Central Florida, in particular the region in and around Davenport and Orlando, maintains a laid-back atmosphere while also featuring a mixture of world-famous and small town attractions. Whether you long for adventure highs on an amusement park roller coaster or seek out tranquility in a serene green park, Davenport and Orlando provide a host of attractions for those with varying tastes.
Take hang gliding lessons year-round at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport where you’ll ride tandem with your teacher while being pulled by an ultralight towplane. Soar up to 2,000 feet in the air and take in the sights of Florida’s dense woodlands. The 100-acre take-off field also includes tent and RV camping facilities, a swimming pool, climbing wall, playground and mountain biking and hiking trails. Thompson Aire is in Kissimmee, halfway between Davenport and Orlando. Enjoy an intimate one-hour hot air balloon ride in a balloon outfitted with four to six seats. Tours are offered daily, begin at sunrise and fly over everything from swamps to forests. The experience lasts about three to four hours and includes a full buffet breakfast at a nearby restaurant.
Orlando’s marquee attraction is Walt Disney World Resort. The massive complex is outfitted with four theme parks: Hollywood Studios, Epcot, the Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. The resort is also home to two water parks, an outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex and numerous hotels, from yacht clubs and waterfront villas to tent campsites and wilderness cabins. The movie-themed Universal Orlando Resort is home to two theme parks: Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Island of Adventure. The two parks combine for more than 25 film-themed rides, including roller coasters, 4-D motion simulators and water rides. The resort also includes the Wet ‘n Wild water park and Universal City Orlando, a complex with restaurants, shops, a 20-screen movie theater and miniature golf course.
The 50-acre Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando is dotted with tropical plants, fragrant roses and camellias and colorful azaleas. The site also includes butterfly, palm and bamboo gardens. Daily tours are available to the public of the Leu family’s 19th century home. Lake Eola Park is a large public park set in downtown Orlando. Take a walk along the swan-filled lake or set out in the water in a swan-shaped paddle boat which holds up to five adults. You can also take in a concert an outdoor concert or play at the Walt Disney Amphitheater or watch the waters of the Linton E. Allen Memorial Fountain dance to music and light up in an array of colors at the nightly water show.
Sports and Recreation
ChampionsGate Golf Club is a public course in Davenport designed by famed golfer Greg Norman. The complex includes two 18-hole courses: the International Course set along wetlands and outfitted with tall grass-covered dunes, and the National Course dotted with cypress, oak and pine groves. The course also includes a practice facility, golf shop, sports lounge and golf academy where you can take lessons. Test your skills behind the wheel at the Orlando Kart Center, a large outdoor go-kart track. Cars reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, and the course includes curbs and bumps. You must be at least 5 feet tall and wear a helmet to drive the karts.