Starting off as a modest production house and staging two of the Bard's plays around two decades ago, the Orlando Shakespeare Theater today has a permanent house to feature an entire catalog of Shakespeare's works. The 50,000 square foot complex houses various theaters. Aside from staging the works of the Bard through 29 in-house productions, adaptations of prominent books are also undertaken such as Robinson Crusoe, A Christmas Carol, Dracula and Frankenstein.
If you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, Lake Eola is an ideal escape without having to leave the city. The lake is a part of a park complex that includes a lovely walkway, which encircles the lake and serves as a running track. The park is a whopping 43.2 acres (17.48 hectares), which makes it easy to feel like you really have left the city. Visitors can use the picnic facilities located throughout the park, or rent a boat to take out onto the lake.
Mary, Queen of the Universe Shrine is officially named as Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe. This Roman Catholic Church is located in Orlando and was just an idea in the 1970s, but became a reality in the 1980s and 1990s. Originally built to accommodate the tens of millions of Catholics coming to the area on vacations, the church offers a place for travelers to worship or attend Mass among magnificent statues, sculpted entryways and adorned walls. On the church's property, you will also find beautiful gardens, a museum and a gift shop.
Disney's Typhoon Lagoon is a dynamic water park with much more than just water slides, although it does have those in abundance. At Shark Reef, if you dare, you can snorkel in salt water with real sharks and tropical fish. Go early or stay late to learn how to surf in one of the world's largest wave pools. If you are searching for a more classic water park, Typhoon Lagoon has these attractions as well. Take a ride on the slow and relaxing Castaway Creek, let the little ones play in Ketchakiddee Creek, or go for the big thrills with speed slides or a water coaster!
This lovely 50-acre botanical garden is situated on Lake Rowena and promises to offer visitors a chance to escape into Old Florida. Wander miles of paved paths through forests of giant camphor, oaks and palms. The formal Rose Garden is one of the largest in the South, but don't pass up the opportunity to visit the herb, butterfly, palm and bamboo gardens as well. Towering over all this natural wonder is the Leu House. Built-in 1888, it now serves as a decorative arts museum.
This sculpture collection is housed in a Mediterranean-style building that served as home to the renowned Czechoslovakian sculptor from 1949 until his death in 1961. Prior to his Florida retirement, Polasek had served more than 35 years as chair of the Chicago Art Institute's sculpture department. Visitors can stroll through three galleries and a three-acre sculpture garden, gazing on the master's paintings and his classical sculptures. The latter are heroic in style, chiseled with an attention to muscle and sinew reminiscent of Michelangelo's works.
While renowned for the conglomeration of Disney-inspired parks that lay scattered across its greater limits, Orlando has also always packed in a diverse range of sights and experiences apart from its animation-inclined wonders. Surrounded by lakes, Orlando has seldom rested on its Disney-driven laurels, and instead built an enriching cultural hub around the tenets of history, art and music. Downtown Orlando is a captivating mix of history and culture, replete with quiet, leafy avenues that are dotted with independent boutiques and shops, an array of art museums and galleries, and concert and theater venues that offer some of the best entertainment. It is also packed to the brim with an eclectic range of bars, cafes and restaurants that differ from one another in terms of budget and cuisine, as well as streets that come alive during festival season. After the star-studded allure of Orlando's Disney parks unravels, travelers typically find solace in this versatile city's quieter core.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is one of the major events centers in the city established in the year 2011. It was built in the under the guidance of the renowned architect Barton Myers. It has spaces like Walt Disney Theater, Steinmetz Hall, DeVos Family Room and the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, all of which are well-equipped with modern light and sound installations. If you are a lover of performing arts then do visit this place while in the city.
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is located in the heart of downtown Orlando. This sprawling center is home to the Walt Disney Theater. Experience the arts with their state-of-the-art sound and light system and facilities. Their schedule features the best in Broadway, musicals and performing arts such as The Phantom Of The Opera and I Love Lucy. The complex is also ideal for hosting pre- and post-performance events.
The 250-odd seat Mad Cow Theatre is a prime venue in Orlando to host plays, music concerts, dances or musicals. The annual Orlando Cabaret Festival finds itself a permanent venue at the Mad Cow Theatre. Before the popular movie Sweeney Todd lit the big screen, one of the places it ran as a successful musical was the Mad Cow. Adding to the list of popular musicals featured often is the Fantasticks. Comedies such as Present Laughter or analysis of human nature in A Number have been other features to earn standing ovations.