Unique, Unusual & Offbeat Things to Do in Orlando
The first time I went to Florida back in 2012, I found plenty of offbeat things to do in and around Orlando including encounters with spirits both real and imagined at the Holy Land Experience and a Ghost Hunting Tour (I’ll let you decide which is which.) So this time around I was certain I’d check off even more quirky things that I missed on my first visit. And check off I did. Here are some of the quirkier Orlando activities I experienced.
Billing itself as “The Alligator Capital of the World” Gatorland certainly lives up to its name. There are gators around every corner, many of which are “problem” gators rescued or purchased by the park’s owners to save them from a fate as a belt or handbag. There are also plenty of crocodiles, reptiles, lizards, pythons and other assorted critters with a penchant for creeping and crawling. An aviary, a watchtower, nature trail, a train ride around the reserve, and even a zipline experience round out some of the other activities available.
CSI — The Experience
Fans of the series, or anyone who harbours a sleuth fantasy will appreciate CSI — The Experience. New “recruits” (that’s you) have to solve one of three mysteries by taking notes at a crime scene, analyzing results in a crime lab and checking out the autopsy report before reporting back to Grissom.
The experience has the feel of a giant board game, and while it wasn’t my favourite Orlando attraction, it’s worth the money if you buy the combo ticket to take in the next attraction (which has actual dead bodies), conveniently housed in the same building.
Our Body: The Universe Within
“Look kids — the Skeletal System!” While not for everyone, Our Body: The Universe Within is a great glimpse into what’s inside this complicated body of ours. Every detail of our innards is on display, compliments of sliced and diced corpses preserved using a process called plastination. The unlucky stiffs have had all their fat and body water replaced with reactive plastic, and while the displays can lean towards the macabre (there are a couple of dead babies displayed with appropriate warnings towards the back) it’s certainly something you will always remember.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not Odditorium
I can’t believe it’s actually taken me this long to visit Ripley’s. For decades, it’s been the granddaddy of everything grotesque, bizarre, and oddball, but for me it just seemed a little too…commercial? Sanitized? I’m not how I’d describe my feelings about it, but I was certain I wouldn’t enjoy it. I’m happy to report back that Ripley’s is indeed worth the cash.
The Odditorium is chock-full of shrunken heads, Siamese pigs, flutes made from human bone, and kitschy one-of-a-kind art like Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” made from dryer lint and a portrait of Beyoncé fashioned entirely from candy. The place is also chock-full of people, so get there early to avoid the bottleneck line at the entrance.
With naysayer decries of “cheesy” and “corny” and “horrible food” on TripAdvisor ringing in my memory, I was prepared for the worst at Medieval Times. The thing is, it was actually one of the best experiences I had in Orlando. Maybe it was because I was with my niece (or maybe it was those cold medieval beers) but the pageantry of fake knights, staged jousting, and real horses appealed to the softie in me and made for a stellar night of good clean family fun. Seal the deal with a visit to the Torture Museum (Right. Up. My. Alley.) included in the ticket price, and you’ve got a fan for life.
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Note: I was a guest of Visit Orlando during my time in Florida.