trip has a trek which will achieve your need for speed. Gear up now and traverse the difficult desert through a durable 4WD automobile.

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Las Vegas: The Entertainment Capital of the World

No city is more lively than Las Vegas, a placing oozing with anything fun, such as shopping areas, dining options, and many more! Aside from the countless beautiful and engaging establishments like casinos and hotels, this city has various attractions you must never miss.

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S: Luxor Hotel

Among the most looked for is the ever extravagant model of the ancient Egypt in the land of competitive Caucasians named as the Luxor Hotel. It does not only speak of accommodation but also of fun and satisfaction to the eyes. It boasts its Vegas version and glass pyramid called King Tuts Tomb. A beam of light that can be seen all throughout Las Vegas is also ejected at night by the modern scenery.

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A: Las Vegas Gem

This rental home is a great deal that the whole family can comfortably live temporarily. It has a pet-friendly service (pet fee applies), 4 beds, 3 bathrooms, and a resort style pool.

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F: Alize

Fill you stomachs with mouth-watering French cuisines only at Palms Casino Resort’s Alize. For sure, your dining at the restaurant is a “bon appetit.” Be prepared to wolf down their masterpieces of fishes, meats, poultry, and their astounding wine!

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E: Le Reve

Derived from the French word “The Dream,” this spectacle will surely tickle the fickle of your imagination as they will bring you a fantastic journey through a subconscious world. The theater show portray each dreams of ours. The design of the arena is a circular exquisite stage with tanks of water around it. The performers will execute provocative choreographies, aerial acrobatics, and mind blowing stunts.

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Had you been with these 5 most fantastic cities in the world? Post a comment below and share your experiences.

Published in Miscellany Articles

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