Orlando Adventure Guide: Top Nature Adventures

From exploring our amazing local springs, to soaring through the air, these nature adventures are a must-try!
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Clear Cruising

For a peaceful adventure in nature, spend an afternoon drifting along the crystal-clear waters of Rock Springs in Apopka in an equally crystal-clear kayak. It’s the best way to view surrounding wildlife such as otters, fish, birds, turtles and alligators, both above and below the water. Get Up and Go Kayaking leads kayaking tours in Rock Springs as well as 13 other locations throughout the Sunshine State. The Rock Springs tour lasts 2 to 2 1/2 hours and begins with an intermediate paddle upstream (a good upper-body workout), followed by a leisurely float back to the starting site. There are spots along the way to take a refreshing dip in the brisk 70-degree waters, so be sure to bring a swimsuit. Each kayak is a tandem, but it’s possible to paddle solo as well. The cost is $67 per adult (18 or older), $49 per child, ages 3-17. Weight limit is 250 pounds per person, not to exceed 425 per kayak. Reservations are required. Good to know: A portion of each booking is donated to Conservation Florida. getupandgokayaking.com

Hang Gliding At Wallaby Ranch Adventure Getaway


Up, Up and Away

Maybe flying isn’t one of your superpowers, but at Wallaby Ranch in Davenport, it can be. With instruction and the help of aerotowing (i.e. being towed by a plane), you can soar like an eagle—maybe even alongside one—up to 2,000 feet in the air. Then, for about 15 magical minutes, you can fly free over the 500-acre ranch and safely land on your wheeled hang glider. You’re likely to see wildlife such as deer, reptiles and birds (though no wallabies) from your otherworldly perch. When not flying, you can enjoy a gourmet communal breakfast and lunch, a hike or swim, a climbing wall, or a kids’ playground complete with a Dr. Seuss-inspired treehouse. The ranch has gained fame in recent years through visits from celebrity guests including NBC’s Today show host Al Roker and actress Kate Hudson. Past participants have included all ages, from a three-year-old pre-schooler to a 100-year-old thrill-seeker. Flyers must weigh between 35 and 230 pounds. Tandem flights are available at $175 each, or $215 with a GoPro video. No reservations are required. wallaby.com

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Soar Above the Fray

Want to ratchet up the fear factor in your next zip lining adventure? Try traveling 30 mph 65 feet in the air over Nile and Cuban crocodiles and 130 of their menacing alligator kinfolk. That’s what you’ll get at Gatorland’s Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, voted “Best Zip Line in the USA” by AOL Travel. Multilevel launches catapult you on a 1,200-foot daredevil journey through the treetops and over a pond filled with large predatory reptiles. Five zip lines are available. Oh, and let’s not forget the swinging bridge you’ll cross over the park’s main walkway. Participants must be at least 36 inches tall and weigh less than 275 pounds. Wear closed-toe shoes and avoid wearing skirts, dresses or short shorts. Helmets and harnesses are provided. You’ll have to leave cameras and phones in a locker, but don’t worry: You’ll still earn your bragging rights if someone can vouch for you. Each one- to two-hour experience includes safety training. The $69.99 price includes all-day admission to Gatorland. Reservations are required. gatorland.com



Ride the Waves

You don’t have to go to the coast to wakeboard. Orlando Watersports Complex is a boat and cable park operation offering some of the wildest fun you can have on the water. It’s also one of the largest cable wakeboard parks in the U.S. You have a couple of options when choosing your wakeboard style: pulled by cable or by boat. If you’re new to wakeboarding, take a lesson with one of OWC’s instructors. Orlando Watersports offers a 15-minute, one-on-one “Get Up Guarantee” coaching lesson for first-timers. Lessons are also available for anyone looking for some nice tips and tricks for staying up on the wakeboard. There’s even a 10,000-square-foot Aquapark with a beach area and more than 40 features for those seeking a different kind of water adventure. Prices vary, but a beginner lesson with the Get Up Guarantee is $75, which includes a four-hour pass with gear (helmet, vest, board) on the day of the lesson. orlandowatersports.com

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