The Kissimmee area was originally named Allendale, after Confederate Major J.H. Allen who operated the first cargo steamboat along the Kissimmee River – the Mary Belle. It was renamed Kissimmee when incorporated as a city in 1883. Today, it offers the most adventure and best attractions on earth. Moments to Orlando, a Kissimmee vacation puts you right in the middle of all the activities and attractions that turn family vacations into experiences that last a lifetime.
10. Hot Air Balloon Ride
If you are looking for something different to do, then taking a hot air balloon ride is definitely one of the best things to do in Kissimmee. There are many companies that offer rides from 4-20 people, as well as breakfasts that range from a picnic table on-site to a full breakfast at a restaurant. Imagine floating effortlessly across the natural pristine beauty of Florida while touring areas that have never been touched by a human hand. This would be an experience that you would always talk about, and never forget.
9. Shingle Creek Regional Park
This regional park is an urban oasis at the Florida Everglades Headwaters and has been recently included on America’s Great Outdoors list and it was named as the Shingle Creek National Wildlife Refuge by President Obama. It preserves more than 450 acres along its banks and runs a total of 1000 acres. There are three entrances with most popular being Steffee Landing, where visitors can take part in a multitude of recreational opportunities including paddling, hiking, biking, wildlife watching, and visiting the historic Steffee Homestead. Another favorite entrance point is the historic Babb’s Landing and the northernmost navigable waters. The old Babb homestead is well-kept, including pole barns and ancient vehicles; as well as a reconstructed pioneer village. There are wide boardwalks and paved paths, wide open fields, massive oaks decorated with Spanish moss, and wild meadows. This is a park that requires lots of time to fully explore so plan accordingly.
Set a day to the side and drive 75 minutes east from Kissimmee to Cocoa Beach. This beach has 72 miles of sun-bronzed Atlantic shoreline, which is the ideal setting for lounging, shopping, surfing or deep-sea fishing. Or take a 90 minute drive west to Clearwater Beach with pristine white sand beaches, clear gulf waters to cool down in and warm sunshine where colorful shells arrive every time the surf splashes. While there, visit the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and meet winter, the world’s most famous dolphin. Regardless of which direction you decide to go, a family or romantic getaway to the beach is almost a must for a Florida vacation.
7. Osceola County Historical Society Pioneer Village and Museum
The Pioneer Village is comprised of a permanent collection of authentic structures which once upon a time stood in different areas of Osceola County. Here you can have a feel for what it might have been like living in the hot Florida frontier in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, with some of dwellings being occupied into the 1980’s. Come anytime between 10AM – 4PM for a self-guided tour. Information panels and maps are available on-site. Included in the tour are the General Store, which was originally the 1887 home of the Tyson family of Narcoossee, a one-room schoolhouse where grades 1-8 were taught simultaneously by a single teacher, and the 1889 Lanier Cracker House, which derived its’ name from the cracking sound of cowboys’ whips filling the air as they drove herds of lean cattle through the scrub brush of Osceola’s open ranges. Admission for adults is $7 and children 4-12 years old are $3.
6. Green Meadows Petting Farm
A great place to visit in Kissimmee is the Green Meadow Petting Farm, which is a fun combination of rides, farm animal attractions and special events for you to enjoy all year including La Fiesta Latina, Monster Trucks and Cowboys, and the Corn Fest. There is hands-on learning with guided tours to educate children and adults about farm animals by touch, sight, smell and sound. Bella the milk cow and Elmer the water buffalo live at Green Meadows Farm along with a small village of 300 tame animals are very friendly and love to be fed and touched. You can ride a pony, milk a cow, or enjoy a train ride or a hayride. During the summer months, the farm is fully shaded with huge oak trees, keeping visitors cool and comfortable. It is fun for kids and adults of all ages.
5. Chocolate Kingdom
This is the most unique chocolate experience in North America as it is part museum, part candy store, and part chocolate factory. They present it as an interactive journey led by the Personal Chocolate Tour Guide who joins forces with a handsome Prince and his Dragon sidekick to discover how cacao seeds metamorphose into trees and then transform into chocolate confections before visitors’ very eyes. During the journey, you will travel to the Cacao Tree Greenhouse, go through a one-of-a-kind Chocolate Museum, experience a Mystical River of Chocolate, and see a Micro Batch Bean-to-the-Bar Factory utilizing old world machinery. At the end of your adventure, guests will be able to create a customized chocolate bar out of 16 different ingredients. Indulge your passion for all things chocolate on this 45-minute adventure tour.
4. Silver Spurs Rodeo
The Silver Spurs Rodeo was first introduced in 1944 during the height of World War II in order to encourage local citizens to purchase war bonds. Today, it is now held twice per year and is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi. It has been annually ranked as one of the top 50 events sanctioned by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. For more than 70 years, fans have been moved by heart-pounding feats of daring and courage. The variety of events showcases bull riding, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, and barrel racing, daredevils, and cowboy clowns. The spring rodeo takes place the last weekend in February. The summer event takes place the first weekend in June.
3. Kissimmee Lakefront Park
If you are only doing a weekend visit, then invite your friends to the lakefront park along the shores of scenic Lake Tohopekaliga . There is a three-mile paved trail, basketball court, BBQ grills, boating, fishing pier, horseshoe pits, picnic areas with a pavilion, playground and volleyball court, a splash pad and a concession stand. They even have event and civic lawns, along with an outdoor open stage for festivals and events. The lake is 18,800 acres and is known as one of the best lakes in Florida for bass fishing; plus there is a marina that is owned by the city that sells bait and fishing tackle. Take some time to relax and spend a quality afternoon with your friends and family. After all, you can always spend tomorrow rushing to the other attractions in and around town.
2. Fun Spot America
Many people want an amusement park that is cost effective, fun, and not overcrowded. Fun Spot America fills this need, making it on the list of top tourist attractions in Kissimmee. This amusement park was opened in 1990 by the Aire’s family, and still remains a family-owned business today. They have the world’s tallest SkyCoaster, standing at 300-feet tall and combining the thrill of skydiving and hang gliding, Flying Bob’s so you can bobsled in Florida, and multi-level go-kart tracks including the Vortex, a track that reaches four-stories high and includes a famous 32-degree banked curve. The best thing about all of these rides is that it’s up to you how fast and high the ride goes. For those who want to bring the kids along, they have Kid Spot which provides children 2-6 years old gentler versions of the adult rides including kiddie bumper cars, a small roller coaster, carousel and more.
1. Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament
This is a family dinner theater featuring staged medieval-style games performed by a cast of 75 actors and more than 20 horses. The show changes every three to five years with new show in the making and expected to be released in the fall of 2016. Walk across the drawbridge that spans the moat of Kissimmee Castle and be transported to 11th century Spain. An epic battle is about to happen right before your eyes with a live jousting tournament and hand-to-hand combat. Sit mesmerized while knights in shining armor show off their horsemanship, swordsmanship, and falconry skills while you are served a four course, utensil-free meal. You can choose which knight to show favor to just like during the medieval times.
Kissimmee is a family-oriented destination known for its off-the-beaten-path adventures, endless sunshine and proximity to world-famous theme parks. In addition to the theme parks, there is a wild side places to visit in Kissimmee to explore. Lush landscapes create the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures. Whether it’s zipping through treetops, gliding across the headwaters of the Everglades or soaring above it all in a hot air balloon, there is sure to be a thrill for you.