You probably already know that Orlando, Fla., is home to a number of theme parks, including Disney World and Universal Studios. This central Florida city, however, has much more to offer than thrilling rides and beloved characters. We took a virtual visit to Orlando via the World Wide Web and found these five things. You'll want to check them out next time you're in town.
Though Orlando isn't on the coast of Florida, the city still offers plenty of chances to see sea creatures. At Discovery Cove, visitors can swim with dolphins during 30-minute sessions.
The park recently introduced its "Trainer for A Day" program, which allows visitors to work alongside animal experts for a behind-the-scenes look at dolphins, tropical birds, sloths and anteaters. The package includes breakfast, lunch, snacks and drinks, as well as access to the park's pool, lagoon and other areas, and the use of snorkel equipment.
The "Trainer for a Day" program is limited to 24 participants, who must be at least 6 years old. Those younger than 13 must be accompanied by a paying adult.
The fee for the program starts at $458 and varies depending on the season. Reservations are required. Call 1-877-DISCOVERY or visit www.discoverycove.com.
Get to know alligators at Orlando's Gatorland. This attraction, which is also known as the "Alligator Capital of the World," has been open since 1949.
It's a theme park and a wildlife preserve. Thousands of alligators and crocodiles live at Gatorland. The park also offers educational shows and a petting zoo.
Admission is $19.95 and $12.95 for ages 3-12. Call 1-800-393-JAWS or visit www.gatorland.com.
People who enjoy things that are a little off-kilter should check out Wonder Works. This upside-down attraction houses 100 interactive exhibits, which offer visitors the chance to pilot a space shuttle, fly a fighter jet or don an astronaut's suit. In the basement of Wonder Works is a 10,000-square-foot arcade that includes laser tag.
Admission to Wonder Works is $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for senior citizens and ages 4-12. The price for one game of laser tag is $4.95.
Wonder Works also hosts "The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show," which includes unlimited pizza, beer, wine and soda. Prices for the comedy dinner theater are $21.95 for adults and $14.95 for seniors and ages 4-12. Call 407-351-8800 or visit www.wonderworksonline.com.
Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park
Those seeking adventure should head to Wallaby Ranch Hang Gliding Flight Park in Davenport, an easy drive from Orlando. Both beginners and experts are welcome at this facility, which offers tandem hang-gliding flights and hang-gliding instructions.
At the park, hang-gliders are towed to 2,000 feet by an ultralight towplane before being released for a 15- to 20-minute free flight.
A standard tandem instruction flight, to 2,000 feet, is $95. Packages of lessons are also available. Call 1-800-WALLABY or visit www.wallaby.com.
The Orlando area is home to a wide variety of restaurants, including several places that feature not only dinner, but also a show.
At Arabian Nights, in nearby Kissimmee, players on horseback bring a fairy tale about a prince and princess to life. The show includes the Black Stallion, a Native American reining horse and Arabian horses.
Admission is $44 for adults and $27 for ages 3-11, and includes dinner and the show. For more information, call 1-800-553-6116 or call visit www.adventuresinflorida.net.