Everyone goes to Florida to bask in the sunshine, but sometimes the weather has other ideas. If that’s the case, just pick up an umbrella and tiptoe toward a great indoor activity. Here are a few suggestions to keep you hopping and happy until the rain lets up.
Two veteran Cirque du Soleil performers are the nimble masterminds behind Planet Obstacle, an out-of-this-world destination where anyone can become an acrobat. Laying claim to the title of “world’s largest indoor obstacle park,” Planet Obstacle encompasses a fantabulous trampoline playground (complete with trampoline dodgeball, basketball, aeroball and bungee areas), as well as aerial ropes courses, Ninja Warrior courses for both kids and adults, rock climbing walls, and, of course, bumper cars. There’s a toddler play area for the under-three crowd, and you can bounce into the Sky Café for a bite.
Eat, drink, and be merry at Wondermade, an artisanal marshmallow company located in an old-fashioned storefront in historic downtown Sanford, about an hour north of Orlando. You can guzzle a mug of hot chocolate and feast on extra-scrumptious marshmallows with flavors like Key Lime, Cookies & Cream, S’mores, and Birthday Cake, and then try one of Wondermade’s oddly delicious ice cream concoctions, including cornbread, avocado, and maple bacon. The crafty confectioners offer family make-your-own-marshmallow workshops and tours of the kitchen, plus private tours, special events, and field trips too.
With four floors of interactive, investigative fun, the Orlando Science Center is a great place to discover dinosaurs and other wonders of nature, try out some new technology, report the weather on the green screen of a make-believe TV news set, explore the planets, learn what it’s like to be an engineer, dabble in 3D printing, and maybe even meet a slithering snake or tortoise from the Animal Ambassador program. Their 11,000-square-foot Kids Town is filled with hands-on fun and experimentation for junior scientists up to age seven. Catch a 3D film or “Science Live!” demonstration, or settle in for a mind-blowing show on the giant-screen CineDome.
Learn about the origins of chocolate — starting with cacao in the tropical rainforest — and then follow along to hear how it’s made into bonbons and bars at the Chocolate Museum, where you can also gaze in astonishment at famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Mount Rushmore carved entirely from chunks of chocolate. After that tempting introduction, you’ll have a chance to sample and compare fabulous chocolates from around the world. Still hungry? Wander over to the Café, where the specialties include a variety of hot chocolates, volcano cakes, and molten chocolate fondue.
Four mind-bending escape rooms, 50 arcade games, and 10 lanes of kid-sized boutique bowling are all ready to brighten your day at District Eat and Play, in the Oviedo Mall just north of Orlando. It’s a group-friendly party zone, complete with a restaurant and sports bar too.
Prepare for a joyous burst of color at the 70,000-square-foot Crayola Experience, located in The Florida Mall. There’s a rainbow of activities for all ages—you can watch crayons being made, paint with wax, name and label your own crayons, experiment with augmented reality to bring your scribbles to life, meet crayon characters, solve puzzles with a “magic” tablet in the adventure lab, and plenty more. Crayola Experience also offers a two-story playground for restless young artists, and their new Kaleidoscope attraction lets visitors shape-shift into multifaceted works of art.
By Laura Beausire