Movies at Universal
Moviegoers love Universal Studios
because there they can "ride" into movies such as Jaws,
Back to the Future, E.T. Adventure, Earthquake... The Big One, and
Kongfrontation. Universal Studios is the largest working television
and motion picture studio outside of Hollywood.
"Terminator 2 3-D" sweeps up viewers into
the action in this thrilling 3-D interactive live-action motion
picture with actors Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eddie Furlong and Robert
Patrick. Youngsters get to sing-along with the great big purple
dinosaur in "A Day in the Park with Barney," another popular
attraction. Other live, interactive shows are Beetlejuice's Graveyard
Revue, the "Murder, She Wrote" Mystery Theatre, and The
Wild, Wild Wild West Stunt Show.
Universal Studios is undergoing an enormous expansion,
one that will culminate in its current resort including a new theme
park, Islands of Adventure, and E-ZONE, an incomparable entertainment
zone. Islands of Adventure will include Seuss Landing, with rides
and attractions that bring Dr. Seuss' characters alive; Isla Nublar,
Home of Jurassic Park, where dinosaurs from Jurassic Park will come
alive; and attractions starring Popeye and his friends and other
cartoon characters such as Spider-Man, the X-Men and the Incredible
Additionally, the expansion will create a world-class
hotel, a golf lodge with villas, championship golf and tennis venues,
more movie and production facilities, and 300,000 square feet of
conference space. For information about Universal Studios, call
Science: Space and Flight
The Orlando Science Center,
407/896-7151, which has just moved into a new building, manages
to get everyone into science with its hands-on activities and exhibits.
Ten highly-themed exhibit halls allow visitors to indulge in various
scientific adventures. Among them are WaterWorks, NatureWorks, and
Tunnel of Discovery, Science City, Cosmic Tourist, PeopleWorks and
Career Center. Visitors can travel to other planets in the Dr. Phillips
Cinedome or engage in an interactive science presentation in the
Darden Adventure Theater.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Center
is a must stop for those interested in space exploration. The center's
newest attraction -- the Apollo/Saturn V Center -- offers "you-are-there"
theatrical presentations, a 363-foot Saturn V rocket, and a "hands-on"
intergalactic gallery. 407/452-2121
Find out about America's space heroes at the United
States Astronaut Hall of Fame. It features astronaut training simulator
rides, exhibits, a full-scale Space Shuttle that encloses a theater,
and U.S. Space Camp for children. To find out more information,
call 407/269-6100 To view fascinating restored airplanes, hop over
to the Flying Tigers Warbird Air Museum. Enjoy learning about restoration
projects or thrill to an airplane ride. 407/933-1942
Between Orlando and Tampa is Fantasy
of Flight. This $30-million aviation-themed
museum features 30 antique planes, two private grass runways, a
pre-1940s diner, a gift shop and a flight simulator.
Nature: Gardens, Zoos & Theme Parks
Thousands of orchids, flowers so beautiful you wonder if they're
real, can be seen at A World of
Orchids. It offers an indoor display of thousands
of orchids in different garden settings. 407/396-1887
Big Tree Park
has some of the oldest and largest trees in America; for instance,
the bald cypress tree called "The Senator" is 3,500 years
old and 138 feet tall. 407/788-0405
Everyone who comes to Florida wants to see gators.
And they can see lots of them at Gatorland.
Nearly 5,000 alligators and crocodiles live here, along with birds
and other animals. 407/855-5496
Have a splash at Sea
World of Florida! Sea World manages to mix
great good fun with learning. That is because Sea World presents
an intimate look at the animals who live near or in the sea, including
whales, manatees, sea lions, penguins, dolphins, sharks, etc. Visitors
come away from the displays, exhibits and shows with a much greater
appreciation for the variety, beauty and lifestyle of those animals.
Let your kids get a firsthand experience with farm
animals, some 300 of them at Green
Meadows Petting Farm, 407/846-0770. They can
ride a pony, milk a cow, or take a hay ride.
You can never learn enough about animals. And the
five hundred unusual animals, reptiles and birds housed at Jungleland
are each interesting in their own way. Tours and shows are available.
Call 407/ 396-1012.
Learn about animals in their habitats and Floridian
history by enjoying Jungle Adventures.
Take a jungle cruise through an alligator habitat, see a Florida
panther, view endangered species, or tour an Indian village or a
Spanish fort. 407/568-1354.
Florida is definitely a water haven. There is water everywhere --
the ocean, the lakes, the rivers, the springs -- and with the wonderful
warm sun shining overhead, no better place to enjoy water year-round.
Take a look at these descriptions of the water parks in and near
Orlando where you and your family can frolic in clear, cool, relaxing
waters. Disney offers three water parks for wet fun. River
Country is a backcountry swimming hole with
water slides that twist and turn, white water rapid ride, a beach
and a nature trail. Typhoon Lagoon
enables visitors to snorkel with fish, ride waves, and plummet down
flumes. Other features include a children's area slide, fountains
and waterfalls. Blizzard Beach,
the newest water park, has a winter sports theme and 19 rides, including
the Summit Plummet, a 120-foot freefall. Call 407/824-4321 for info
A day in the water can be had year-round at the
more than 25 acres of Wet 'n Wild.
Here, entrants can cool off in any of numerous water slides and
rides. Among them are the Surge in which five passenger take a tube
ride through 600 feet of curves, the Bubba Tub, the wave pole, Der
Stuka, Fuji Flyer and children's playgrounds. 407/351-3200
For those wanting to visit Universal Studios, Sea World of Florida
and Wet 'n Wild, a five-day, multi-park Value Pass is available
that allows travelers to visit all three attractions with unlimited
admission. This Value Pass costs only $89.95 for adults and $72.95
for children between 3 and 9 years old. Call 407/363-8000 for further
information about these package deals.
Upcoming Fun in Orlando
Talk about action, Orlando is where it's at!
Orlando hosts more than 140 special events each year, events that
make vacations more memorable. Besides those, there are new attractions
The Richard Petty Driving Experience
Now, motorsports fans can get into a stock car, buckle up and race
around a speedway going up to 145 miles per hour. Vroom! The noise
generated by participants zipping around the track during The
Richard Petty Driving Experience will be heard
at the Walt Disney Speedway between April 1 and September 30, or
in October and November. Call 800/ 237-3889 or 407/939-7727 to learn
about driver requirements, etc.
The Imperial Tombs of China Visiting Exhibit
From May 2 to September 15, a most important exhibit from China
will be displayed at the Orlando
Museum of Art. Seven-foot-tall Guardian Lions
from the emperors' Forbidden City, a jade burial suit and a gold-lacquered
dragon throne will be just some of the 250 artifacts representing
the years from 500 B.C. to A.D. 1900. A tremendous opportunity to
learn about China's past and its culture. 407/ 896-4231.
The New Silver Springs -- It's Alive!
The world's largest natural spring is the site of Silver
Springs and Wild Waters. Silver Springs offers
visitors a chance to have great fun. There, you can ride glass-bottom
boats, ride into Florida's Jeep Safari to meet alligators, giant
snapping turtles and a myriad of beautiful waterfowl. As if that
wasn't enough, the number of attractions are being expanded this
summer: World of Bears, where grizzly, kodiak and three other bear
species can be seen; Kids Ahoy! Playland, site of slides, rides
and more; the Twin Oaks Mansion, a stage made to look like a Southern
mansion; the Sprinkles Ice Cream Parlor, the Rose Garden, and the
Garden Pavilion. Wild Waters will add Swampy's Smokehouse Buffet,
the White Gator Trader and the Big Gator Lagoon.
Skull Kingdom Opens
Yikes! For those who like to get a good scare, a visit to Skull
Kingdom, 407/354-1564, might be on the agenda.
Just opening, its Giant Skull Entrance greets those who dare with
creepy sounds. Inside, the intrepid participate in a walk-through,
hands-on, interactive experience that ends in the Ghoulish Face
Painting Gallery and the Haunted Toy Shop.