Thursday 28th of June 2018
Florida is well known for its alligators and the Orlando area has at least two gator-themed destinations that are worth a look.
Chief among these is the family-run Boggy Creek Airboat Rides, offering trips on the Everglades for more than 20 years. (Tickets from £19 adult/£15 child).
The stunning thrill ride is frankly better than any rollercoaster, as your hurtle over the waters in flat-bottomed metal vessels.
The firm offers a range of trips including sunset tours and night cruises and you can even drive your own airboat for the ultimate rush.
The site has a village that recreates how Native Americans ate, hunted and made tools, and a restaurant for when you’re finished.
Gatorland is one of oldest attractions in Florida dating back to 1949, and gives you the chance to get as close to the giant reptiles as you could ever want.
The bayou-styled site lets you feed dozens of 14-foot beasts right at the water’s edge and boasts a collection of rare white alligators.
There’s also a zip wire over gator infested waters and a newly introduced monster truck tour of the swamp. (Tickets from £20 adult/£15 child).
If you would prefer to get behind the wheel of your own off terrain vehicle then Revolution Offroad is all you need.
This British company takes advantage of the rural terrain with a fleet of amphibious eight wheelers, ATV quad bikes and two-man buggies to tear through the mud and swamps.
They’re adept at catering for large groups, with archery, clay shooting and fishing on hand for those who prefer more sedate activities. (Prices from £33).
It wouldn’t be a story about Orlando without mentioning at least one roller coaster, and there are definitely alternatives to the big parks if that’s your thing.
Fun Spot has two locations in the city that combine old-fashioned funfair rides with a few modern, hair-raising twists.
In addition, to go-karts and arcades, the Kissimmee site (there’s also one in Orlando) is home to the world’s tallest sky coaster.
At 300ft this giant swing was recently named one of the top 10 most extreme theme park rides in the country by USA Today and is not for the faint of heart.
Fun Spot stays open until midnight so is a good choice once the main parks have closed for the day.
Kissimmee also has the advantage of being next to Old Town, an outdoor shopping area that regularly hosts live music and a hugely appealing classic car rally that shows off the best of US motoring.
Another trademark American experience that shouldn’t be missed is attending a live sports game.
The hugely impressive Amway Center in Downtown is home to the NBA’s Orlando Magic – whose alumni include Shaquille O’Neal – and it also hosts everything from the WWE and UFC to major pop acts like Shakira and Pink. (Prices from £12).