One of the great things about travelling to Florida is the fact that you can easily plan your trip around a theme. Water lovers, for example, can go nuts in experiencing all the water-themed theme park and also see some of Florida’s famous natural beauty, all within the Orlando area.
Aquatica Theme Park
Aquatica Theme Park is very popular among families, which is why it’s recommended to visit this park pretty early in the day. The park is particularly crowded during peak season, so admission might be suspended during the day when maximum capacity is reached. Other than that, Aquatica Theme Park mixes water rides with exhibits for animal lovers. The most popular ride is called the “Dolphin Plunge,” which is comprised of two tube slides that take you through an aquarium filled with Commerson’s Dolphins. This ride is exclusive to this park, so visitors shouldn’t miss it. Another highlight is the tortoise exhibit. The African Spurred Tortoise the third largest tortoise in the world, and the theme park has faithfully recreated the natural habitat of this endangered species.
Vegan info: Visitors who have food allergies or dietary restrictions will also not face any difficulties, as they can easily create a Chef Card which specifies the ingredients they cannot eat. Aquatica Theme Park has a free template on their official website, which can be filled in and shown to every chef before ordering.
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando
Wet ‘n Wild Orlando is another theme park for water lovers, with numerous solo and group rides. “Brain Wash” is among the most popular group rides, and it consists of a four-person tube ride and high vertical drop. “Bubba Tub” follows a similar concept. It is another fun tube ride for families, but with lower height requirements. Some of the rides require for children to ride with an adult who can swim, so make sure you check the requirements beforehand.
As far as solo rides go, some don’t require swimming skills or impose any height restrictions, such as “Mach 5” (you only need to learn how to control a sliding mat), while others have more specific requirements. Visitors who can swim should definitely try wake skating and paddle boarding. For those who can’t swim or are travelling with small children there are rides that cater for you like the wave pool and the so-called “Lazy River.”
Discovery Cove Theme Park
Discovery Cove Theme Park also has a series of exclusive attractions for water lovers. The first one is “Freshwater Oasis,” which allows visitors to interact with otters and marmosets. “Sea Venture” is an underwater walking tour in which you can see sharks and stingrays, followed by the opportunity to feed the fish and learn more about each species.
Discovery Cove also has a series of international conservation projects, which might be of interest, in partnership with organizations such as the National Geographic Society. Tourists can also pick several vacation packages, anything from day trips to being a “Trainer for a Day”. The latter package consists of interacting with dolphins and learning how to train them, as well as unlimited access to all the amenities and sister theme parks.
Sea World Orlando
At Sea World, children will enjoy interacting with dolphins and penguins, and there are many rides for young children, such as “Jazzy Jellies” (a jellyfish-themed ride similar to the well-known spinning teacup rides everyone knows) and “Shamu” (a roller coaster ride which is exciting enough for parents as well). Older children and adults will have lots of fun on water-themed rides such as the “Kraken” (a roller coaster modelled after a mythological beast) and the “Manta” (a flying roller coaster which spins and glides almost constantly). At the “Stingray Lagoon” you can safely pet the approximately 200 stingrays!
After checking out all the day-time attractions you might like to go to “Shamu Rocks,” a night show which combines rock music and killer whales.
Wekiwa Springs State Park
For water lovers who want to see some of Florida outside the theme parks, we recommend Wekiva State Park.
Wekiwa Springs State Park is a 7,000 acre park situated 20 minutes drive north of Orlando. It has over thirteen miles of trails which provide many opportunities for hiking, bicycling, and even horseback riding. Visitors can have a picnic, kayak/canoe on the Wekiwa River or swim in a spring, though they should be careful as there are no lifeguards on duty. If you’re travelling with pets, then a visit to Wekiwa Springs is definitely a must, since they are allowed everywhere in the park except the swimming areas. Modern camping facilities are also provided within the park with multiple options available. Wekiwa Springs gets very busy on weekends, so it is best to get there early in the day and pre-book accommodation if you are staying overnight in the park.
As you can see, Orlando has many opportunities for travellers of all kinds, especially those that love combining excitement, water and wildlife. Whether you prefer camping and swimming in a cool spring, or going on a roller coaster or a water slide, you are bound to find something you like in all these theme parks.
Check out some tips for planning your theme park trip here.