5 Non-Theme Park Things to do in Orlando

Okay I’m sure if you’re like me, you are blinded by the idea of OMGDISNEYWORLD when heading to Orlando but I know there are also people who are not huge fans of theme parks. I mean trying to chase down Disney characters, buying all the pins, eating all the food, and wanting to be a princess (um, major thanks to for making me feel like a princess!) isn’t for everyone.  So here’s a list of fun things to do in Orlando that does not involve our friend Mickey Mouse.

Explore the City by Foot

Non-Theme Park Things to do in Orlando

Non-Theme Park Things to do in Orlando

Of course, I had to go running in Orlando and would recommend it! So Orlando is not really a walking city (unfortunately) but I insist on wandering by foot because that is how Jen and I found IHOP and was able to get cheesecake pancake 😉 Here’s a link to a running route in Orlando that lets you run past multiple lakes! Not a runner? Check out the Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve for a pretty scenic walk!


Gatorland offers an up close experience with the creatures that Florida’s known for – thousands of alligators and crocodiles! You can even take a zip line ride over the park and look down on the alligator marsh (hold on tight 😉 haha)! You can even be a trainer for a day and get up close and personal with them!

Orlando Watersports Complex

Do things like wakeboarding, wakeskating, kneeboarding, waterskiing interest you? Then the Orlando Waterports Complex is up your alley! Want something more relaxing? They also have stand up padding boarding and SUP yoga! 

Non-Theme Park Things to do in Orlando

Image from OWC

Wonder Works

This once top-secret laboratory was located in the Bermuda triangle. An experiment gone awry lifted the laboratory carrying it to International Drive in Orlando, Florida where it landed upside down. Luckily all of the exhibits remained intact and available for guests to explore.” Um, yes please? A place to have fun and learn! They’re like a science centre with more than 100 hands on exhibits that “challenge the mind and spark the imagination.” 


Visit a Museum

If I didn’t enjoy history, I would not have done my undergrad in it! One of my favourite places to visit while traveling are museums! Here’s a list of a couple that I think are pretty cool in Orlando: The Orange County Regional History CenterTitanic The Artifact Exhibition, and Orlando Museum of Art.

Still looking for something to do?

Here’s my list of 10 things to do in/near Orlando for FREE!


QOTD: Are you a theme park fan or do you prefer to explore the city instead while traveling?

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29 thoughts on “5 Non-Theme Park Things to do in Orlando

  1. I’ve been to Orlando countless times and have never heard of Gatorland. This is definitely on my list the next time I visit. Not sure I’d be brave enough to take that zip line down tho! Hahahha, but it does sound like fun 🙂

  2. Orlando is a great city – I used to live there! I especially love getting out and about in nature. There are some really great trails and parks to explore.

  3. I want to go back to Orlando for the theme parks, but it’s great to to know that there are also plenty of other activities to enjoy too! That ziplining over Gatorland sounds terrifying though!

  4. I’ve been loving your posts on Florida and Orlando. I’ve been to Disney there and would definitely head back to do something else. I hadn’t ever thought about going back to DO anything else though so this is a helpful list of ideas one what to do. ^^

  5. Yessss! I just don’t get the Disneyworld thing so this is a great post for me. Thanks for sharing some different things to do in Orlando. I’d love to check out the water park and also some of the running trails there are.

  6. Thanks for this! There’s so much more to Orlando than the theme park scene – such a huge culinary and cultural presence, and a lot of outdoor activities too 🙂 So glad to see people highlighting it!

  7. This is a great list. I am headed back to Orlando in July for a work conference and after an expensive and less than exciting trip to Disney, I will not be going back to the theme park. I would love to check out a few of the museums in Orlando.

  8. Ages ago I did a road trip to Orlando with friends. We had zero interest in going to the theme parks, so we went to the Orlando Art Museum and really enjoyed it. So many southern cities don’t have a real downtown, but there was plenty to keep us entertained for the day.

  9. Sounds like fun! Of course, you’re looking glamorous running around Orlando! I never look that cute do anything physical! Haha. I love theme parks, though and if I’m anywhere near the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, that becomes my number one priority! Haha!

  10. Glad to see a post about Orlando discovering things other than Disneyland! 🙂 Have tried zip lining before but doing it with alligators below seems like a scary and thrilling experience!

  11. It’s quite interesting to read about some alternative options in Orlando apart from the theme parks. I’m sure that I’d enjoy Gatorland, it must be great seeing the alligators from up close!

  12. Themeparks makes me dizzy actually, so visiting nature parks are best for me. Seems like I will enjoy Orlando parks and its other non-themed attractions 😀

  13. Wow holidaying and staying fit both together. Great place. Love such natural parks to breath in some freshness. I haven’t been to Orlando yet, seems like worth discovering.

  14. Those are quite a few interesting free things to do in Orlando. Enough things to do besides Disneyland. Kneeboarding is something that I have never seen before.

  15. Orlando is one of my favorite cities in the world and fortunately I live an hour drive from here. So Disney & Universal are like my weekend friends when I’ve nothing to do! I totally agree with you that apart from theme parks, Orlando has many things to explore!

  16. Good list! My favourites are walking around Lake Eola Park and taking the boat tour of Winter Park and check out some of the best mansions in Orlando. 2017 will also see the opening of the new Orlando FC soccer stadium downtown. And if you are into basketball at all, then there’s an Orlando Magic game to check out!

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