It’s rare that you get a full-on rainy day in Orlando. Usually the storms roll in between 2PM and 6PM and leave in an hour or two… if not a minute or two. You do get that occasional day though when it starts raining and you still want to get out of the house or hotel room, but don’t want to be outside in the elements. Where should you go?
- Visit Artegon Mall. This mall isn’t like traditional malls. There’s a trampoline center, indoor mini golf, a relatively quiet movie theater, and tons of little local shops set up more like an indoor market than a mall. There’s also Gods and Monsters comic shop, the second largest comic store in the US, which often does events on weeknights and weekends.
- Escape Rooms. There are TONS of escape rooms in Orlando. Check them all out, figure out which one interests you the most and has availability. The best ones book up quickly, so try to make your reservation a day or two ahead of time if possible!
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not. This one I only recommend if you have kids. As a grown adult, it is only an okay experience, but the younger kids around us seemed to be having a blast. Check Groupon and Living Social ahead of time. There are almost always special deals available. If you don’t find anything there, buy your ticket ahead of time on their website to save a few dollars per ticket.
- Bowling. There are a ton of nice bowling alleys in the area – Splitsville in Downtown Disney, King’s Bowl on International Drive, and Boardwalk Bowling near UCF are my favorites. There’s also a small bowling alley in Fashion Square Mall near downtown Orlando that is both new and very well-priced.
- Skating. There are a few skate rinks in the Orlando area – for ice skating, hit RDV Sportsplex in Maitland. If you prefer roller skating, try Skate Reflections in Kissimmee, Astro Skate on Goldenrod by the 408, Semoran Skateway in Casselberry, and Let’s Skate Orlando in Winter Garden (not Orlando.) Personally, I prefer Semoran Skateway. The floors there are beautiful, plus there’s a decent-sized beginner’s/kids rink in the back. It’s not the best rink for beginners though; there are no walls to hug! Time to practice your toe stops and t-stops. If you time your trip right, you may be able to catch a game before or after your skate session – hockey, roller derby, or even curling!
- Museums. Orlando has a couple of great museums on the other side of town. My personal favorite is the Orlando Science Center, just because I’m still a kid at heart who loves dinosaurs, touching things I’m not normally allowed to touch, classic rock laser shows, and the occasional traveling gross body/bodily function exhibit. If science isn’t your thing, there’s also the Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of American Art, the Morse Museum of Art (known for its Tiffany collection), and theOrange County Regional History Center.
It should be noted that both of these attractions require parking in the parking garage at Pointe Orlando, one of my least favorite parking spots in Orlando, which probably affected my decisions more than it should. The paid parking situation is terrible and the validation policy seems to change at Pointe Orlando every time I’m there. Most locals agree with me and will avoid that area like the plague.
Wonderworks! Want an indoor, interactive experience with an almost vaguely science museum-ish atmosphere? Give Wonderworks a try! (Warning: It does get packed during the rain! Get here early or experience lines both to purchase or pick up tickets as well as throughout the attraction. It seems like all of the tourists go to Wonderworks to escape the rain… but you’ll still have to stand outside in the rain for awhile waiting to purchase your ticket.) Buy your ticket in advance online for a discounted rate!
Hard Knocks laser tag. Who doesn’t like laser tag? Hard Knocks has a fairly unique experience. Players are given realistic-looking guns and actual missions to complete. Play long enough and you can actually get a fairly decently work out between all the running and hauling around the heavy pack.
Why only honorable mention? It can be fairly pricey unless you qualify for one of their specials (Ladies Night, Armed Forces Night, etc.) Plus, it is admittedly a little awkward in there. It’s one of those places where it is very obvious that they cater to the stereotypical 12 year old boy, with thin, busty young women in tons of makeup and skimpy clothing in the instructional video. All of the people who work there are attractive young women as well. Looking around, it was obvious that we were not their target audience. It was still fun though once you got over that aspect of the business.