Let’s be honest, whether you're a local or a returning visitor, you can only see the same theme parks so many times before it gets a little…well, stifling. Add to that the relentless Florida heat and the even more relentless crowds and you’re certain to be due for a bit of a refresher. Save your money, and your sanity; check out these 7 parks in Orlando that aren’t Universal or Disney. Or SeaWorld. Or Legoland.


Hours: Every day except Sunday

Location: 8375 International Drive Orlando, FL 32819

Price: $25

Why you need to go: This infamous Orlando rises 400 feet over the Orlando skyline, giving you a view you can’t enjoy anywhere else. With 30 climate-controlled cabins, each rotation takes about 22 minutes, so you’ve got plenty of time to enjoy the view.


Back to Nature Wildlife Refuge

Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9AM – 4PM

Location: 1O525 Clapp Simms Duda Rd. Orlando, FL 32832 Price: $5

Why you need to go: The mission at BTN is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release injured or orphaned Floridian wildlife, but sometimes these little critters can’t go back to their wild lives and stay with the caring team on the refuge. You can visit with their resident tortoises, emu, lemurs, owls, bobcats, and more!



Hours: Open daily

Location: 14501 Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando FL 32837

Price: $26.99

Why you need to go: It’s no surprise that Orlando is home to the alligator capital of the world. Home to alligators and crocodiles of all sizes, they also house the extremely rare white leucitic alligators. There’s plenty to do at Gatorland, including the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line and their new off-road adventure and even nighttime walkabouts.


Black Hammock Airboat Tours

Hours: Open daily

Location: 2356 Black Hammock Fish Camp Road Oviedo, FL 32756

Price: $24.95

Why you need to go: Set on Lake Jesup, which is home to over 10,000 alligators, the Black Hammock Airboat Tours take you out on the water for thrilling rides through Orlando’s infamous wetlands. You can calm your nerves at the Lazy Gator Bar and grab a bite (we recommend) after your adventure at the Black Hammock Restaurant.


Orlando Watersports Complex

Hours: Open daily

Location: 8615 Florida Rock Rd Orlando, FL 32824

Price: $20

Why you need to go: OWC is the perfect spot for novices and pros alike. You can learn how to ski or wakeboard for the very first time with one-on-one sessions, run through a giant inflatable water obstacle course, and relax and refuel at their on-site grill with a view of the lake.


Sea Life Aquarium

Hours: Open Daily

Location: 8449 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

Price: $25.50

Why you need to go: Visit sea life in a quieter, more intimate environment with behind the scenes tours of what goes into their conservatory work, or wander at your leisure viewing endangered species, rescued animals, and learning about how to positively impact our oceans and sea life habitats.


Wekiva Island

Hours: Open daily

Location: 1014 Miami Springs Drive, Longwood, FL 32779

Price: $2 entry fee

Why you need to go: The perfect place to experience pristine nature and support and eco-friendly business! Family owned and operated, Wekiva Island is an eco-friendly park and strives to neutralize their carbon footprint and runs on solar panels. Here, you can laze on the beach, paddle down the river in canoes, kayaks, or paddleboards, play volleyball, and enjoy a delicious meal at their own bar and restaurant.


Bonus: While not technically in Orlando, but close, you can also drive a real tank and crush cars at this park

The next time you're feeling a bit of "park fever," try a different kind of staycation and be sure to visit these awesome places!

If you're on a budget, this list will give you some great ideas to enjoy some inexpensive adventures. And if you're looking for some fall action in Orlando, then check out this ultimate pumpkin patch.

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