By KEVIN FRITZN
A trip to Florida is not complete without experiencing the thrills and fascination found in the state’s iconic theme parks. Lucky for you, the most revered of those attractions are within driving distance to one another. From Tampa to Orlando, Central Florida is the undisputed king of theme parks. So put on your fun hat and be prepared to be thrilled.

ORLANDO’S HIGHEST
  • Dr. Doom’s Fearfall: Riders are skyrocketed 185 feet in the air with more thrust than a 747 jet.
  • Ko’okiri Body Plunge: This Volcano Bay water park attraction features a 70-degree fall and 125 feet of white-knuckle fun.
  • Orlando Balloon Rides: An untethered, scenic adventure aboard hot-air balloons reaches heights of up to 2,500 feet.
  • Orlando Heli-Tours: Soar 1,000 feet above Orlando’s top attractions and incredible fireworks shows.
  • The Orlando StarFlyer at ICON Park: The 450-foot-tall attraction provides sky-high thrills at speeds up to 45 mph.
  • Skydive Space Center: An 18,000-foot fall makes this home to one of the world’s highest tandem jumps.
  • The Sling Shot at Magical Midway: This thrill ride launches riders 390 feet high.
  • Wallaby Ranch, Hang Gliding Flight Park: Enjoy a bird’s-eye view from a hang glider as you’re towed 2,000 feet in the air.
  • Warbird Adventures: A 100-percent hands-on experience takes you up to 8,000 feet in a vintage military aircraft.
  • The Wheel at ICON Park: Standing 400 feet tall, this is the tallest observation wheel on the east coast.

Introduced in 2018, SeaWorld Orlando’s Infinity Falls is a twisting and turning river rapid ride that showcases a lush South American jungle environment and native animals that call this habitat home. Wind your way around soaking fountains and waterfalls as you pass the remains of an ancient civilization. The 1,520-linear-foot, four-minute adventure features a vertical elevator that lifts rafts in preparation for a 40-foot drop—the tallest drop of its kind— into churning and exhilarating waters. The

Infinity Falls adventure ends at Harmony Village where you’ll find interactive experi- ences educating and inspiring guests about conserving freshwater ecosystems.

After braving Infinity Falls, enjoy other SeaWorld Orlando adventures, shows and animal encounters.

Located next to Shamu Stadium, Sesame Street opened within the SeaWorld Orlando complex. Walk around this new six-acre neighborhood and visit Big Bird’s Nest, Hooper’s Store and all the famous characters. Rides include Big Bird’s Twirl ‘n’ Whirl and Super Grover’s Box Car Derby, among others.

The Killer Whale Up-Close Tour gives guests the opportunity to learn about the park’s majestic killer whales in brand new ways. And the popular Dolphin Nursery is interactive and includes large windows, giving guests the chance to see mothers and young dolphins up close. Throughout the animal-themed exhibits at SeaWorld Orlando, you’ll learn about the park’s ongoing work in the rescue and rehabilitation of sick, injured and orphaned wildlife—more than 35,000 animals over the past 50 years.

Nearby, Discovery Cove, an all-inclusive day resort with a list of interactive animal adventures, welcomes guests to swim with both dolphins and sharks. The dolphin swim experience offers the opportunity to interact with a dolphin including an unforgettable swim and a dorsal fin tow. The awe-inspiring shark swim allows guests to enjoy closer-than-ever encounters with several species of these legendary predators.

The shark program teaches kids how shark finning and overfishing threaten many shark species. SeaWorld Orlando donates five percent of the proceeds from this attraction to the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation (GHOF) in support of shark conservation and research. The Shark Swim experience is available to Discovery Cove guests 10 years and older.

Discovery Cove also features a Ray Feeding experience, which gives guests the chance to feed cownose and southern stingrays as well as thousands of tropical fish before embarking on a private, guided swim of the Grand Reef.

Aquatica, SeaWorld Orlando’s Water Park, features high-speed water slides, exhila- rating wave pools, and 80,000 feet of sparkling white, sandy, artificial beaches to the delight of all ages. This one-of-a-kind water park is also home to Ihu’s Breakaway Falls, a multi-drop tower slide.

As well, a new adventure, KareKare Curl, opened last year. It seats two passengers in each circular raft and features a 35-foot drop down an enclosed tube slide, providing a high-adrenaline, weightless water park thrill.