Orlando is full of hidden gems. Some are kept off the radar to keep them clear of the hordes of tourists that flock to Florida ever year, and some are just so obscure that even locals are not all aware of them. Driving past the extravagant Gaylord Palms Convention Center, you’d never think that one of those gems resides within its walls. But isn’t that the point?

Gaylord is known of its lavish and expensive amenities, so it’s lucky that their lush, tropical atriums are open to everyone to enjoy, even if you don’t spend hundreds to stay in their suites.

Gaylord isn’t just a convention center, it is also technically a resort. Residents enjoy such luxuries as a waterpark, adult-only pool, and even a wake zone. The public pleasures are nothing to sniff at either, though.

The Gaylord atriums recreate three Florida environments, capturing the essence of the sights and sounds of the Sunshine State.

A wooden walkway leads you through the misty bogs of the Everglades, beneath towering Cypress trees and the songs of nature. Eventually, you’ll find your way through the wetlands to Old Hickory, a steakhouse also open to the public.

The St. Augustine atrium captures the old-world Spanish charm of the coast, with cobblestone streets and iconic architecture. The massive lobby even holds a replica of the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest Spanish fort in the New World. Nearby you’ll find more food opens such as Villa de Flora serving a Mediterranean food buffet.

The Key West atrium brings you the flavor the of islands without ever having to leave Orlando. Tour the wharf, take selfies by the S.S. Gaylord, and see how many different fish species you can find in the 161,000 gallon Key West Lagoon. Keep your eye out for redfish, koi, and stingrays, among many others!

While there is a parking fee, it is well worth the day that you will want to set aside to explore and photograph every inch of this beautiful place.

Gaylord Palms Convention Center

Price: $24 for parking

Address: 6000 West Osceola Parkway · Kissimmee, Florida 34746

Why You Need To Go: Enjoy all the enchantment of being in a jungle without all the bugs to match! 


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