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.
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.
Orlando Science Center is a glistening structure that looks like the product of a meeting between Greek-Roman architects and Star Trek engineers. The analogy applies to the activities inside as well. The museum strives to teach kids (and adults) about classical science using modern, hands-on, sometimes high-tech activities. The museum houses themed exhibit halls where patrons can explore the human body, modern technology, the solar system and other topics. The exhibits often change, so you can always learn something new. Its eight-story CineDome is billed as one of the world's largest movie theaters where they show large-format nature/technology films.
The Orange County Regional History Center allows visitors to explore 12,000 years worth of Central Florida history. The detailed exhibits go as far back as the Seminole Wars, and cover everything from natural disasters to the arraignment of Ted Bundy. You can even find out what Orlando was like before the establishment of Walt Disney World. Be sure to explore the gift shop for some excellent souvenirs.
One of the world's premier amusement parks, the Universal Studios Florida was opened to great fanfare in 1990, and since then has become one of the most visited theme parks in the world, with millions of guests per year. The park is split into several different sections that resemble locations from some of the studio's most popular ventures, which include the like of the Islands of Adventure and Universal CityWalk. The park's famous Jaws ride is one of the park's oldest and most popular attractions to date.
A historical depot and block, featuring a state-of-the-art retail center and entertainment zone, the Church Street Station is a popular tourist attraction in Orlando, Florida. This commercial establishment also includes a SunRail stop, which is a famous commuter rail service in the Greater Orlando region. The iconic depot was built in 1889 by the South Florida Railroad Company and served multiple railroads up until 1926. During the early 1970s, the station and surrounding buildings were developed into an entertainment and commercial zone, featuring bars, lounges, restaurants and event spaces. This revamped Church Street Station today serves as one of the prime nightlife destinations in Downtown Orlando.
The CityArts Factory is situated in the Downtown Arts District and displays one of the largest art collections in Orlando. This is not your typical art gallery, since there are astounding presentations of visual and performing arts. The CityArts Factory building contains six independent art galleries on the first level, with the SAK Comedy Lab located on the second level. Special events are held every third Thursday of each month.
One of the largest public library in Florida, Orlando Public Library offers a wide collection of rare books, audio tapes, recorded music, DVD's and films to its members. Spread over an area of 2,90,000 square foot, this library boasts five meeting rooms and three computer labs, where the members can sit and do their research online. Some of the departments present in this library include Children's Library, Genealogy, Reference Central, Law and Library Central. Apart from boasting a unique collection of educative material, this place also hosts a variety of events like story telling, literary readings, bilingual story session and many such others.
Established in 1989, Lake Eola Heights is a historic district. It features roughly 570 buildings and is one of the oldest and architecturally-diverse locations in Orlando. The streetscape is stunning and features several brick structures amidst greenery. The Historic Preservation Board takes due care in restoring the buildings that create a serene and architecturally-supreme atmosphere consciously preserved over the years.