Orlando, Kissimmee, and Central Florida Entertainment, Events and Activities
Orlando, Kissimmee, and Central Florida  Entertainment, Events and Activities Guide


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CENTRAL FLORIDA ENTERTAINMENT:
ARTS
The Orlando Metropolitan Area is also home to a substantial theatre population. Several professional and semi-professional houses and many community theaters dot the area including Orlando-UCF Shakespeare Festival, Orlando Repertory Theatre (Central Florida's only Professional Theatre for Young Audiences), Orlando Theatre Project, Starlight Dinner Theatre, Mad Cow Theatre, Theatre Downtown, The Osceola Center for the Arts, Winter Park Playhouse, Theatre Winter Haven, IceHouse Theatre, and Seaside Music Theatre. Orlando also hosts the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival every summer. Disney also has a cast theater company known as S.T.A.G.E. as well as Encore, a cast choir and orchestra whose annual charity concerts have raised thousands of dollars. In addition, the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center brings national tours through town on a regular basis.

Orlando's Culture Coast consists of Ormond Beach, Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach and includes many cultural attractions including the Museum of Arts and Sciences, Atlantic Center for the Arts, Southeast Museum of Photography, Ormond Beach Art Museum, plus numerous galleries and shops located in the quaint downtown districts of Daytona Beach, Ormond Beach and New Smyrna Beach. This area really is like Orlando's cultural district on the beach.

The Orlando area is home to a wide variety of tourist attractions, including the Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld Orlando. The Walt Disney World resort is the area's largest attraction with its many facets such as the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Typhoon Lagoon, Blizzard Beach, and Downtown Disney. SeaWorld Orlando is a large adventure park that features numerous zoological displays and marine animals alongside an amusement park with roller coasters and water park. Universal Orlando, like Walt Disney World, is a multi-faceted resort comprising Universal Studios, CityWalk, and the Islands of Adventure theme park. Orlando has also become one of the fastest growing retail markets in the USA with at least five major upscale department stores opening last year alone and more than 50,000,000square feet (4,650,000m) of shopping space in Central Florida.

ATTRACTIONS:
The Orlando Museum of Art is Orlando's largest modern art museum. Located in Loch Haven Park, the museum has ongoing exhibitions of American portraits and landscapes, American impressionist works, and art of the ancient Americas. In 2003, the museum hosted the world-renowned full exhibition of the famous glass sculptor, Dale Chihuly.

Orlando Science Center, is a 207,000 square foot (19,000 m) hands-on learning center with hundreds of interactive exhibits for visitors of all ages. Images surround visitors on the giant screen of the Dr. Phillips CineDome. Other attractions include the Body Zone, teaching health and fitness, as well as an observatory. The center has the largest refracting telescope in Florida. In 2007 the Orlando Science Center hosted the nationally-renowned exhibit "Our Body, The Universe Within" featuring real human corpses.

The Morse Museum of American Art, located in nearby Winter Park, houses the world's "most comprehensive" collection of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany, among its permanent exhibits. It includes Tiffany art glass, jewelry, pottery, and the chapel interior designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. There is also an exhibit on the Tiffany home, and American paintings from the 19th century. The museum was founded in 1942.

The Orange County Regional History Center Features exhibits and artifacts from the earliest days of the region to the modern day. Includes information on everything from the time of the Seminole Indians to the founding of the city to the Civil Rights era to the Disney period to today. Mennello Museum of American Art features a variety of American Art exhibits, mostly from the 20th century. The museum is located in Loch Haven Park.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum, situated on the campus of Rollins College, located in nearby Winter Park, features significant loans, recent acquisitions, and items from the Cornell's renowned permanent collection. Admission is free. Harry P. Leu Gardens, which is an inner city oasis covering 50 acres (20,000 m) and features colorful annuals, palms, an orchid house, a floral clock and a butterfly garden.

Arboretum of the University of Central Florida is an arboretum and botanical garden located in the heart of the University of Central Florida main campus in East Orlando.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida is a non-profit museum and education center dedictated to the Holocaust during World War II.

OTHER ATTRACTIONS
Blue Spring State Park, which is the winter home of large numbers of Florida manatees that come upstream from the St. Johns River to bask in the warm 72 F (22 C) waters of the springs. Canoeing, swimming and fishing are popular activities at Blue Springs.

The Sharp Aquos Theatre located in Universal Citywalk brings the music, humor, and excitement of the Blue Man Group to Orlando in this new 1,015 seat venue.

Bok Tower is located in Lake Wales, FL.

Central Florida Zoological Park, located in Sanford, FL on Lake Monroe. This 100 acre (400,000 m) zoo is home to a butterfly garden, herpetarium, and numerous tropical animals. The zoo originally started as a collection in the Sanford Fire Department, but grew into a regional zoo in 1975. It is currently in the planning stages of expansion and renaming the facility to "Zoo Orlando at Sanford".

Church Street Station, a multi-level shopping mall and entertainment center that once featured an abundance of specialty shops, restaurants, nightclubs, and bars. Purchased in the late 1990s by TransContinental Talent owner Lou Pearlman, it is now virtually defunct, as the area suffered in post-9/11 tourist-industry slump. The area is being redeveloped with residential condominiums. Now closed due to bankruptcy and is due to be bought over.

Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba, in Downtown Disney West Side, features its renowned blend of acrobatics and special effects with more than 70 artists from around the globe performing in a custom-designed, 1,671-seat theater. Cypress Gardens Adventure Park, an amusement park opened in 1936. This park features beautiful botanical gardens, 40 rides, 5 roller coasters and a water park. But it is most famous for it lovely southern belles and world-renowned Ski Shows. Located in Winter Haven, FL.

Discovery Cove, a resort that is part of the SeaWorld Adventure Park complex. Some attraction features are tropical fish in a coral reef, snorkeling with stingrays, and interacting with birds in an aviary, as well as swimming and playing with dolphins during a half-hour session.

Gatorland houses thousands of alligators and crocodiles. A few of Gatorland's residents have made wrangling appearances in movies, television shows and commercial spots. The 54 year old park combines a petting zoo, bird sanctuary, mini-water park, eco-tour and outdoor entertainment, including daily alligator wrestling.

Hard Rock Caf is the Orlando location of the famed restaurant chain with the typical HRC music memorabilia. There is also Hard Rock Live, a 3,000-capacity live music venue, and the Hard Rock Hotel, a resort hotel with a California-style restaurant called "The Kitchen". It is one of eight worldwide, and one of three in Florida. (Miami and Tampa are the other two.)

The Holy Land Experience is a biblical themepark and museum complex. International Trolley and Train Museum features 14 model railroad trains with sound and lighting traveling through an indoor garden with 12 foot (4 m) high mountains, waterfalls, and more than 30 trestles and tunnels. Also on display are toy trains from the 1920s to the present. Visitors can catch a ride in a California Victorian-style half open/half closed trolley or the 5/8 replica of an 1880 locomotive (a Mason Bogey) with its passenger cars.

Kennedy Space Center is 45 minutes from Orlando and south of Daytona Beach. Visitors can tour launch areas, see giant rockets, "train" in spaceflight simulators, and much more. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is open every day except Christmas Day and certain launch days. Apart from the Astronaut Hall of Fame, Space Center bus tours run every 15 minutes with stops at an observation gantry and the Apollo / Saturn V Center. Other guided tours include NASA Up Close, Cape Canaveral: Then and Now, and Lunch With An Astronaut. Combo tickets offer maximum access admission, plus one guided tour. The Kerouac House, in the College Park neighborhood of Orlando, is where writer Jack Kerouac lived during the time his novel On the Road was published and released, making him a national sensation and Beat Generation icon. He lived in the house with his mother Gabrielle from July 1957 to the spring of 1958, and wrote his three-act play, The Beat Generation, a 51-chorus poem called Orlanda Blues, and the novel The Dharma Bums during his time there. In 1997, the Kerouac Project of Orlando formed, and restored the Kerouac house. It is now a haven for aspiring writers who can live in the house as they create their own work.

The World's Largest McDonald's PlayPlace, located on the corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive, looks like a fry box from the exterior. The interior features an arcade with 60+ games with prize redemption, a 1950s room, a waterfall and a gift shop. The Bistro Gourmet at McDonald's features chef-prepared food, such as panini and deli sandwiches, pasta, soup, desserts, and hand-dipped ice cream, plus the standard McDonald's menu. Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine

Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, in Kissimmee. Six brave knights on horseback compete in tournament games, jousting, and sword fighting while guests dine on a medieval-style banquet.

Old Town, in Kissimmee, features eight restaurants, fifteen amusement park rides and 75 shops along its brick-lined streets. Classic car shows every Friday and Saturday feature hundreds of vintage automobiles. Admission and parking are free.

The Ripley's Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium is located in a building artfully constructed to appear as if it were collapsing to one side, which may be a sly reference to central Florida's infamous sinkholes. Visitors can explore bizarre artifacts, strange collections, weird art/hobbies and interactive exhibits in sixteen odd galleries. It is one of 27 Ripley museums in ten countries.

Wonder Works A funhouse located on International Drive. Can be easily identified as an upside down white building. Wekiwa Springs State Park, which comprises around 7,000 acres (28 km) of wild Florida. The springs pump out 42 million gallons of crystal clear water a day. Popular activities at the park include canoeing, swimming, picnicking and fishing. World of Orchids, featuring thousands of blooms in an enclosed tropical rainforest. World of Orchids is a working greenhouse shipping orchids and other plants nationwide. A greenhouse covers nearly an acre (4,000 m), and in this controlled climate of warm, humid air some 1,000 orchids are displayed in a natural jungle setting, with streams, waterfalls, and squawking parrots.


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