Cool and fun things to do in Kissimmee Florida include nature excursions, adventure activities, and amazing places to eat. Oh, and theme parks, if you must! I particularly crave nature excursions and adventure activities in Central Florida and am not disappointed.
Kissimmee might have the most fun jobs in the world. I met a young lady thrilled to handle baby gators and reptiles, a balloon pilot/captain for over 20 years, and countless amusement park entertainers. Thousands of happy people create, maintain, and foster these and other cool, happy, and fun things to do in Kissimmee Florida.
Fun Things To Do in Kissimmee Florida
1. SeaWorld Orlando, Universal Orlando Resort, and Walt Disney World Resort
Gotta face facts, most people visit Kissimmee to go to at least one theme park. When visiting the Central Florida theme parks, you are probably staying in Kissimmee Florida. Because of the city’s proximity to all of the funness, I like to call it Kidsimmee (McCool Travel trademark hereby claimed).
— Charles McCool ✈️ (@CharlesMcCool) November 17, 2017
Originally called Fish and Wildlife Institute, and later Snake Village, Gatorland in 1998 transitioned from a gator farm to pure entertainment. Gatorland has 2,200 onsite gators and about 300 offsite—in doctors offices, citrus centers, and attractions like Boggy Creek (see below). Buddy is the biggest gator in park, perhaps 15.5 feet but has actually not been measured. Volunteer to measure him when you visit!
Gatorland houses 4 of the 14 known white leucistic alligators in world. Leucism is lack of pigment in the skin but not the eyes. Leucistic alligators are much rarer than albino (or white) gators, of which there are thousands.
The Screaming’ Gator zip line adventure features 5 lines and a 150 ft swinging bridge. One zip line is handicap accessible. Riders must wear closed shoes because you soar over crocs and gators; you do not want any toes to be snapped off.
Also allow time to experience the new Stomping’ Gator Off-Road Adventure ride and explore the Swamp Walk—a truly wild natural habitat with a boardwalk over bobcats, snakes, and more.
Buy your Gatorland tickets in advance and save money, time, and stress.
>>> See also Louisiana Bayou Tour at Greenwood Gator Farm
3. Boggy Creek Airboat Ride
At the headwater of the Everglades, Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures offers a spectacular opportunity to see real nature photo spots in Florida. Several hundred gators at Boggy Creek belong to Gatorland. A Native American Village and mine (for gems and fossils) provide educational opportunities.
— Charles McCool ✈️ (@CharlesMcCool) November 15, 2017
Airboat rides, however, are the primary reason to visit Boggy Creek. Choose from 1/2 and 1 hour, sunset or night rides. Take advantage of the option to drive the airboat yourself. So fun and within an hour drive from Orlando airport.
Buy your Boggy Creek airboat tickets in advance and save money, time, and stress.
A Boggy Creek Airboat Ride is one of our favorite day trips from Tampa.
4. Cowboy for a Day at Forever Florida
McCool Travel note: as of October 2019, Forever Florida closed its gates to eco-tourism and returned to its roots as a conservation organization, providing a home for native species.
At Forever Florida, participate in the only dude ranch experience in the southeast USA. Blake is a former rodeo pick up man, trains horses professionally, and set up cowboy for a day program about two years ago. The program is 100% hands on, you do whatever the ranch foreman would do. He rotates five herds of cattle between 30 pastures on 470 acres, every day. Depending on the day, cowboy tasks include ear tagging, branding, roping, doctoring, and castrating. This is an authentic cowboy experience, designed by a cowboy, run by a cowboy, work with cowboy.
Forever Florida has its own air landing strip, two cabins for overnight guests (sleeps 6 and 8 persons), a 1500 foot zip line roller coaster (the only one on the world), and grass fed beef raised on property. They also run summer camps and specialize in autism training. The ranching operation makes a profit and supports all the nonprofit activities.
5. Kissimmee Hot Air Ballon Rides
OK, this section is hypothetical because our balloon did not get off the ground. Hey, no weight jokes. Our balloon launch failed when the tank developed a gas leak and the pilot, captain, or whatever he is called said it was first time in over 20 years. My luck! So, better for me to write that one day I will take a balloon ride than for you to watch a video of my fiery demise.
The people at Orlando Balloon Rides are super chill and fun but also extremely careful and professional. They could not apologize enough and bent over backwards to try and get us up. If not for our return flight home that day, we would have tried the next day. My newfound friends from Getting Stamped enjoyed their ride in a different balloon.
>>> See also Fun Things to do in Central Florida
6. Fun Places to Eat in Kissimmee Florida
There are hundreds of places to eat in Kissimmee and here are a few favorites. Try mouth-watering BBQ on brown paper trays at 4 Rivers Smokehouse.
At the theme parks, the ribs at Morimoto Asia in Disney Springs and the seasonal risotto at Mythos in Universal (once rated the top theme park restaurant in the world) are always wise choices. Savor a 100% grass-fed raised on site beef burger at Forever Florida and choose a signature biscuit (like Hamabama) at Holler & Dash.
7. Where to Stay in Kissimmee Florida
Central Florida is the vacation rental capital of the world and you may find a fantastic deal on a condo, apartment, or house (some McCool Travel tips here). Amazing hotels in all price and quality levels exist throughout Kissimmee. I once stayed in a hotel for $17 through Priceline.
At the other end of the spectrum, on my last visit, we stayed at glamorous and luxurious Gaylord Palms and watched the preview of the ICE spectacular. Gaylord Palms features an Endless Entertainment program throughout the year, including daily gator feedings. McCool Travel tip: look for special deals on weekends, because conventions dominate their weekdays.
— Charles McCool ✈️ (@CharlesMcCool) November 14, 2017
We hope you enjoyed our look at some fun, happy, and cool things to do in Kissimmee Florida. Enjoy your time at Disney World, Universal Orlando, and the other mega parks but please allow time to explore and savor the amazing nature and adventure activities in Central Florida.
For some fun road trips from Orlando, see Best Scenic Drives in Florida