11 Fun Things to Do in Kissimmee, Florida that Aren’t Theme Parks

An airboat gliding over Boggy Creek.
Get an authentic Everglades experience with an airboat tour at Boggy Creek. Photo credit: Maria Barbosa

Sure, you’ve probably come to the Orlando-Kissimmee area to visit its world-famous amusement parks, including Walt Disney World and Universal Studios. And those parks certainly deliver full days of fun—from the thrilling roller coasters and Harry Potter-themed parks-within-a-park at Universal Orlando to the heartwarming familiarity of the Magic Kingdom, the amazing Star Wars attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios, wild and wooly encounters at Disney’s Animal Kingdom and the journey to futuristic and foreign lands that awaits at EPCOT.

But let’s be real. Sometimes, you and your kids need a break from long days in crowded theme parks, from refreshing your Genie+ app and figuring out where you’re going to have lunch.

Fortunately, Orlando and Kissimmee give you options. We recently spent a week in this Central Florida tourism hub and found out there’s a lot more to the area than just Mickey Mouse and Harry Potter.

From water parks to airboat rides, hot-air balloon rides and zipline adventures, here are some of our favorite fun things to do in the Orlando-Kissimmee area that don’t involve a theme park ticket!

An airboat ride at Boggy Creek, a fun thing to do near Kissimmee that isn't a theme park
An airboat tour at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures whisks riders over Lake Toho, which forms part of the Everglades headwaters. Photo credit: Elizabeth Heath

Take an Airboat Ride

I grew up in Florida, and I always viewed airboat rides as noisy and destructive. But a trip with Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures changed my mind.

We took the one-hour guided tour. While the fast parts of the ride were indeed noisy (noise-reducing headsets are provided), I learned that the boats, when carefully maneuvered, don’t damage the ecosystem. Instead, they glide over the grass and mudflats of Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho for short).

The entrance to the airboat rides at Boggy Creek.
A toothy photo op at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures. No animals were harmed in the taking of this photo! Photo credit: Elizabeth Heath

These wetlands are fed in part by the Everglades headwaters at Shingle Creek Regional Park. Our guide was anxious to impart to us the importance and uniqueness of the lake environment as we slowly cruised past alligators, turtles, fish and waterfowl.

Back on shore, our kids panned for minerals, fossils and gemstones at Boggy Creek’s mining attraction. It was probably not the most authentic “Old Florida” part of our day, but they had fun and got to keep their “treasures.”

A waterslide at Island H2O Waterpark.
The girls get ready to head down one of the big slides at Island H2O Water Park in Kissimmee. Photo credit: Elizabeth Heath

Hit a Water Park

Nothing makes kids much happier than a pool with a waterslide, and Orlando and Kissimmee have no shortage of ways to get wet!

We opted for Island H2O Water Park, one of the newest water parks in Kissimmee and part of Margaritaville Resort Orlando. The park has eight thrilling water slides, plus a wave pool, a lazy river and two kids’ play areas for little ones who don’t like big slides.

We had a cabana, which meant we had shade, a minifridge, lounge chairs and a server to handle our lunch order and make sure we were kept in adult beverages. I highly recommend splurging on one of these rentals!

The park has a social media tech theme. Riders are encouraged to scan their wristbands to earn points for prizes. In truth, our kids were too busy on the lazy river and the smaller slides to hit the thrill rides often enough to accumulate many points!

The author and her family at Jewel Escape Rooms in Kissimmee, a fun thing to do outside of the theme parks
We didn’t manage to solve the many riddles and break out of the Egyptian-themed escape room, but we got this nice photo as a consolation prize! Photo credit: Elizabeth Heath

Bust Out of an Escape Room

Escape rooms are nothing new—the Orlando area has more than 100 of them!—but they were a new experience for us. And seriously, I didn’t expect our escape room experience to be so entertaining!

We went to Jewel Escape Rooms in the ChampionsGate area, where there are four rooms to choose from. We opted for the Mysteries of the Pharaoh room, which Jewel ranks as an 8 out of 10 difficulty level.

Umm…there were six of us, including four reasonably intelligent adults and two bright kids, and we could not solve our way out of that escape room. In the end, we were really close—I won’t give away any secrets—but we just couldn’t figure out what clues we were missing.

As our hour flew past, we couldn’t help but be aware of what a good time we were having trying to figure out which clues were important, what to do next and how to unlock all manners of mysteries. It was fast-paced, frustrating, nerve-wracking fun, but fun all the same!

The Congo River mini golf course in Kissimmee, a fun thing to do
A round or two at Congo River Mini-Golf, or any or the area’s numerous mini-golf courses, is a fun was to spend an hour or so after dinner. Photo credit: Maria Barbosa

Play a Round of Mini Golf

There are dozens of mini-golf courses in Orlando-Kissimmee, and my husband had promised our daughter that we’d play at least one of them.

We chose Congo River Golf because it was close to the Old Town area, where we’d had dinner, and because it had a lot of fun features, like waterfalls and water obstacles, a pond with gators and two different jungle-themed courses to choose from.

There are three Congo River locations in Orlando, including one on International Drive, plus lots of other elaborate, challenging courses to choose from. We especially liked mini-golf as an after-dinner activity—a fun thing to do when it’s too early to go to bed but too late to head back to a theme park.

Other Fun Things to Do in Orlando and Kissimmee

The combined Kissimmee-Orlando Resort area is so well-developed for family entertainment that if we’d had the time, we could have easily kept busy for at least a week in Kissimmee and Orlando without ever setting foot in a Disney or Universal park.

Don’t get me wrong—we had a great time at Disney World and Universal Orlando. But it’s great to know there are other fun things to do in the area. Here are some Orlando and Kissimmee attractions and activities that we didn’t get to, but that are on our list for next time!

Hot Air Balloon Rides

I’m seriously sorry we didn’t have time for a hot air balloon ride. Options include an 8-minute, tethered balloon ride at Disney Springs, which offers terrific views of the surrounding theme parks and the entire Walt Disney World resort area. For a longer ride, check out one of the operators recommended by Visit Orlando.

Kayaking or Paddleboarding

Kayak at Shingle Creek Regional Park and see where the Everglades headwaters begin. Facilities there include picnic areas, a boardwalk over wetlands and a nature trail for hiking and biking. Or try a stand-up-paddleboard on Lake Ivanhoe with Epic Paddle Adventures. On Lake Toho, Kissimmee Lakefront Park has picnic areas, nature trails and the Monument of States, which celebrates U.S. unity.

Zip Lining and Adventure Parks

Zip lining, climbing and ropes courses are a great way to build confidence in kids and adults and bond as a family. Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park looks like a really fun place, with courses for all abilities and a color-coded system so you know which activities are right based on age and ability.

More Wildlife Experiences

When you’re in Central Florida, you’re never far from nature. And several attractions bring you about as close as you can get. Vintage attraction Gatorland has several different types of gator encounters, as well as a zip line course, animal exhibits and a petting zoo. Wild Florida has a drive-through safari park, airboat tours and, of course, alligators!

Old Florida History

Central Florida’s history predates the Disney era, by a lot! Learn about Osceola County’s early days at the Pioneer Village living history museum at Shingle Creek Regional Park or at the Museum of Military History in Kissimmee. For a look at Orlando’s role in the Civil Rights Movement, visit Historic Eatonville near Winter Park—it’s also the childhood home of acclaimed writer Zora Neale Hurston.

Other Amusement Parks

If you and your family need even more theme parks, remember that Central Florida is home to SeaWorld, the Lego parks, Fun Spot America (home of the world’s tallest skycoaster yikes!), the midway-style rides of Kissimmee Old Town, the landmark observation wheel at Icon Park, and fun, campy Dinosaur World. Dezerland Park bills itself as Florida’s largest indoor attraction, with 800,000 square feet of all-weather fun, including go-kart tracks, a huge arcade, bumper cars, day-glow mini golf and a classic car collection.

Day Trips

If you’ve got a free day to go farther afield, you’ll find great family attractions in Tampa, where Busch Gardens, ZooTampa at Lowry Park and The Florida Aquarium await. Just an hour from Orlando, on Florida’s east coast, Kennedy Space Center will dazzle all ages with its hands-on attractions, space simulator rides and collection of rockets and spacecraft.

There also are some great beaches near Orlando and Kissimmee.


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Cyber Monday is here

Book now 5 days and Earn 1 ONE day Free + 10% OFF

@ Valid for new bookings made today 11/28/2022

@@ Rule : 10%OFF plus One Free Night for Stays over 5 Nights

@@@ Instructions : Use the Coupon Code on check out BF2022 and 10% will automatically be applied and we will add one day free after you confirm the booking by our reservation department.

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Conditions Apply :

>One booking per guest

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>Subject to Block Out dates on calendar

>Valid for reservation through Wonder Vacation Homes Website www.wondervacationhomes.com

>Valid for bookings made on Monday 11/28/2022 we cannot update old bookings w this promo, it’s exclusively for new bookings made today !

>Only for particular guests not valid for professional hosts


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🖤 TGI Friday , WVH Black Friday ON 🖤

Book now 5 days and Earn 1 ONE day Free + 10% OFF ( WOW WVH Black FRIDAY)

Valid for new bookings made today 11/25/2022

Rule : 10%OFF plus One Free Night for Stays over 5 Nights

Use the Coupon Code on check out BF2022 and 10% will automatically be applied and we will add one day free after you confirm the booking by our reservation department.

Conditions Apply :

>One booking per guest

>Non Refundable reservations

>Subject to Block Out dates on calendar

>Valid for reservation through Wonder Vacation Homes Website www.wondervacationhomes.com

>Valid for bookings made on Friday 11/25/2022 we cannot update old bookings w this promo, it’s exclusively for new bookings made today !


Happy Thanksgiving from our Family

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!! We are grateful of our wonderful guests as well as the WonderTeam’s outstanding work! 🦃🥧


✨Welcome New Wonder Vacation Homes 🫶✨

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Unit 4800 available now on our website !

book it now , fresh new unit @ Wonder Vacation Homes


Hurricane Nicole expected on 11/10/2022

Hurricane Nicole will make landfall on East Coast , around Vero Beach area ( expected on early hours of thursday 11/10 ) and is heading central florida as a Tropical Storm, with gusts of 65 mph and heavy rain.


We are under severe weather warning issued by Osceola County and Emergency State issued on Florida.Please save all pateo and front porch furnitures inside your home to prevent any flying object to damage or being a projectile during storm.

Any other information please turn your TV and tune news spectrum or any local tv for guidance.In case of emergency call 911 for assistance. Please let us know also to follow up any assistance from us.

Visit FloridaDisaster.org to learn about your county’s emergency plans, warning signals, evacuation routes and locations of emergency shelters.

Stay Safe
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Book Now >> https://wondervacationhomes.com/properties/cozy-3-bd-close-to-disney-enclaves-at-festival-808

Discover the ultimate experience in accommodation where guests embrace a sense of total relaxation, privacy, and comfort.

The brand new gated community Festival Resort is a perfect choice that offers the tranquility of the countryside and the short distance to all of Orlando’s attractions, restaurants, commercial centers, malls, and natural trails. The Downtown Festival consists of a general store, ice cream parlor, arcade, Florida-style bar & grill, fitness center, resort-style heated swimming pool, private cabanas, kids waterpark, beach volleyball court, and a putt golf course.

The community is located directly off I4 in Orlando with short distance to all the Disney World, Universal, Legoland, and SeaWorld attraction parks, restaurants, malls and well-known championships golf courses.

Lavish decoration offers privacy and great accommodation for up to 12 guests.

The ground floor offers a spacious open-plan which consist of the kitchen, sitting & dining area leading to the private lanai, and a bathroom that is shared by the master bedroom with King Size bed. The Washer/Dryer room is nearby the kitchen.

On the upper floor the rooms are furnished with a King Size bed in the master bedroom, and two Bunk beds (Full & Twin sizes bed each) on the third bedroom. Also there is a spacious sitting area with TV and a bathroom.

Featured Amenities:

  • 2 parking spaces in front home
  • Free Wi-Fi 5G
  • Smart TVs
  • HVAC
  • Alarm
  • Security Deposit Box
  • Towels & Linen
  • GameRoom fully Equipped and Themed Harry Potter
  • Access to Resort Amenities Included

Professionally Cleaned , High Touch Surfaces Disinfected, Stocked with New TP, Paper Towel, Hand Soap and more amenities for your Arrival Use ! Bathrooms and Kitchen Surfaces Cleaned with Professional Disinfectant and all Clothes are Washed w Bleach&Soap and Dried on high temperature. Cleaning Team uses Gloves and Masks during all cleaning time.During Pre Arrival Inspection Disinfectant are used again on high touch surfaces.All to be most safe environment for Your Stay !

*Refundable Damage Deposit Required.

Amenities

  • Sauna
  • Jacuzzi or hot tub
  • Bathtub
  • Wifi
  • Family friendly
  • Air conditioning
  • Heating
  • Stove
  • Microwave
  • Coffee/Tea maker
  • Refrigerator
  • Dishwasher
  • Dishes and utensils​
  • Oven
  • Toaster
  • Electric kettle
  • Kitchen
  • Swimming pool
  • Private pool
  • Outdoor pool
  • Fireplace guards
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Table tennis (ping pong)
  • Pool table
  • Tennis court
  • Basketball
  • Water park
  • Spa
  • Satellite TV & channels
  • TV
  • Internet access
  • Parking
  • Street parking
  • Secured parking
  • Lake
  • Shopping
  • Garden
  • Books
  • All unit is wheelchair accessible
  • Smoke detector
  • Fire extinguishers
  • First Aid kit
  • Game console
  • Linens provided
  • Game room
  • Kids allowed
  • Parties/events allowed
  • Fishing
  • Fitness room or Gym
  • Carbon monoxide detector
  • Window guards
  • Balcony
  • Terrace
  • Patio
  • Concierge
  • Towels provided
  • Iron and board
  • Washer
  • Dryer
  • Ceiling fan
  • Living room
  • Laptop workspace (desk, chair)
  • Hairdryer
  • Shampoo
  • Smoking not allowed
  • Pets not allowed

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VRMA 2022 #LasVegas

Wonder Team in Action!💪🏼

Great Moments and Lot of Experience in the VRMA 2022 in Las Vegas. Amazing Convention with Incredible People, Was Nice to See Everybody Again!

and Thanks Again to Avalara for Representing Wonder Vacation Homes at the Convention!💯👏🏼


Hurricane Ian / Update + Curfew 9/29/2022

Newest Update shows Ian as TS on Atlantic Ocean now

Hurricane Ian was one the biggest to reach Florida peninsula ( 20 miles diameter ) and made a lot of destruction on his path, specially on west coast where it made landfall.

Luckily our Central Florida had not so much destruction since it reduced speed from 145 mph cat 4 from coast to almost 65 mph and TS Tropical Storms ( close to Polk County at 2am thu ) when came to our area and better he came lower line position than expected so was even far from original prediction lines…

We got strong winds gusts up to 70 mph and strong rainfall during entire night and until today, now afternoon is light raining and few winds.Much better as Ian came to East Cost today morning and now is leaving our State.

Osceola County Curfew:

Due flood areas and cleaning streets and fixing power utilities , Osceola County has stated the curfew today 09/29/2022 from 9pm to 6am , follow information :

A curfew has been enacted in the city of Kissimmee from 9 p.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday because of major flooding in the city.

It does not apply to essential personnel and people traveling to and from work.

Due to extensive flooding in our community, the City of Kissimmee has issued a mandatory curfew from 9 pm to 6 am until further notice. Remain at home during that time unless you are required to commute for work or are an essential worker.

Ours Communities are safe !


Hurricane Ian Making Landfall In Southwest Florida With Catastrophic Surge, Winds, Flooding 

Hurricane Ian is making land fall right now ( WED 2PM ) at the area of Cape Coral, south of Tampa, and is hitting on Cat4 almost becoming a Cat5 w Winds of 155 mph and moving NE 9 mph, Kissimmee is excepted to be reached straight by a TS Tropical Storms at Thursday 9/29 8AM , of course we are already inside Hurricane Ian Influence almost entire Florida Now, as you can see radar pictures.

All of Wonder Vacation Homes are prepared and our team worked hard those pasts 3 days to prepare all pateo furniture and outside decorations to prevent any projectile that could damage people neither properties.

Stay Inside, Stay Safe and any questions use official authorities information’s link :

https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/emergency-management/hurricane-center/

https://www.nhc.noaa.gov

https://www.floridadisaster.org

https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2022-09-28-hurricane-ian-forecast-landfall-florida-damaging-winds-storm-surge

Lanfall Hurricane Monster Picture now WED 2PM at Cape Coral
Expected Arrival at Kissimmee Area THUR 8AM as TS Tropical Storms

SPANISH

El huracán Ian tocó tierra en el suroeste de Florida con una oleada catastrófica, vientos e inundaciones

28 de septiembre de 2022 por Wonder Vacation Homes

El huracán Ian está haciendo que la tierra caiga ahora mismo (Jueves a las 2 p.m.) en el área de Cape Coral, al sur de Tampa, y está golpeando a Cat4 casi convirtiéndose en un Cat5 con vientos de 155 mph y se mueve NE 9 mph, Kissimmee está exceptuado para ser alcanzado directamente por un TS Tropical Storm

Todas las casas de vacaciones Wonder están preparadas y nuestro equipo trabajó duro esos últimos 3 días para preparar todos los muebles pateo y decoraciones exteriores para evitar cualquier proyectil que pudiera dañar a las personas ni a las propiedades.

Manténgase dentro, Manténgase a salvo y cualquier pregunta utilice el enlace de información de las autoridades oficiales:

Https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/emergency-management/hurricane-center/

Https://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Https://www.floridadisaster.org

Https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2022-09-28-hurricane-ian-forecast-landfall-florida-damaging-winds-storm-surge

PORTUGUESE

Furacão Ian Fazendo Aterramento No Sudoeste Da Flórida Com Onda Catastrófica, Ventos, Inundações

28 de setembro de 2022 por Wonder Vacation Homes

O furacão Ian está chegando na terra agora ( quarta-feira às 14h) na área de Cape Coral, ao sul de Tampa, e está atingindo o Cat4 quase se tornando um Cat5 com ventos de 155 mph e se movendo NE 9 mph, Kissimmee é exceção de ser alcançado diretamente por um TS Tropical Storms na quinta-feira 9/29 8 da manhã,

Todas as Wonder Vacation Homes estão preparadas e nossa equipe trabalhou duro nos últimos 3 dias para preparar todos os móveis pateo e decorações externas para evitar qualquer projétil que possa danificar as pessoas nem as propriedades.

Fique Dentro, Fique Seguro e qualquer dúvida use o link de informações das autoridades oficiais:

Https://www.osceola.org/agencies-departments/emergency-management/hurricane-center/

Https://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Https://www.floridadisaster.org

Https://weather.com/storms/hurricane/news/2022-09-28-hurricane-ian-forecast-landfall-florida-damaging-winds-storm-surge