Orlando Adventure Guide: Top Outdoor Adventures
Get outside, Central Florida, and try one of these amazing experiences.
Battle it Out
Paintball you say? Yes! It’s a great activity for getting outdoors, having fun, socializing with your friends and family and maybe popping them with a glob of orange paint—all in the spirit of fun, of course. Plus, it’s good exercise and an ideal team-building sport. At Battlefield Orlando, near Bithlo, you’ll be outfitted with a mask and paintball gun and given some training on how to use it, plus a few strategy tips for gameplay. Then you’re let loose on the fenced, 32-acre park. There are plenty of mazes and obstacles where you and your team can hide and surprise opposing players. The game is exhilarating and can get pretty competitive. Battlefield Orlando offers everything from traditional rec ball play to big game scenarios to Gellyball (low-impact paintball). Player minimum age range is 10 years for .68 cal, 8 years for .50 cal, and 5 years for Gellyball. Prices vary, but the average rental package rate, which includes admission, rental gun and equipment, air for the gun, and 500 paintballs is $35 per person. battlefieldorlando.com
You’ve seen the Orlando skyline a thousand times, but you’ve probably never experienced it from a kayak or paddleboard, especially at sunset or at night. You and your partner—human or furry—can enjoy an urban adventure on a guided tour of the spring-fed, gator-free waters of Lake Ivanhoe on the north side of downtown. The 1 1/2- to 2-hour sunset tour provides you a front-row seat to fabulous sunset views, with easy access to a host of restaurants after you disembark. Or take a two-hour nighttime tour on a kayak or paddleboard outfitted with an underwater lighting system to give you a unique view of the lake’s ecosystem. Wear a swimsuit or workout gear, and bring a towel and change of clothing. Safety training, paddleboards or kayaks, paddles, dry bags for phones and keys, and bottled water are provided. Kids are welcome. Prices vary by experience, and tips are welcome. epicpaddleadventures.com
Bird’s Eye View
Imagine floating high over the city in a hot-air balloon. This isn’t Carl and Ellie’s house from the movie, UP; this is a truly unforgettable experience over scenic Central Florida in the Orlando, Kissimmee and Disney World areas. Painted Horizons Hot Air Balloon Tours has been operating since 1991, with flights seven days a week, weather permitting. How does it work? First, a fan inflates the balloon with cold air until there is enough for the pilot to begin heating it with the burners. Once heated, the hot air lifts the balloon into an upright position, then everyone can board. The pilot fires the burners again as the balloon gradually lifts gracefully into the air. Since the balloon is floating with the wind, you won’t experience any turbulence. Once airborne, you can simply enjoy the flight and experience the breathtaking views of Central Florida. After landing, enjoy a champagne or sparkling cider toast with pastries, cheese and crackers. Costs range from $210 per person for non-private flights to $530 per couple for a private excursion; $175 per person for parties of four or more; $50 each for children 7-12 when accompanied by two paying adults.
Zebras, giraffes and buffalo—oh my! At Wild Florida in Kenansville, you can see more than 200 animals from around the world on a drive-through safari. The 85-acre park includes animals found on the African savannah and throughout North America, as well as animals found in our native Florida, including Crusher, an American alligator. After the 2-mile drive, you can get a selfie while feeding giraffes, and then visit Gator Park, where you’ll find more than gators: wallabies, sloths, tamarins, lemurs and other creatures from far-flung lands. Want a closer look? Book an encounter with a gator, sloth, lemur or porcupine. Leave time to watch Crusher strut his stuff, see an exotic animal show, or observe an alligator feeding. Tickets for the safari are $33 per adult and $23 per child up to age 13. Gator Park tickets are $14 per adult and $10 per child. Animal encounter prices vary. Florida resident and other discounts are available, along with VIP tours and experiences. wildfloridaairboats.com