By Holley Long
Summer is almost here, and with the kids out of school you may be looking for ideas to keep them occupied. While the Disney and Universal theme parks are fun, sometimes adventures in the great outdoors call to heart.
Read on to learn about five such adventures in and near Orlando that will let you and your family experience nature, learn about Florida wildlife, and get the adrenaline pumping.
Wekiva River Guided Kayak Tour
Image by Wekiva Outfitters
The 16-mile Wekiva River is home to all kinds of native wildlife, like alligators, manatees, and wading birds. During a 4-hour kayaking tour of the river, you and your family can learn about the local ecosystem from an experienced guide.
Lunch is included in the tour admission, as is transportation back to your car after the tour, but you should plan on paying a $3 parking fee. And while there is no age restriction, all participants in the tour must know how to swim.
Croc Rock Adventure at Gatorland
Image by Gatorland
New at Gatorland, the Croc Rock Adventure is three courses in one. Start by climbing the 32-foot Croc Rock wall, then cross a 150-foot swinging cable bridge, and finally descend on a 350-foot zipline. Talk about getting the heart racing!
The course tour takes about 45 minutes to complete, and guests must be at least 36’’ tall to participate. If your kids don’t quite meet the height requirement, there’s still plenty to enjoy at Gatorland, like gator shows, a petting zoo, and encounters with Gatorland’s critters.
Wild Florida Drive-Thru Safari Park
Image by Wild Florida
Prefer experiencing wildlife in comfort? You can do that at the Wild Florida Drive-Thru Safari Park. Drive in your own vehicle down a four mile gravel path and observe more than 150 free-roaming animals native to different parts of the world, including zebras, giraffes, and more.
Want to get up close and personal to the animals? An elevated platform lets you enjoy the awesome experience of feeding giraffes! And, after the drive, you can visit Gator Park to visit more animals and watch a variety of educational shows.
Captain Mike’s Swimming with the Manatees
Image by Captain Mike's
This one would be a bit of a drive, but it would be so worth it. Located about two hours northwest of Orlando, Captain Mike’s Silver Tour lets you and your family don wetsuits and snorkel gear to come face to face with manatees in Crystal River.
The shallow water makes this tour a good fit for children, but if you want a more private experience, the gold or platinum tour may be a better fit. With just four to six swimmers on board, you’ll take a boat to nearby springs and learn more about the gentle manatees before entering the water, so you and your family know how to best interact with them.
Tree Trek Adventure Park
Image by Tree Trek Adventure Park
Thrills await at Tree Trek Adventure Park! High atop a pine forest you’ll find this aerial obstacle course, with challenges to overcome, like swinging from Tarzan ropes, crossing wobbly bridges and swinging logs, and gliding through the trees on zip lines.
Don’t worry if you or your children aren’t obstacle course pros, because Tree Trek Adventure Park has courses for all skill levels, from the minimum elevation Green Course to the advanced elevation Red Course. And for kids eight and under, there are two separate courses featuring 21 different challenges.
This is just a sample of what your family can enjoy this summer (and year round) as Central Florida has a number of outdoor experiences. But if you embark on any of these adventures, you’re sure to walk away with a newfound respect for Florida’s wildlife, nature, and your ability to tackle physical challenges!
The Orlando Real is sponsored by The Pozek Group. If you’re thinking of buying or selling a home in Orlando, reach out and we would love to help!
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