In Florida, one of the most popular tourist destinations is Kissimmee in Osceola County. The central Florida city’s proximity to Orlando and everything that location has to offer is also appealing, and many Kissimmee visitors spend a lot of their vacation enjoying Orlando’s activities and attractions. However, there is no reason to leave Kissimmee if you do not wish to do so, as you will find plenty of things to do to keep you entertained as there is something to suit all tastes and ages. It makes sense to plan your vacation in advance to ensure you get the most out of the experience. To help you do so, here are the 20 best things to do in Kissimmee for first-timers.
20. Take the Kids to Aquatica Orlando
If you do not want to go all the way to the various Disney resorts, then a good alternative for some water-based fun is Aquatica Orlando, which is just outside Kissimmee. Some of the features of the water park include a lazy river, wave pools, and multiple slides. There are also on-site restaurants where you can buy something to eat. It is a fantastic activity for families visiting the area to include in their itinerary.
19. See the Animals at SeaWorld Orlando
The official address of SeaWorld is Orlando, but its location is midway between Orlando and Kissimmee. It is one of the area’s biggest attractions, so try to include it in your itinerary. SeaWorld is famous for its whale and dolphin shows, although there is plenty more to enjoy. Other attractions within this theme park include rides, shows, exhibitions, and aquariums. Visitors can also enjoy a wide range of interactive experiences with the animals, although these are usually an additional cost to the main ticket price.
18. Play Golf at Pirates Island Adventure Golf
A fun way to spend a couple of hours in Kissimmee is at Pirates Island Adventure Golf. It is a large crazy golf course with a pirate theme, and obstacles to overcome include a ship, streams, waterfalls, and a tidal lagoon. If you are traveling with kids, then they will have a lot of fun on this golf course. You will find this miniature golf course just outside Kissimmee in Fort Myers Beach.
17. Visit Kissimmee Air Museum
If you are interested in aviation, then a top attraction to visit is Kissimmee Air Museum. The museum houses a vast array of exhibits relating to aviation, and there is also a gun display. However, the highlight of visiting this museum is the old war places. As it is a working museum, visitors may see vintage planes being restored.
16. Have Fun at Flamingo Waterpark Resort
The climate in Kissimmee means that you will probably want to spend as much time as possible enjoying outdoor activities and attractions. Flamingo Waterpark Resort is a place where you can enjoy the amazing climate while also having plenty of opportunities to cool off in the water. There are various slides and pools, along with a lazy river. There are also other activities to enjoy at this resort, including a children’s playground, a bounce house, and arcade rooms.
15. Have a Unique Dining Experience at Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
According to Visit Florida, a unique experience you can enjoy in Kissimmee is a night at the Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament. This attraction combines dinner in an unusual setting with a night of lively entertainment. It is in a replica European castle, and diners enjoy a banquet-style feast while watching jousting and sword fights between Medieval knights. To add to the fun, guests are given colorful crowns to wear.
14. Spend a Day at Old Town
The best shopping destination in Kissimmee is Old Town, which is an outdoor shopping center that has more than 70 boutiques, some of which sell items you cannot get anywhere else. However, it is much more than a shopping center, as there are multiple forms of attraction, including spas that offer pamper sessions and theme park-style rides. There are also multiple family-friendly restaurants in Old Town, serving a diverse range of cuisines. Old Town is open seven days a week from 10 am to 11 pm.
13. Enjoy the Water at Shingle Creek
On the outskirts of Kissimmee and at the headlands of the Florida Everglades, you will find Shingle Creek. At Shingle Creek, there is the Paddling Center, where you can hire equipment to take to the water or book an instructor to teach you new skills. Some of the activities to enjoy are canoeing, kayaking, tandem kayaking, and paddle boarding. There are tours available involving canoes, kayaks, or paddle boards, and an instructor goes along to teach you about the swamps’ ecosystems.
12. Have a Historical Experience at the Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Village
Those who want to learn more about Osceola County and its history should include a visit to the Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Village in their vacation itinerary. It has authentic 19th-century buildings, and the aim is to show visitors what life was like at that time in Osceola County. There is a citrus packing house where farmers would pack their crops ready for distribution and a blacksmith’s shop that boasts a working forge. Two of the highlights of the village are the Lanier Crackle House and the Tyson House. The former is a good example of the era’s architecture, and an interesting feature of the building is the central breezeway, which is an example of natural air conditioning. The latter was the home of James C. Tyson, his wife, and the couple’s 11 children. It is intended as a typical example of families at that time.
11. Swing Through the Trees at Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park Zip Line
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park Zip Line is another attraction that is based in Kissimmee rather than Orlando, as its name suggests. At this attraction, visitors can enjoy an exploration through the trees on suspension bridges, Tarzan-style swings, climbing walls, nets, and zip lines. The course becomes more difficult as you go along, although there is the option to only complete some sections. At the end of the course is the big zip line, and visitors can slide down the zip wire as many times as they want. It is also possible to get tickets for the zipline only, without going on the rest of the aerial course.
10. Take a Helicopter Tour
A fun activity to enjoy while you are in Kissimmee is a helicopter tour. The tours depart from two locations within the city, and there are different packages available. All the flights take you over Kissimmee and the surrounding area, so you can see the city and its rural surroundings from a different perspective. Some of the flights also take you over Orlando, the local resorts and theme parks, and the Butler chain of lakes. Regardless of which package you choose, the pilot delivers a commentary throughout the flight to point out the various sights to the passengers.
9. Go on a Bass Fishing Experience
A former marine and tournament angler runs a business called the Fish Orlando Trophy Bass Guide Service in Kissimmee. The owner takes people out on boat expeditions to fish for bass in the St. John’s River, Lake Toho, and Lake Harris. Although everyone needs a Florida fishing license to participate in one of the excursions, it is suitable for people of all ages, and you do not need any fishing experience as the guide will teach you all the skills you need to know.
8. Enjoy an Adrenaline Rush at Extreme Jet Ski of Orlando
Despite its name, Extreme Jet Ski of Orlando is located along the shores of a Kissimmee lake. The center offers jet ski instruction and jet ski rental. As the lake is so large, there is plenty of room for riders to have some fun on the jet skis. For those who want to enjoy the lake at a slower pace, the center also rents fishing boats, fishing equipment, paddle boats, and kayaks.
7. Watch a Performance at Osceola Arts
There are two theaters at Osceola Arts, which is Central Florida’s arts center. While the larger theater is used for Broadway-style shows, modern plays are performed in the smaller of the two theaters. The arts center is also used for various exhibitions throughout the year, including a monthly exhibit of fine arts by local artists. Check what is on before departing for your trip to Kissimmee and book tickets in advance if there is something on that interests you.
6. Take a Tour of Chocolate Kingdom
Chocolate lovers will enjoy taking a tour of the Chocolate Kingdom, which is a chocolate factory in Kissimmee. Visitors to the factory can enjoy a tour of the facilities and learn about chocolate production. Each tour lasts for approximately one hour, and they begin with a walk through the cacao bean greenhouse. Throughout the tour, visitors are invited to try a sample of the chocolate at each stage of its production. There is also a museum about the history of chocolate and a gift shop.
5. See the Monument of States
One of the most significant landmarks in Kissimmee is the Monument of States. It is a symbol of American unity and was constructed after the attack on Pearl Harbor in World War II. The monument was the idea of a local doctor, who wrote to the governors of the 48 states that existed at that time, asking for donations of local rocks. The doctor, Charles Bressler-Pettis, used the rocks to build the tower by embedding them into concrete slabs with labels indicating each rock’s origin.
4. Go to Gatorland
Gatorland is a wildlife preserve and theme park in Kissimmee that aims to conserve alligators. It is known for being the home of four rare white alligators, known as leucistic alligators. There is a natural breeding marsh with thousands of crocodiles and alligators, and visitors to the preserve can view the animals from either the observation tower or a boardwalk. Other things to enjoy at this attraction include a petting zoo, an aviary, educational talks, reptile shows, and zip lines that travel over alligator-filled waters.
3. Visit the Museum of Military History
Vacation Idea recommends a visit to the Museum of Military History. The museum is a tribute to those who have served the United States, and it covers many aspects of military history. Some of the wars on which the museum focuses include the American Civil War, the Vietnam War, World Wars I and II, and the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Gulf. Exhibits at the museum include photographs, weapons, written and oral accounts, and uniforms.
2. Take an Air Boat Ride
Kissimmee is surrounded by swamps and wetlands, and the best way to explore these areas is by taking an air boat ride. Not only are air boat rides a great way to see the surroundings, but they are also a lot of fun. The air boats carry 17 passengers, and there are various lengths and types of trips on offer. These include half-hour and hour-long trips in the daytime, 45-minute nighttime trips to see the alligators, and sunset tours.
1. Spend the day by Lake Tohopekaliga
According to hotels.com, one of the best things to do in Kissimmee for first-timers is to spend the day at Lake Tohopekaliga, which is commonly referred to as Lake Toho. The lake sits on the edge of the city, and it is home to Lakefront Park. There are hiking and biking trails in the park, and it is also home to a vast array of wildlife, including waterfowl, gators, and otters. Lakefront Park also has a splash area and a children’s playground.
Written by Liz Flynn
Read more posts by Liz Flynn