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While many people head to Orlando, Florida for the purpose of visiting Disney World or Universal Studios, the fact is that it is possible to book a hotel on International Drive and spend an entire week exploring this one street. Here are a few examples of the family fun that can be enjoyed on International Drive simply by walking a few blocks.
As every parent knows, many children consider McDonald’s to be a five star restaurant. As it happens, one of the most interesting of all McDonald’s restaurants is found at one end of International Drive. Located on the corner of Sand Lake Road and International Drive, this particular restaurant is touted as the world’s largest McDonald’s and possibly the biggest fast food restaurant in the world.
The combination of food and fun for kids cannot be surpassed. In addition to a full sized gallery of video games on the second floor, the structure boasts a twenty-five thousand feet tubular maze that is loaded with twists, turns, and other amusements. While the kids are playing, the adults can use the high-tech electronic consoles to book hotels, order tickets to other amusements around the city, set up car rentals and other forms of transportation, and enjoy a gourmet lunch. Yes, you can still get a Big Mac and some fries if you like.
Just down the street at 8201 International Drive is the well-known Ripley’s Believe It or Not® museum. Billed as Orlando’s original “odditorium,” Ripley’s has over ten thousand square feet of exhibits that run the gamut from the amusing to the bizarre. The four hundred plus exhibits include a matchstick Rolls Royce made from over a million matchsticks and a fertility statue from Cameroon with an interesting history.
For those that prefer the more esoteric, there is a headless chicken that lived for eighteen months and the petrified corpse of a man that may be as much as twenty thousand years old. Hardly a high tech phenomenon, Ripley’s still has the ability to hold the attention of the most jaded child with its range of exhibits and brainteasers. One word of warning: Ripley’s is not the sort of place that you can see in an hour or so. Set aside a morning or afternoon to enjoy all the exhibits.
If interactive exhibits are more your speed, there is always Wonder Works, located at 9067 International Drive. A unique structure that appears to be a building turned upside down, Wonder Works contains over a hundred exhibits that invite guests to become part of the fun. Visitors can experience the feel of an earthquake that would register 5.3 on the Richter scale, and settle down on a bed of nails for a quick nap. There is virtual basketball that will pit you against a seven-foot contender. For anyone that ever wondered what it feels like to be in a NASA space suit, here is your chance. There is also a magic show at Wonder Works that is ideal for all ages. Dubbed the "Outta Control Magic Show," the production is available twice nightly during the summer months. You can enjoy the mysteries of magic while enjoying unlimited amounts of pizza, washed down with your choice of beer, wine, or soda.
Things can get a little warm in Orlando, especially during the summer. Cool off with a visit to Wet N Wild located at 6200 International Drive. There are thirty acres of all sorts of water sports, tube rides, water slides and more. Try out the Flyer and the Bubba Tub for some fun but fairly moderate water rides. For those who want more adventure, check out the Mach 5 and the Black Hole. Maximum delight for the true thrill seeker may be a cyclone-based experience called the Storm. When everyone is ready for something more sedate, grab a tube and enjoy a relaxed glide down the Lazy River. With something for everyone, Wet N Wild can easily be a stop for the entire day.
The Pirate’s Dinner Theater, located on the corner of Carrier Drive and International Boulevard, offers fine dining with typical swashbuckling pirates as the entertainment for the evening. Before the show, families can enjoy a trip to the King’s Festival, where there is a chance to enjoy medieval festival exhibits, including face painting. There are also chanced for family photos and some quick appetizers before you get down to the main meal. The show itself has a full range of sets, including the decks of pirate ships, plenty of wonderful music, and lots of action. The menu is sophisticated enough for adults but simplistic enough for most children to enjoy as well.
International Drive in Orlando has plenty to amuse everyone. With several excellent hotels and plenty of amusements, this is one part of Orlando that is ideal for the whole family.