Guide to Orlando’s (mostly) free attractions
So I think it’s safe to say that when people think of Orlando, their minds don’t immediately think of “culture” or “art” but rather “theme parks” and “Crocs with socks”. So I too was sceptical when sent on a mission (and I say mission because I feel Orlando’s got a bad rap) to find artistic, cultural and alternative things to do in Orlando, Florida that won’t cost more than an affordable plane ticket for any of the Orlando flights available through top airlines or travel agencies.
Arts and Culture
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum has a more impressive collection of Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso but they have an amazing collection of Renaissance and early Baroque works. They are currently hosting an Old Masters exhibition that features some of the finest 18th-century artist from Europe that would rival the works in the Louvre in Paris and here with a valid student card, it’s free.
I think it’s safe to say that most people know about Tiffany & Co. If you’ve watch a romantic movie, read a fashion magazine or looked at a billboard in America…you’re bound to have seen a Tiffany’s advert. This luxurious empire was created by Louis Comfort Tiffany’s father Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young (shame he became ‘& Co’ after Charles took control). The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art has an exhibition of Morse founders, the McKean’s and well as the most extensive collection of famous artist and designer, Louis Tiffany. It has rare personal affects, restored glass windows, lamps and custom furniture. Walking through the collections and imagining the elite and wealthy that had worn the exquisite pieces of jewellery at fabulous balls and gala’s would make any modern girl swoon. (Image by Peter E. Lee)
Here and Nowhere Else
Okay, so just because you’re not going into Disney World doesn’t mean there isn’t any fun things to do with the kids. In Orlando you can keep them entertained at one of Orlando’s unique activities found nowhere else in the world.
World of Disney©: It seems this is the largest character store in the world. And since you’ve saved money this whole trip, this is the one of the places I would splurge a bit on the kids. Every Disney character created seems to have a doll, plush toy or figurine available.
LEGO© Imagination Centre: Situated downtown in the Disney Marketplace, this building of pure imagination and colourful bricks of endless possibilities has areas for kids to build whatever they want from the walled-buckets of pint-sized bricks (I feel for the staff that have to clean and sort after every shift though…shame) but you can spend as much time as you like here and it’s totally free.
Flea-World & Fun-World: Don’t be too alarmed by the word ‘flea’…it’s the American version of a boot sale. It’s also the largest of its kind in the USA so you are bound to find awesome deals from one of the thousands of vendors/ With acrobatic circus acts, magic shows and exotic animals, you will not be disappointed by the entertainment…unless you thought it was a grand flea circus exhibition (which I did until I got there).
I was completely surprised at the amount of great activities in Orlando and Florida State. The city has over 5000 restaurants and a couple thousand lakes. With an incredible nightlife, museums and unique attractions, I can see now that Orlando is far more than just its array of theme parks, Mickey-eared hats and Studio tours. It’s a unique city that caters to the adults, kids and the child in all of us.
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