Central Florida is well-known for its theme parks but there is so much to do that extends beyond the theme parks and Orlando city limits! When it comes to providing your family with experiences that are unusual and educational you can’t beat these!
10 Best Unknown Educational Tourist Attractions in Central Florida
1. Scenic Boat Tour, Winter Park
Tour the pristine waters of the Winter Park chain of lakes! Boaters will enjoy a small cruise along the waterways that Winter Park is known for. Native plants & animals are pointed out, as well as historic homes and other famous Winter Park landmarks. To book your tour visit the Scenic Boat Tour website.
2. Wild Florida, Kenansville
Located on the far side of St. Cloud, about a 45 minute drive from the Disney area, this unknown tourist attraction is worth the drive! Wild Florida is best known for their airboat tours, but they also house a wildlife park that offers educational presentations and behind-the-scenes animal encounters. Wild Florida also offers ranch buggy rides and a restaurant.
3. The Presidents Hall of Fame, Clermont
If you enjoy educational adventures and kitsch, you don’t want to miss The Presidents Hall of Fame. For a few dollars admission you and your kids can see one of the oldest educational attractions in the area and pose for some pretty great photo ops.
4. Circle B Bar Reserve, Lakeland
Featuring hiking trails of all difficulty levels, an indoor educational center, and year-round festivals, Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland is one of our favorite places to visit. There is no admission fee and you WILL see alligators as well as many birds and other wildlife.
5. Kayak Eco Tours, Merritt Island
If getting away from the noise of the theme parks sounds like a good time, you won’t want to miss one of the many educational kayak tours offered by A Day Away in Merritt Island. We took part in a nighttime kayak tour and it is definitely a bucket list-worthy activity!
6. Enzian Theatre, Maitland
Featuring everything from family-friendly flicks to the newest avant-garde indies, the Enzian has something for everybody. The Enzian is a much-loved local favorite, what with its wine bar and comfortable chairs you’ll never want to leave! The Enzian is a non-for-profit alternative theatre and hosts many events throughout the year, including a film festival and acting workshops.
7. Bok Tower Gardens
Nestled away in quaint Lake Wales in Polk County, Bok Tower Gardens is a lovely yet mostly unknown tourist attraction. Not many people make the drive from the theme parks to Lake Wales, but you won’t be disappointed if you do. Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark and is home to hundreds of species of native plants and wildlife. If you visit on the right day you’ll be treated to live music events and festivals!
8. Lakeridge Winery, Clermont
Offering complimentary tours and tastings, Lakeridge Winery is another favorite local hangout. Weekends are extra special at Lakeridge with different events to celebrate each season!
9. Safari Wilderness Ranch, Lakeland
A safari in Lakeland? You betcha! Safari Wilderness Ranch is home to quite a few unique species that you won’t find anywhere else in Florida, and you’ll even get to feed some of them! While most people opt to tour by safari truck the really adventurous can tour on a camel!
10. Swim with manatees in Crystal River
Experience something completely new when you swim or kayak with these gentle creatures at Crystal River. Normally you’re not allowed to approach manatees due to their endangered status, but Crystal River is one of the few places where you can interact with the manatees in an environment that is safe for them and you.
Meg Grooms lives in beautiful Central Florida within view of the evening fireworks. She lives with her husband, their 6 kids, a dog, a cat, and a fish named Lucky Steve. Meg is a long-time homeschooler, community volunteer, self-confessed lover-of-all-the-food, Disney addict, frugalista, and when she has time she blogs about all of it. In addition to The Brainy Tourist you can find Meg at This Big Happy and Homeschool Gameschool.