Category Archives: Things To Do

Exploring Celery City with Sanford Food Tours

sanford food tours

What could be better than spending a few hours strolling through a quaint, historic town with regular stops for great food and drinks in interesting, off-the-radar places? That, in a nutshell, is exactly the experience that awaits with Sanford Food Tours.

Launched in 2016 but completely redesigned this year, Sanford Food Tours aims to give visitors a taste of a town that’s quickly becoming one of Orlando’s best food and fun hubs. These days, Sanford’s Historic District is teeming with breweries, independently owned restaurants with seriously good eats, craft cocktail bars, cafes and cool shops. It’s the perfect place to explore on a food tour, which is just what we did this fall. 

Our jaunt on the Celery City Tour began at noon on a Saturday at the Historic Sanford Welcome Center on 1st Street, where our small group of hungry adventurers gathered to meet our guide, Rob, and begin our movable feast. 

From there we wandered to Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe, a Sanford staple that was opened by the Hollerbach family in 2001 and continues to thrive nearly two decades later. With mugs filled with German beer and plates piled high with delicious German fare (including amazing pork schnitzel), we met our fellow tourists and learned about the restaurant’s history and forthcoming expansion. 

 Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe

Onward we went, this time to one of our favorite restaurants: The Tennessee Truffle, where chef/owner Nat Russell warmly welcomed us into his brick-walled space and spoiled us with his house made biscuits and gravy paired with a delicious Florida IPA. 

With a cool fall breeze at our backs, Rob guided us through Sanford with detours by the lovely waterfront and down picturesque side streets, sharing little historic tidbits and fascinating local lore as we walked on to our next destination. 

Tennesse Truffle

A stop at Luisa’s Cellar, a relative newcomer to Sanford, not only revealed cheese and charcuterie plates paired with wine but also a surprising speakeasy, inhabiting the wine bar’s upper level behind a secret door. The game room upstairs, beautifully furnished outdoor patio and bottomless mimosas and sangria every Sunday all tempted us to return again very soon. 

After a quick detour to Magnolia Square Market to gobble a chocolate-covered cake ball, we headed to our final location, The Corner Cafe, where a lively conversation with the owner, giant pours of wine, and perfectly-sized desserts served as the finale to our delightful day tour. Full and happy, we said goodbye to our group and headed on our way. 

Luisa’s Cellar

NEED TO KNOW DETAILS 

In addition to the Celery City Group tours offered on Saturdays and Sundays only, private tours are offered 7 days a week. The experience consists of a four-hour walking tour of Sanford with multiple, changeable stops. Everything but your guide’s gratuity is included in the $65 ticket, which can be purchased in advance here: sanfordfoodtours.com/tours.  

  • Tours take place rain or shine. 
  • Children are permitted but are (obviously) not served alcohol

ADDITIONAL TOURS

Besides the Celery City Tour, Sanford Food Tours also offers the Brews & Bites Tour, which focuses on Sanford’s beer scene. Look to see a new tour focusing on International cuisine to launch later this fall. You can also book private, completely customizable tours and pair the tours with Limo Cycle for some extra-added fun. 

For more details, visit sanfordfoodtours.com

SaveSave

SaveSave

Related Posts

Exploring Celery City with Sanford Food Tours


Check Out Gatorland’s Immersive Gator Night Shine Tour

Gatorland Gator Night Shine Tours

Get ready to be immersed in the dark depths of the Alligator Breeding Marsh at Gatorland. Happening on select nights each week, the adventurous Gator Night Shine tour throws you into the notorious Florida alligator’s natural habitat after dark. You’ll be given just a flashlight to guide your path and a few hot dogs to please the alligators while you make their way through the swamp with a guide.

During the after-dark adventure, a tour guide will take you on an exciting journey through the alligators’ territory. You’ll walk winding paths past the murky waters the alligators inhabit.

Without the flashlight on you may feel alone, but shine it in the water and you will be met with the intimidating glares of hundreds of Florida gators, some of them as big as 14 feet long!

Gatorland Gator Night ShineImage credit: Gatorland

Bonus: your guide will also lead you up close to view other animals like boa constrictors, baby alligators and tarantulas, among others.

Gator Night Shines are offered every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Tours begin promptly at dusk.

The after-hours tour lasts 1.5 hours and attendees are restricted to the Breeding Marsh area.

Gatorland Gator Night ShineImage credit: Gatorland

Tickets

Tickets are $24.99/person and must be purchased at least 24 hours in advance.

Your ticket includes admission, insect repellant, a flashlight, and alligator food. In order for the tour to happen, a minimum of 5 guests must attend. There is a maximum limit of 25 guests each night.

Tickets for Gator Night Shine Tours can be purchased here.

Details

Gatorland
14501 S Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837
407-855-5496
https://www.gatorland.com

Gator Night Shine Tours are offered most every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday evenings. Meet at the south end of the parking lot at dusk to begin the tour.

Related Posts

Check Out Gatorland’s Immersive Gator Night Shine Tour


5 Dates for Couples in the Curry Ford West District

6 Dates for Couples in the Curry Ford West District

Nestled between SODO and Conway lies an area on the verge of becoming the city’s hippest new neighborhood to dine and drink. The stretch of Curry Ford Road from Bumby to Conway is now Orlando’s newest Main Street District, dubbed the Curry Ford West District.

Though a number of the establishments in the district have been open since 2016, the area’s notoriety has increased with the forming of the Hourglass District, also a part of the Curry Ford West District. Add to that all the buzz that comes with housing the city’s best pizza joint (Pizza Bruno), a brewery, and a popular pub, and you have a variety of ways to enjoy date night in this budding district.

Dinner Date

Pizza Bruno
3990 Curry Ford Road

If you are going to have a pizza date in Orlando, your top choice needs to be Pizza Bruno. The laid-back atmosphere, perfect pies, and mouthwatering garlic knots guarantee a memorable meal. The pizza is Neapolitan-style and available in your choice of red or white. Or, try one of the special pie choices on the menu like the Crimson Ghost (Calabrian chilies, Soppressata, fresh mozzarella, basil, hot honey). Pizza Bruno was recently named one of Orlando Weekly’s 55 Best Restaurants in Orlando among numerous other accolades. They have also announced plans to expand to the Mills 50 area and are already serving their wood-fired pizza pies downtown at Orange County Brewers.

PIZZA BRUNO Curry Ford West DistrictPizza Bruno | Image credit: Arlene Laboy

Paint Date

Roque Pub
3076 Curry Ford Road

Everything is better with a drink in your hand. Yes, this includes painting! While Roque Pub offers a bevy of activities during the week, you’ll want to take advantage of Paint Nite on Monday nights. Make your canvas extra creative after throwing back a couple brews from the pub’s selection of 30 rotating craft taps and over 450 craft bottles. If you’re not in the mood for a beer, there’s also a full wine list. The cost to partake in Paint Nite is $45 per person. Other weekly events include Wednesday Night Trivia, Poker Night on Sundays and Thursdays, and Boozy Bingo & Game Night every Tuesday.

Image credit: Roque Pub

Yoga & Brews

Ocean Sun Brewing
3030 Curry Ford Road

Remember when we said everything was better with a drink? Yoga isn’t excluded from that list. Ocean Sun Brewery hosts a weekly taproom yoga and beer class every Saturday morning to get you prepared for the week ahead. Once you’re finished stretching and finding your inner peace, you can enjoy a pint of your favorite craft brew. The cost for the class is $10 and includes the yoga session and a pint of your choice. The brewery is pet-friendly and hosts other weekly activities including trivia on Tuesdays.

Brunch Date

Cafe Madrid Deli & Bakery
4502 Curry Ford Road

Cafe Madrid, which opened just a little over a month ago, offers Cuban and Puerto Rican dishes, a selection of breakfast items, sandwiches, pastries and sweets. Espresso lovers can get their cafe con leche fix, as the cafe brews Cafe Bustelo coffee. Additionally, there are shareable tapas including Tostones with Ceviche and Tostones con Chicharrones de Pollo. Brunchers can enjoy $14 bottomless mimosas on Saturday and Sunday.

Cafe Madrid in the Curry Ford West DistrictCafe Madrid | Image credit: Arlene Laboy

Lunch Dates

Leguminati
2401 Curry Ford Rd
Plant-based eaters have already been flocking to Curry Ford West, as word gets around quick when one of their favorite places has a new location. Leguminati opened in 2015 as a mobile vegan eatery and recently opened their first brick and mortar location inside the Hourglass Social House a few months ago. Be sure you try their fan favorite, the Crunchwrap.

Cilantro’s Taqueria
1427 S Bumby Ave
It seems tacos have taken over Orlando, and what would the new Curry Ford West District be if it didn’t have a taco spot? At Cilantro’s Taqueria, you and your honey can feast on variety of tacos, burritos, and quesadillas in addition to spicy street corn and, of course, guac and chips.

Zaza Cuban Diner
3500 Curry Ford Road
Zaza Cuban Diner has three Orlando locations, and the Curry Ford location is the first. Breakfast combos are available from 7-11am, served alongside espresso and drip coffee. For lunch, choose either one of their platos (your choice of protein and three sides) or a half sandwich combo (half sandwich, one side and drink).

Pho & Roll
3334 Curry Ford Road
Pho lovers can head to Pho & Roll for everything from beef pho to egg rolls. A $9.99 lunch special is offered which includes a summer or egg roll, choice of pho ga, pho tai, pho bo vien, or chicken fried rice and choice of soda or iced tea.

PRO TIP: stop by nearby Lake Underhill Park to take a pre-meal stroll. The loop is 1.3 miles long and offers beautiful views of the lake and the distant Orlando skyline.

Lake Underhill Park | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

About the Author/Photographer
Arlene Laboy is a photographer and writer, UCF alumna, and lover of all things local. A wife and a mother, Arlene shares her love for adventuring around Florida through her Instagram account, @arlenemlaboy. Find out more about Arlene here.

All images by Arlene Laboy unless otherwise noted

Feature image credit: Curry Ford West District

Related Posts

5 Dates for Couples in the Curry Ford West District


5 Out of the Ordinary Things to do in Orlando Before You Die

100 Things to do in Orlando Before You Die

Locals know there’s so much more to do in Orlando beyond the theme parks. But even if you’ve lived in Orlando for years, there are likely dozens of experiences you haven’t had, restaurants you haven’t dined at and quirky attractions you haven’t visited.

Central Florida’s under-the-radar and must-have experiences are the basis for the 2nd edition of 100 Things to do in Orlando Before You Die. Authors John Brown and Jon Busdeker set out to cover 100 ideas with the mission of bringing light to things even the locals haven’t done yet. The book spans the entire Central Florida region so you can really expand your horizons.

You can get a copy of 100 Things to do in Orlando Before You Die from Busdeker’s website or Amazon, but he gave us a little sneak peek below by offering up his top five ideas for date nighters.

Shoot at Zombies

It’s good to have a mate who can survive the zombie apocalypse, right? There’s only one way to find out and that’s at Zombie Outbreak on International Drive. The 9,400-square-foot attraction is like a real-life video game with actors playing the zombies. Good luck surviving…you’re going to need it.

Zombie Outbreak
7364 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
407-745-4068

Play a Mean Pinball

The Pinball Lounge in Oviedo is home to one of the largest concentrations of pinball machines in Central Florida. The retro arcade houses more than 20 machines, with some dating back to the 1960s. Grab some quarters! Enjoy unlimited play on Friday evenings from 8pm-midnight for just $10.

The Pinball Lounge
376 E. Broadway Street
Oviedo, FL 32765
407-495-2875

The Pinball Lounge OviedoImage credit: The Pinball Lounge

Hear bluegrass in Ocoee

For anyone looking for a cheap date, it doesn’t get much cheaper than the Parking Lot Bluegrass Jam in Ocoee every Friday night. For more than 25 years, a dedicated band of bluegrass pickers and musicians have gathered in the parking lot of the Twistee Treat for the open jam session. Just bring a lawn chair and sit back and enjoy the music.

Twistee Treat parking lot
1500 Maguire Road
Ocoee, FL 34761

See snakes in St. Cloud

This may not be something for all the couples out there, but a trip to Reptile World Serpentarium is something you won’t forget. This snake attraction houses more than 75 species of serpents. And every day, owner George Van Horn performs an “Extraction Show” where he removes venom from the snakes and you get to watch.

Reptile World Serpentarium
5705 E. Irlo Bronson Hwy.
St. Cloud, FL 34771
407-892-6905

Reptile World Serpentarium - 100 Things to do in Orlando Before You DieImage credit: Reptile World Serpentarium

Go Antiquing at Renninger’s Vintage Antique Center

Central Florida’s best spot to find antique treasures is at Renninger’s Vintage Antique Center in Mount Dora. Jewelry, furniture, books and just about everything else is for sale at this HUGE market. Stroll around for the day and when you’re hungry, be sure to stop at the Grub Hub Cafe and grab a burger. Trust us.

Renninger’s Vintage Antique Center
20651 U.S. 441
Mount Dora, FL 32757
352-383-8393

About 100 Things to do in Orlando Before You Die

Orlando is known as the Theme Park Capital of the World, but did you know there is so much more to Central Florida than Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld? The region is home to some of the world’s most unique restaurants, events, attractions and activities.

100 Things to Do in Orlando Before You Die is an insider’s guide to what makes Orlando so special. Did you know you can go zip-lining over alligators at Gatorland? Did you know the region’s largest concentration of pinball machines is at The Pinball Lounge? Have you ever been to Lee & Rick s Oyster Bar, one of the oldest restaurants in Central Florida? Whether you’re a resident or a visitor to Orlando, 100 Things to Do in Orlando Before You Die will help you discover the real Orlando.

Related Posts

5 Out of the Ordinary Things to do in Orlando Before You Die


100+ Orlando Cooking Classes in November & December

Orlando cooking classes

This content is proudly supported by Aggressive Appliances

This content proudly supported by Aggressive Appliances

It’s hot in the kitchen, baby! Whether you’re hoping to learn some new skills, pick up some fresh ideas or just have a fun night out together, you’re bound to find something you love from our list of 100+ Orlando cooking classes happening this November and December 2018!

Where to take a cooking class in Orlando:
Truffles and Trifles
Publix Aprons Cooking School (Dr. Phillips and Winter Park)
Tapa Toro
Griffin Cooking School at JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes
Edible Education Experience Chef Night
Chef Nite Orlando
FitLiving Eats
Golden Plum – Chef Susan Ytterberg

Check out our guide to where to take a cooking class in Orlando for more ideas.

PUBLIX APRONS COOKING SCHOOLS

WINTER PARK

Holiday Wine Dinner – Winter Park
Thursday, November 1, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

A Night for the Ladies – Winter Park
Friday, November 2, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 24

Flavors from Underground – Winter Park
Saturday, November 3, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 30, 6pm

Holiday Brunch – Winter Park
Sunday, November 4, 10:30am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Holiday Finger Desserts – Winter Park
Tuesday, November 6, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Gourmet Game Day Grub – Winter Park
Wednesday, November 7, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

The Cheesecake Bible Cookbook Author George Geary – Winter Park – NEW!
Thursday, November 8, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person (***BOGO – Select 2 seats and enter discount code BOGOCH1488 to get one free!***)

An Evening with ONE Hope Wineries and Garrett Boles, Sommelier – Winter Park
Friday, November 9, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Orlando Cooking Classes in November and December 2017Publix Aprons Cooking School

Choice Cuts (2-course) – Winter Park
Saturday, November 10, 7:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$25/person

Couples Cooking: Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres – Winter Park
Tuesday, November 13, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple

In a Nut Shell – Winter Park
Wednesday, November 14, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Quick, Delicious and Easy – Winter Park
Thursday, November 15, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 21, 6pm

Winter is Coming – Winter Park
Thursday, November 15, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 26, 6pm

Shiner Brewery Dinner – Winter Park
Wednesday, November 16, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Seafood Wine and Dine – Winter Park
Thursday, November 17, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

Holiday Brunch – Winter Park
Sunday, November 18, 1pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Gluten-Free Baking – Around the World – Winter Park
Tuesday, November 20, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Holiday Homecoming – Winter Park
Friday, November 23, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Basic Knife Skills
Tuesday, November 27, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$55

Couples Cooking: Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres – Winter Park
Wednesday, November 28, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple

DR. PHILLIPS

Basic Knife Skills
Thursday, November 1, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$55/person
*Also offered November 27, 6pm

A Night for the Ladies – Dr. Phillips
Friday, November 2, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 24, 6:30pm

Surrender to Quality with Wine Educator Thom Horsey – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, November 3, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$55/person

Holiday Brunch – Dr. Phillips
Sunday, November 4, 1pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

The Cheesecake Bible Cookbook, Author George Geary (NEW!) – Dr. Phillips
Friday, November 9, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person (***BOGO – Select 2 seats and enter discount code BOGOCH1439 to get one free!***)

An Evening with ONE Hope Wineries and Garrett Boles, Sommelier – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, November 10, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Choice Cuts (2-course) – Dr. Phillips
Tuesday, November 13, 7:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$25/person

Winter is Coming – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, November 14, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered November 26, 6pm

Seafood Wine and Dine – Dr. Phillips
Thursday, November 15, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

Orlando cooking classesPublix Aprons Cooking School

An Evening with Winemaker Jamie Benziger and Imagery Wines – Dr. Phillips
Friday, November 16, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Shiner Brewery Dinner – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, November 17, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Holiday Brunch – Dr. Phillips
Sunday, November 18, 10:30am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Gluten-Free Baking – Around the World – Dr. Phillips
Tuesday, November 20, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Quick, Delicious and Easy – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, November 21, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Holiday Homecoming – Dr. Phillips
Friday, November 23, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Couples Cooking: Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, November 28, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple

Gourmet Game Day Grub – Dr. Phillips
Thursday, November 29, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Flavors from Underground – Dr. Phillips
Friday, November 30, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

TRUFFLES & TRIFLES

Southern Thanksgiving
Thursday, November 1, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$62/person

Macarons
Saturday, November 3, 10:30am
Truffles & Trifles
$60/person

Soups and Chowder, Salads and Desserts
Monday, November 5, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$58/person

Amazing Thanksgiving Side Dishes
Wednesday, November 7, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$58/person

Tuscan Delights
Friday, November 9, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$59/person

Elegant Dinner Party
Wednesday November 14, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$60/person

Cooking class in Orlando Truffles & TriflesImage credit: Truffles & Trifles

Date Night – Beef and Bourbon
Saturday, November 17, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$150/couple

Holiday Macarons
Monday, November 19, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$60/person

Holiday Cookies and Cupcakes
Saturday, November 24, 10:30am
Truffles & Trifles
$59/person

Amazing Food Gifts
Monday, November 26, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$58/person

Holiday Cookies
Tuesday, November 27, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$58/person

Holiday Cookies, Bars & Brownies
Wednesday, November 28, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$59/person

Holiday Desserts – Pies, Tarts, Cakes & Trifles
Thursday, November 29, 6:30pm
Truffles & Trifles
$59/person

LEU GARDENS

Casual Tuscan Cooking
Tuesday, November 6, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Leu Gardens
$25-$30/person

Irish Soups and Broths
Thursday, November 15, 6:30pm-8:30pm
Leu Gardens
$25-$30/person

One Dough – Endless Delicious Cookies
Saturday, November 17, 10:30am-12pm
Leu Gardens
$25-$30/person

Homemade Jelly Making
Monday, November 19, 1:30pm-3pm
Leu Gardens
$35-$40/person

COCKTAIL CLASSES

Bitters & Brass Cocktail Class
Saturday, November 10, 3:30pm-5pm
Bitters & Brass
$50/person

Where to take a cocktail class in Orlando: Bitters & BrassBitters & Brass cocktail class. Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

OTHER CLASSES

Sushi Class 101| Behind the Knife a Dragonfly Experience
Saturday, November 3, 11:30am
Dragonfly Robata Grill & Sushi
$80

Fall Comfort Food with Award-Winning Chef Susan Ytterberg
Thursday, November 15, 6-8pm
Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden
$110

This Honest Food: Hands-On Cooking Class at the Emeril Lagasse Foundation Kitchen House & Culinary Garden
Thursday, November 15, 6-8:30pm
Edible Education Experience
$65

Holiday Sweets
Saturday, November 24, 11am-1pm
JW Griffin Cooking School – Grande Lakes Orlando
$45/person

PUBLIX APRONS COOKING SCHOOLS

WINTER PARK

Culinary Traditions Dinner Party – Winter Park
Saturday, December 1, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Holiday Finger Desserts – Winter Park
Monday, December 3, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 18, 6pm

Couples Cooking: Soups and Stews – Winter Park
Tuesday, December 4, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple

Gluten-Free Baking – Around the World – Winter Park
Wednesday, December 5, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person
*Also offered December 17, 6pm

Quick, Delicious and Easy – Winter Park
Thursday, December 6, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

The Feast of Seven Fishes – Winter Park
Friday, December 7, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

Seasons Greetings – Winter Park
Saturday, December 8, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Couples Cooking: Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres – Winter Park
Monday, December 10, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple
*Also offered December 20, 6pm

Handmade Pasta – Winter Park
Tuesday, December 11, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Orlando cooking classes

In a Nut Shell – Winter Park
Wednesday, December 12, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Classic Cookies – Winter Park
Thursday, December 13, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 19, 6pm and December 24, 10am

Chef’s Table: Dare to Pair – Winter Park
Thursday, December 13, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$65/person

Seafood Wine and Dine – Winter Park
Friday, December 14, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

An Evening with Lagunitas Brewing Co. – Winter Park
Saturday, December 15, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Cookies with a Twist – Winter Park
Wednesday, December 19, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 24, 4pm

Chef’s Table: Champagne Dinner Party – Winter Park
Friday, December 21, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$65/person

Christmas in Viejo San Juan – Winter Park
Saturday, December 22, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Holiday Brunch – Winter Park
Sunday, December 23, 10:30am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Choice Cuts (2-course) – Winter Park
Wednesday, December 26, 5:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$25/person

New Year’s Eve Celebration – Winter Park
Sunday, December 30, 5pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person
*Also offered December 31, 5pm

DR. PHILLIPS

Culinary Traditions Dinner Party – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, December 1, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Holiday Finger Desserts – Dr. Phillips
Monday, December 3, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 18, 6pm

Couples Cooking: Soups and Stews – Dr. Phillips
Tuesday, December 4, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple

Gluten-Free Baking – Around the World – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, December 5, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person
*Also offered December 17, 6pm

Seasons Greetings – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, December 8, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Couples Cooking: Holiday Hors D’Oeuvres – Dr. Phillips
Monday, December 10, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$100/couple
*Also offered December 20, 6pm

Handmade Pasta – Dr. Phillips
Tuesday, December 11, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

In a Nut Shell – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, December 12, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Classic Cookies – Dr. Phillips
Thursday, December 13, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 19, 6pm and December 24, 10am

Cookies with a Twist – Dr. Phillips
Thursday, December 13, 6pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person
*Also offered December 19, 10am and December 24, 4pm

Seafood Wine and Dine – Dr. Phillips
Friday, December 14, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

Christmas in Viejo San Juan – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, December 15, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$50/person

Chef’s Table: Champagne Dinner Party – Dr. Phillips
Friday, December 21, 6:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$65/person

The Feast of Seven Fishes – Dr. Phillips
Saturday, December 22, 10am
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person

Holiday Brunch – Dr. Phillips
Sunday, December 23, 1pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$45/person

Choice Cuts (2-course) – Dr. Phillips
Wednesday, December 26, 7:30pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$25/person

New Year’s Eve Celebration – Dr. Phillips
Sunday, December 30, 5pm
Publix Aprons Cooking School
$60/person
*Also offered December 31, 5pm

COCKTAIL CLASSES

Holiday Cocktails
Saturday, December 8, 3:30pm-5pm
Bitters & Brass
$50/person

OTHER CLASSES

Cuisine Corner: Holiday Open House
Monday, December 10, 6pm-7pm
Orlando Public Library – Cypress Room
FREE Admission (Registration required)

Holidays Made Healthy: FitLiving Eats Plant-Based Cooking Class
Wednesday, December 12, 6pm
FitLiving Eats
$80/person

Food 101: Chile Peppers
Wednesday, December 19, 6:30pm
Orlando Public Library (Albertson Room)
FREE Admission (Registration required)

Where to Take a Cooking Class in OrlandoImage credit: Fit Living Eats

Related Posts

100+ Orlando Cooking Classes in November & December


8 Ideas for a Crystal River Date Day

8 Ideas for a Crystal River Date Day

Located just an hour and a half west of Orlando, Crystal River is best known for the hordes of manatees that flock to the spring-fed waters of Kings Bay each winter. Thanks to stable year-round temperatures between 72-75 degrees, springs serve as a natural refuge for manatees in search of warmer waters. And with more than 70 springs comprising Kings Bay, it’s no surprise that Crystal River has been deemed the Manatee Capital of the World. It’s also the only place in the country where you’re legally permitted to swim with the gentle giants, hence the area’s popularity.

Beyond getting face to face with a manatee, Crystal River boasts stunning parks and springs, active adventures, historic ruins and kayaking. In light of Orlando-based clear kayaking company Get Up and Go Kayaking’s recent expansion into Crystal River, we figured it was time to shed light on all this Nature Coast city has to offer for couples looking for an adventurous date day trip.

Go Kayaking in a Clear Kayak

Paddle through the crystal clear waters of Hunter Springs and Three Sisters Springs marveling at manatees from a completely clear kayak. Get Up and Go Kayaking recently launched tours in Crystal River inviting you to observe manatees in their element. Manatee season generally runs from mid-November to the end of March. During your tour, you may also spot dolphins, fish, turtles and birds among other native wildlife.

Each tour lasts between 2-2.5 hours and there are even a few spots where you can hop out of the kayak and take a refreshing dip in the cool spring water. Tours begin at $55/person and must be booked online in advance.

Also try:
Rainbow Springs: Just 20 minutes from Crystal River; $50/person

Clear kayaking at Crystal RiverImage credit: Get Up and Go Kayaking

Snorkel with Manatees

Swimming with manatees is an adventure you can only experience in Florida. Crystal River is the only place in the entire country where you’re legally allowed to hop into the water and come face to face with manatees. While you aren’t allowed to approach them, they will approach you, sometimes even rolling over for a belly rub or coming in for a manatee hug.

There are dozens of tour companies offering snorkeling tours including the Plantation on Crystal River ($65/person), River Ventures ($64/person) and Manatee Tour and Dive ($64/person). Tour times vary, but for fewer crowds book early morning tours. While manatee season lasts from mid-November to March, it’s best to go during the colder months.

Crystal River Date Day - Snorkeling with ManateesImage credit: River Ventures

Dive for Scallops

If you want to return for another aquatic adventure, try another Crystal River must-do: scalloping! The season is relatively short, lasting from mid-July to mid-September. If you’ve never scalloped before, it’s relatively easy and suitable for beginners. Because you hunt for scallops in water no deeper than about six feet, all you need is a snorkel, mask, mesh bag for collecting scallops, and fins. Snorkeling along the surface, look for scallops in the grass flats and then dive down to collect them.

The Plantation on Crystal River has a convenient scalloping package, which includes a two-night stay, a guided scalloping tour with all required gear, and breakfast at the hotel. As an added bonus, a chef will also cook your catch!

Stroll the Springs

After greeting a manatee in the water, make your way to Three Sisters Springs where a winding boardwalk will give you a new vantage point on the sparkling blue waters below. The scenic ¼-mile boardwalk features several lookout platforms for spotting native wildlife, including manatees. Day passes to the park are $15 during manatee season and include a trolley tour to and from the refuge. There are also nature trails to explore.

Three Sisters Springs - Crystal River date day ideasImage credit: Three Sisters Springs

Glide on a Segway Tour

Another option for land lovers, Crystal River Segway Tours guides several Segway excursions throughout downtown’s scenic stops. Stops include parks, bridges, downtown Crystal River, picturesque trails and historic points of interest. For the best bang for your buck, book the 1.5-hour tour, which includes two Segway loops and potential manatee sightings.

Grab a Bite

Crystal River may be small, but it’s part of the Main Street America program and features a historic downtown area home to multiple bars and restaurants. For date night bites, try Vintage on 5th for seafood, steak, Southern fare and wine served in a renovated church/cottage from the 1940s. Further south, West 82 Bar and Grill at the Plantation on Crystal River is a scenic stop with a view of Kings Bay. Or, go casual with lunch and drinks at Margarita Breeze, a no-frills waterfront eatery with a tiki bar serving seafood and burgers. Speaking of drinks, Copp Winery & Brewery offers wine tastings of three wines for just $3, in addition to craft beer from their onsite brewery. FYI – the winery and brewery is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Image credit: West 82 Bar and Grill

Hit the Beach

If you decide to stick around for the entire day, head out to Fort Island Gulf Beach to watch the sunset before making your way home. It’s about a 15-minute drive from downtown Crystal River out to the coast where you’ll find a small beach area and fishing pier. Onsite parking is available, and there are also restrooms.

Explore Ruins & Archaeological Sites

Just 15 minutes from Crystal River is Yulee Sugar Mill Ruins Historic State Park. This Florida state park is home to the impressive remnants of a 5,100-acre sugar plantation dating back to the 1800s. Bonus: admission is free! For more historical fun, pay the nominal $3 admission fee to enter Crystal River Archaeological State Park. The Native American site includes six mounds including burial mounds and temple/platform mounds.

More ideas:

For more information, check out http://www.discovercrystalriverfl.com.

Feature image credit: Get Up and Go Kayaking

Disclosure: Get Up and Go Kayaking is one of our valued advertising partners.

Related Posts

8 Ideas for a Crystal River Date Day


A Portland Inspired Date Night

A Portland Inspired Date Night in Orlando

Portland, Oregon is rainy, cold, and about as far from Orlando you can get within the continental US. But I assure you, Orlando and Portland share many similarities.

Perhaps you are most familiar with the Pacific Northwest city of Portland from the popular AMC show Portlandia. The satirical take on this PNW utopia pokes fun at the idealistic young denizens and their tree-hugging, pickle-loving, kale-eating, coffee-sipping ways. Without a doubt, Portland is known nationwide as a “hipster” haven, a mecca for millennials and anyone sporting a sleeve of tattoos or a full-length beard. But what I’ve noticed in my travels is that the civic-minded, local-loving people that define Portland’s personality are not exclusive to the region. You can find some of the flare of Portland in Orlando too, seen in our embrace of local entrepreneurship, cottage businesses, and locally-grown food.

“Keep Portland Wierd,” is the slogan that has put Portland on the map as a city proud of its funky people and one-of-a-kind businesses. Celebrate Orlando’s unique people by supporting these Portland-esque businesses on a Portland inspired date night.

Every year Portland hosts the World Naked Ride–a public group bike ride/protest done…well, naked. To be clear, I’m not encouraging a naked date night rolling around Lake Eola (that’s illegal, just FYI). Keep your clothes on but your love for cycling strong by joining in the monthly Orlando Critical Mass. Every last Friday of the month Orlando bike riders meet at Loch Haven Park and ride around town on a slow roll through the city. Safety is in numbers on these rides which attract hundreds of Orlandoans of all ages.

You can also join a Fleet Farming Swarm Ride to tend to community gardens around the Audubon Park Garden District.

Image Credit: Orlando Critical Mass

Portland is famous for coffee shops and bookstores serving up hot cups of caffeine.  In proper Portland fashion, many coffee shops pride themselves on roasting the beans themselves. Orlando’s local roasters Lineage Coffee, Credo Coffee and Foxtail Coffee take pride in every cup, be it cold brew or cappucino.

Portland is a coastal harbor town surrounded by the lush forests of the Pacific Northwest. The city has taken steps to consciously protect the natural landscape of the city and create parks for its people. Despite having dreary weather, denizens still enjoy the public spaces such as the riverfront, Japanese Garden, and Rose Garden. Enjoy Orlando’s incredible weather and beautiful city parks like Bill Frederick Park, Lake Eola Park, Mead Gardens, Kraft Azalea Gardens and Loch Haven Park.

Kraft Azalea Gardens | Image credit: City of Winter Park

Portland’s famous Salt and Straw ice cream parlor has become nationally recognized thanks to funky flavors like Black-Olive Brittle and Goat Cheese, Honey Lavender, and Avocado Hot Fudge. These brave flavor combos are a hit with those looking for more than just vanilla. Orlando’s own Greenery Creamery offers dairy and vegan flavors of a similar style, such as Black Ash Coconut or Earl Grey Tea. Also try Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream for freshly made ice cream with rotating seasonal flavors.

There’s an iconic scene from Portlandia where Fred Armisen and Carrie Bradshaw’s characters become irrationally obsessed with the life and story of the chicken they have ordered for dinner. No need to ask for Cluck’s family tree; several Orlando restaurants including The Ravenous PigThe Sanctum and Primo promise fresh farm-to-table food that you can be sure is freshly grown, locally reared, and humanely harvested.

Other farm-to-table favorites include: 

The Sanctum Cafe | Image credit: Arlene Laboy

Portland’s Voodoo Doughnut has been featured on the Food Network and the Travel Channel, to name a few. This once Portland-only donut shop has expanded nationwide, including a location in Orlando at Universal’s CityWalk. But the artisanal donut craze inspired by Voodoo Doughnut has taken the country by storm. In Orlando too, you can find freshly crafted donuts at locally-owned shops like Little Blue Donut Co. and Valkyrie Doughnuts.

Another favorite, Orlandough is a cottage business, which means the owner, Liz, makes the donuts in her house. You can place a custom order online, or find her selling donuts at pop-ups around town in partnership with businesses like Kelly’s Ice Cream, The Ravenous Pig, and New General Store. She also does periodic doughnut and beer pairing events at Orlando Brewing. Be sure to follow @orlan_dough on Instagram for the latest on where she’ll be selling and what seasonal flavors she’s cooked up.

Image credit: Orlandough

If you’re missing the Portland vibe, or think that the PNW city sounds too cool to be true, remember that a city is defined by its people. In Portland they screech to a halt for pedestrians, go out of their way to give directions, and greet you with a smile. Portland has rightly earned the reputation as being a friendly place to live and visit due to the kindness its denizens exhibit to neighbors and visitors. If you’re really looking to bringing a little Portland to Orlando, try exhibiting that daily kindness to your neighbors. Watch how it travels throughout the community and soon enough, we may be known as “Portlando.”

Feature image credit: © Universal Orlando Resort 2018. All rights reserved. 

Related Posts

A Portland Inspired Date Night


The Best Orlando Main Street Districts for Date Night

Things to do for Valentine's Day in Orlando

The Orlando Main Streets Program was developed in 2008 as a way to strengthen Orlando neighborhoods as part of the Main Street America movement. Today, there are 10 Orlando Main Street Districts, each with their own signature flair and walkable hub of restaurants, shops, bars and landmarks.

As an added bonus, each district just happens to boast endless activities for date night. Do yourself a favor and visit one–or all–of these districts to support local business and makers while discovering another source of pride for the city where you live and do date night.

Ivanhoe Village is so romantic it was named one of the three Most Romantic Main Streets in 2017! Besides romantic eateries and cozy bars, the district is a haven—literally—for art lovers. Loch Haven Cultural Park is home to multiple theaters and museums including Orlando Shakes and the Orlando Museum of Art. The latter hosts regular hands-on workshops for adults as well as a monthly 1st Thursdays after-hours event. Annually, the park hosts the Orlando Fringe Festival, a multi-day uncensored and unjuried arts festival showcasing performance art and more.

""</p

If you’d prefer to create art instead, Factur is a creative co-working space, which hosts weekly open houses and hands-on workshops, like glassblowing and woodturning.

Dine on shareable tapas at Santiago’s Bodega (try happy hour for $3 sangria and $5 tapas) or watch the sun dip below the horizon from the lakefront patio at Mesa 21 or the rooftop of M Lounge. No matter what you do, don’t leave the district without dessert at Better Than Sex. This sultry dessert-only restaurant is decked out with risqué art on the walls and a decadent menu of naughtily named desserts and chocolate-rimmed glasses of dessert wine.

Santiago's Bodega Orlando happy hourSantiago’s Bodega | Image credit: Stephanie Patterson

Dine & Drink

Play

For a quintessential Orlando date, the Thornton Park District can’t be beat. Here you’ll find the iconic Lake Eola Park, a fixture for weekly community events and too many Orlando proposals to count. You can take to the water in a romantic swan paddleboat for a closer look at the fountain, or walk the paved trail around the lake checking out art installations along the way. The park is also home to the weekly Orlando Farmer’s Market and a community yoga class on Sundays.

Lake Eola Swan Boat rideLake Eola Swan Boats. Image credit: Arlene Laboy

Once you’ve worked up an appetite, there are dozens of restaurants and bars dotting the brick-lined streets. Dine on Southern fare at Soco or snag a table outdoors in the evening at Dexter’s Thornton Park. Both restaurants have patios, delicious weekend brunch menus, and date night ambiance. For dessert, savor artisan ice pops at The Pop Parlour (they’ve even got booze-infused pops) or inventive ice cream at The Greenery Creamery.

Soco

Dine & Drink

Play

yoga in orlandoYoga at Lake Eola Park, Sundays at 11am

On a budget? Orlando’s Mills 50 district is one of the best places to do date night for under $50. It’s also one of the most culturally diverse districts, home to impressive street art, multiple LGBTQ organizations, and restaurants covering a multitude of cuisines. You can’t visit Mills 50 without spending some time appreciating the colorful murals, electrical boxes and dumpsters. Rent a Juice bike by lil’ indies and set off to see how many murals you can find, or follow this self-guided street art tour to visit a few of our favorites.

Black Rooster Taqueria is one of our favorite local taco establishments, and it’s classy enough for a casual date. Prepare yourself to taste the best made-to-order guac in town along with authentic tacos like the Black Rooster Asada and Crispy Fish. Afterwards, head next door to The Guesthouse for craft cocktails served in a classy setting. In Orlando’s Little Vietnam, you can nosh on everything from pho at Pho 88 Vietnamese Restaurant and Laos street food at Sticky Rice to bao at King Bao and authentic Vietnamese eats at Little Saignon. For farm-to-table eats try The Strand, which sources ingredients from local farms and also serves a killer Saturday brunch.

Date Night in Orlando's Little VietnamImage credit: Kelsey Glennon

Dine & Drink

Play

Mills 50 district muralMural by Andrew Spear on Shine & Colonial. Image credit: Arlene Laboy

From a lush 50-acre botanical garden to an indoor food market and enough dessert-centric eateries to earn the nickname of the “dessert district”, Audubon Park has something for everyone. This eco-friendly neighborhood also hosts an assortment of fun events including a weekly community market.

Harry P. Leu Gardens is a fixture of the district, boasting 50 acres of manicured gardens and a monthly movie night (first Friday of most months). Pack a picnic and your favorite bottle of wine to enjoy while you watch a flick outdoors. For a more active date, join a walking food tour with Mosquito County Tours, or hop on your bike to partake in a Fleet Farming Swarm Ride to tend to community gardens.

The central hub for foodies is East End Market, home to a multitude of food purveyors, a coffee shop, Domu (the best ramen in town) and several local vendors. Date night must-dos include the weekly grilled cheese happy hour at La Femme Du Fromage, sinking your teeth into a gigantic Gideon’s Bakehouse cookie, and listening to free live music on the patio each Saturday. Cross the street to savor a scoop of homemade ice cream at Kelly’s (try the Mexican chocolate!). Get your drink on at Redlight Redlight, a craft brewery and beer parlour with more than 30 beers on tap and even more selections available by the bottle.

East End MarketImage credit: East End Market

Dine & Drink

Play

Orlando Events for September 2018Leu Gardens movie night | Image credit: Leu Gardens

The iconic Church Street District is our go-to for a fancy night out in downtown Orlando. Church Street Station, Orlando’s original train station, serves as a centerpiece with dozens of restaurants and bars lining the streets.

The Church Street District dates back to the 1800s so start your date by taking a self-guided walking tour of the area’s historic buildings. This map will give you details and background along the way. Get your game on at Hamburger Mary’s for a round of trivia every Wednesday, or watch a sporting event at Amway Center, home to the Orlando Solar Bears and the Orlando Magic. Soccer fans can celebrate at Lion’s Pride, a dedicated soccer fan bar and restaurant, before heading to Orlando City Stadium for a match.

Classy options for a dinner date are plentiful, from the swanky Kres Chophouse to The Rusty Spoon, owned by James Beard Award Nominee Chef Kathleen Blake. If you’re in the mood for a classic dinner and a movie date, dine at Chela Tequila & Tacos before heading to Cobb Plaza Cinema Café for a flick.

Church Street District Date Night ItinerariesImage credit: Church Street District

Dine & Drink

Play

More Orlando Main Street District date nights:

Related Posts

The Best Orlando Main Street Districts for Date Night


A Discovery Cove Date Day

discovery cove

It’s hard to believe that just a few miles off I-4 there’s a place that will truly make you feel like you’ve been transported to a remote tropical island. White sandy beaches, palm trees swaying in the breeze and the sound of steel drum music playing in the distance might make you think you’ve traveled to the Bahamas. But no, you’re still in Orlando. You’re at Discovery Cove… and you’re about to have an unforgettable date day. 

Hosted by the PR team a few weeks ago, we had the chance to immerse ourselves in this anti-theme park on a warm October day. In short, it’s definitely something every Orlando couple needs to try at least once. Here’s why:

ALL-INCLUSIVE PRICE

Everything is included in your all-day ticket price. Breakfast, lunch, snacks, beverages (including beer and wine), masks and a take-home snorkel, sunscreen, day-use towels and wet suits are all part of your admission. Once you arrive, you can tuck your wallet in your locker (also included in the ticket price) and forget about it for the day. The value is extraordinary. 

Grand Reef

EXCLUSIVE ACCESS

Discovery Cove is limited to just 1,300 guests per day. During our visit, we were told there were about 1,000 guests onsite. It felt like there were about 200 people there. It never felt crowded, we hardly ever saw a line, beach chairs were plentiful, and the lazy river was never congested. 

Dolphin Lagoon

ALL-DAY ACTIVITIES

Lazy River
Float along a tropical river past sandy coves and lush rainforests under cascading waterfalls and through an underwater cave.

Beach and Serenity Bay
Soak up the sun with your toes in the sand or dip into the warm waters (always 85 degrees) of Serenity Bay, the resort’s peaceful water area.

Grand Reef
Grab your snorkel gear and dive into Grand Reef where thousands of tropical fish swim through their coral reef habitat. You can even swim up to an underwater shark exhibit. The exhibit is separated by glass to give swimmers the sense that they are shark diving without actually being too close.

Dolphin Interaction
An optional experience for day guests, you can choose to participate in a 30-minute meet-and-greet in the Dolphin Lagoon with one of the 40+ dolphins that were born at Discovery Cove. The experience includes learning some training techniques and the chance to swim one-on-one with a dolphin.

Explorer’s Aviary
Hand-feed parrots, toucans, and more in the free flight aviary home to innumerable exotic birds.

Map for experiences, dining, snacks and restrooms

FUN ADD-ON EXPERIENCES

SeaVenture
Experience an underwater walking tour along the reef floor, including shark encounters (through a 21-foot long panoramic window), and vistas of schools of fish and floating rays. From $49 per person.

Animal Trek
Opt for a private 90-minute, behind-the-scenes tour of the aviary and otter oasis, plus (possibly) meet an anteater and a sloth. $79 per person.

Other Add-Ons:

  • Swim with sharks
  • Ray feeding
  • Trainer for a day

Lunch!

PRIVATE CABANAS

Renting a private cabana is an added fee beginning at $199. And it’s worth every penny. It’s so great having your own private space tucked away with your own lounge chairs, hammock, locker, fridge filled with drinks, and a snack bar filled with goodies. Your cabana host will keep you stocked all day with snacks, drinks and fresh towels. Inventory is limited so be sure to book early.

Another option is to rent a Day Bed (starting at $69 each) which gives you a nice place to relax in the sun but doesn’t offer the privacy and bonus amenities that private cabanas do.

Private cabana entrance

NEED TO KNOW DETAILS

Cost
It really pays to be a Florida Resident when it comes to Discovery Cove admission. While admission fees can fluctuate throughout the year, you can expect to pay at least $119.00 per adult day pass, which does NOT include the dolphin experience but does include all your meals, parking, etc.

Times
Check in and breakfast begins at 7:15am. It’s a good idea to get there early to get situated. All the waterways are open from 9am – 5pm daily. The park unofficially closes at 5pm.

Location
Discovery Cove
6000 Discovery Cove Way
Orlando, FL 32821

For more details, visit discoverycove.com/orlando.

Lazy river cave

Disclosure: This experience was provided by the Discovery Cove PR team at no cost to the writer.

Related Posts

A Discovery Cove Date Day


Airbnb Experiences and Tours Locals Will Love

Airbnb Experiences and Tours Locals Will Love - Paddleboard Lake Jennie Jewel

You’re likely familiar with Airbnb when it comes to finding an affordable place to stay for a vacation or unique accommodations for a staycation. But did you know the site also offers a host of experiences and tours? There are just over a dozen options in Orlando. A local host guides each experience, ranging from activities like culture and food walks to hands-on workshops. Here are a few of our favorite options for date night.

Beer Tasting in Orlando’s Barley Row

Cost: $50/person
Upcoming dates: November 1, 6-9pm

Do you and your date love craft beer? Pack your Central Florida Ale Trail map for this beer-focused tour which begins at Ivanhoe Park Brewing Company and visits six breweries throughout the Ivanhoe Village and Mills 50 districts. You’ll receive a beer sample at each, plus food at one stop and two brewery tours. The tour lasts for 3 hours. Your guide, Mandy, is an Orlando local and bartender/bar manager with a serious love of craft beer. She founded her tour company, Mosquito County Tours, as a way to support the Audubon Park Main Street District where she lives.

Airbnb Experiences Barley Row Craft Beer TourImage credit: Mosquito County Tours

Paddling in Paradise

Cost: $30/person
Upcoming dates: Multiple dates and times available

Fall is the best time to take advantage of cooler temperatures and enjoy nature, especially on one of Central Florida’s lakes or waterways. This tour will teach you to paddleboard (also known as SUP – stand up paddleboarding) while exploring Lake Jennie Jewel with your guide, Jennifer, of Lake Life Paddle. You can also opt to kayak. The tour lasts two hours and includes instruction, paddleboard or kayak rental and a guided tour on the lake. You’re welcome and encouraged to bring some snacks to enjoy, or save your appetite for lunch at The Waterfront after your paddle.

Image credit: Lake Life Paddle

Walking Food Tour of Mills 50

Cost: $75/person
Upcoming dates: October 21, 12-3:30pm; November 15 & 29, 11am-2:30pm; December 6, 13 & 20, 11am-2:30pm

Mills 50 is one of our go-to spots for a casual and affordable date night, but it’s also rich in culture. Little Vietnam is a fascinating area to explore, and this tour is your ticket to taste your way through this part of the district while learning about the local Vietnamese community in the area, history, culture and art. You’ll also stroll by LGBTQ centers and explore shops and art exhibits. The tour lasts just over three hours, covers a distance of two miles and includes multiple food stops, so wear comfy shoes and arrive hungry.

Orlando's Little VietnamImage credit: Kelsey Glennon

Make Your Own Glass Blowing Art

Cost: $45/person
Upcoming dates: October 20 & 21, 6-7pm

This hands-on glass blowing workshop invites you to learn a new skill and take home an original piece of art. The workshop takes place at Factur, a creative co-working space in Ivanhoe Village. Your workshop host, Thomas, owns Florida Glass House, the studio inside of the Factur space where your workshop will take place. During the 1-hour experience, you’ll enjoy a tour of the studio and a brief demonstration followed by the workshop where you’ll make a piece of your own. Pieces take 12-18 hours to cool so you’ll need to arrange a time to pick up your piece or have it shipped.

Airbnb Experiences for Orlando LocalsImage credit: Florida Glass House / Arielle D’Ornellas

Walking Brunch Tour in Orlando’s Audubon Park Garden District

Cost: $55/person
Upcoming dates: November 4, 11am-2pm

There are so many great restaurants in the stretch of Corrine Drive that comprises the Audubon Park Garden District. This food tour is one of the best ways to experience a few of them in the span of a few hours. You’ll spend three hours exploring foodie stops inside of East End Market and along Corrine Drive. History buffs will enjoy commentary on the history of the area. Alcohol is included in the cost of the tour. This tour is led by Mandy of Mosquito County Tours, the same host who offers the Barley Row craft beer tour and Mills 50 food tours above.

Audubon Park Brunch Tour - Airbnb ExperiencesImage credit: Mosquito County Tours

More experiences to check out:

Feature image credit: Lake Life Paddle

Related Posts

Airbnb Experiences and Tours Locals Will Love


5 Festive Fall Date Night Ideas to Celebrate the Season

It’s time to cozy up with your significant other, head outdoors, and sip your favorite fall drink of choice because the Orlando area is preparing for the change of seasons. Here are five festive fall date night ideas in Orlando to spice up your next night out.

Watch a Football Game

UCF Knights Football
When: Upcoming home games November 1 & 10
Where: 4465 Knights Victory Way, Orlando

There might not be a chill in the air yet, but nothing marks the beginning of the fall season quite like football. Cheer on the UCF Knights at a local home game, a staple of autumn Saturday nights. Filled with food, drinks, and entertainment, this is a fun and affordable night out not to miss. Their next home games are on November 1 and 10 at the Spectrum Stadium in Orlando.

Alternatively, watch football together at one of these local bars.

Image credit: Hannah Green

Pick the Perfect Pumpkin at a Local Pumpkin Patch

Southern Hills Farms Fall Festival and Pumpkin Patch
When: Every Saturday and Sunday in October from 11am-8pm
Where: 16651 Schofield Rd., Clermont

Southern Hill Farms invites guests to take a stroll through their working farm and experience their fall festival every weekend in October. It’s a fun-filled place for adults and children featuring live music, hayrides, a pumpkin patch and fire pits. The farm has thought of every detail down to craft beers, a vintage bakery and food trucks. Admission is $10 per vehicle.

More local pumpkin patches:

Sanlando Pumpkin Patch

Weave Your Way through a Corn Maze

Partin Ranch Corn Maze
When: Weekends October 13-November 3, 10am-5pm
Where: 5601 N Canoe Creek Rd., Kenansville

Partin Ranch is jam-packed with entertainment for the entire day. There’s a challenging 5-acre maze, a large pumpkin patch, $5 dollar combine harvester rides, corn cannons and hay rides. There are also local craft and food vendors. FYI: the venue is cash only and there aren’t ATMs on site. Special events will be announced closer to the weekends. The annual corn maze is held every weekend from 10am-5pm from October 13 – November 3. Admission is $10 for adults and children age three and up. Season passes may be purchased for $20.

More local corn mazes:

Festive Fall Date Night Ideas in OrlandoImage credit: Long & Scott Farms

Sip Vino at a Local Winery

Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards BBQ & Blues Festival
When: October 12 & 13, 10am-8pm and October 14, 11am-5pm
Where: 19239 U.S. 27 North, Clermont, 34715

Lakeridge Winery has invited the top five BBQ Rib Competitors to compete for the winning title as “Rib Champion” at their BBQ & Blues Festival this October. This three-day event features live blues music on an outdoor stage, a Cheese & Wine bar, local arts and crafts vendors, free winery tours and tastings, plus beers and other treats for purchase. Admission is $10 for adults.

More Central Florida wineries to visit:

Orlando events Lakeridge Winery wine and cheese festivalImage credit: Lakeridge Winery

Celebrate Oktoberfest

12th Annual Oktoberfest in Celebration
When: October 19-20, 5-10:30pm
Where: Celebration Town Center
Watch as the town of Celebration transforms for the fall season with the magical opening of their annual Oktoberfest, the old-world German celebration of Crown Prince Ludwig’s marriage. Guests can watch the fall “leaves” fall at 7, 8, and 9pm. Listen to live music, drink some cold beer, or hop on a hayride. Town center is the perfect place to kick off the fall season.

More Oktoberfest ideas:

Image credit: Hollerbach’s Willow Tree Cafe

For even more fall date night ideas, check out our guide to 46 FREE Things to do in Orlando this Fall and 40+ Must-Go Halloween Events for Couples.

Feature image credit: Southern Hill Farms

Related Posts

5 Festive Fall Date Night Ideas to Celebrate the Season


How to Plan an Epic Halloween Horror Nights Date Night

How to Plan an Epic Halloween Horror Nights Date Night

In Orlando the festive holiday season tends to start a little early. And with the start of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights (HHN), the spooky Halloween season has officially begun!

This year marks the 28th year of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights and it includes an experience that is sure to attract some first time visitors. Universal is bringing to life Netflix’s smash show Stranger Things. You might say the hype level is an Eleven (that’s some Stranger Things humor for you).

With this year attracting more guests than ever before, you and your honey might be curious about experiencing this event together. But be warned, Orlando’s premiere Halloween event is not for the faint of heart nor those that don’t plan ahead. So read on for our guide on making the most of a date night, or should we say dare night, at Halloween Horror Nights 2018.

Note: Admission to Halloween Horror Nights is NOT included with regular park admission. You will need a separate event ticket in order to attend. Also, parking is NOT free until after 10pm, so be prepared to pay full price.

Chances are you’ve heard of some of the main attractions this year such as the Stranger Things, Halloween 4, and Poltergeist houses. These headlining houses are worthy of the buzz, but you won’t get the full experience if you overlook the incredible scare zones, shows and original concept houses. Be sure to review the full list of houses, scare zones, shows and rides in advance.

HOUSES

Focusing just on the houses can sometimes lead to disappointment due to the long wait times. Plan out 3-4 must see houses, including at least two original concept houses (ones that aren’t based on a movie or TV show). The original concept houses tend to have less wait times and the creative design team has more freedom with house designs.

READER TIP:
“Get there early and go to your favorite houses first when the lines are shortest. You’ll be able to get through a couple houses and maximize your time together.” [email protected]_pix

Slaughter Sinema at Halloween Horror NightsSlaughter Sinema | Image credit: ©2018 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved.

SCARE ZONES

The spooky scare zones feature intricate themes without the wait times and the enclosed space of a house. Many repeat guests cite the scare zones as their favorite part of HHN. There are five scare zones this year, and two have mini-stage shows that kick off about every 45 minutes. Vamp 85 – New Year’s Eve is a must see for any 80’s fan. The Revenge of Chucky scare zone features a mini show with Chucky the evil children’s toy himself. There is an 80’s theme to many of this year’s features thanks to the headlining Stranger Things house.

STAGE SHOW

There is also an elaborate and impressive stage show featuring Academy of Villains. The Academy of Villains surprised Halloween Horror Night’s diehard fans in their debut three years ago. Hailing from the Los Angeles area, this dance group performs impressive physical feats with incredible synchronization and brings a twisted, high energy to Halloween Horror Nights. This show is a nice way to take a break from the scares and horror.

Tips for a Halloween Horror Nights dateImage credit: @thefloridalocal on Instagram

The lines for the most popular houses can get as long as three hours, with average wait times around at least an hour or more for popular houses based on movies and TV shows. Alternatively, the original concept houses such as Scary Tales: Deadly Ever After, Seeds of Extinction, and Slaughter Sinema are full of detail and unique experiences and tend to have lower wait times.

EARLY ADMISSION

If you have regular park admission to Universal Studios Florida for the day as well as for Halloween Horror Nights that night, you won’t be required to exit the park and come back in for HHN. You’ll just need to head to one of the holding areas. At the time of writing this guide there are four holding areas inside Universal Studios Florida. They are Finnegan’s Bar & Grill in the New York Area; near the Hello Kitty Store in the Hollywood Area; Springfield, USA; and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. For this early admission option, you must enter the park before official park closing for the day.

After about 45 minutes to an hour from park closing, the holding areas are opened up and at least one house in the immediate area will be available to experience with little to no wait. It is wise to map out the event ahead of time and determine which part of the park has one or two houses you want to see the most so you can utilize the proper holding area. You should be able to get through one house right away and then get in line for your next house with little wait time.

EXPRESS PASSES

The alternative to early admission is the Express Pass – and it is going to cost extra. The prices range from $79.99 all the way up to $159.99. The question always is “is it worth it?” And there’s no easy answer to that. Will you get through more houses in less time? Yes. Will it eliminate all waits at all the houses completely? Not so much.

A few important notes: Express Passes do sell out on peak nights, including weekends and dates in mid to late October, so make your decision about purchasing Express Passes well in advance. If you choose to go on a peak night, some wait times can be as long as 2 hours or more for the most popular houses. An Express Pass for Halloween Horror Nights does not guarantee you won’t have to wait in line. On peak nights, the line for the Express Pass can still be up to half of the posted wait time.

READER TIPS:

“As a team member, express passes are the way to go. To give you an idea, the line for Stranger Things was longer than 90 minutes at 6pm. They have hundreds of people that do the stay and scream and get in early (they open certain houses 15 minutes early). When the event actually starts, many lines can be longer than an hour.” -atlippold

“We went last night and always splurge and get the Express Pass. It’s double the price but so worth it. We arrived at 6:45pm and Stranger Things was already at 150 minute wait. Our wait time was 20 minutes! Definitely hit all the houses you really want to see first, then enjoy the rest. The Killer Klowns scare zone is the absolute best!!!!!!” – @mustangcaryn

Universal Orlando Halloween Horror NightsImage credit: ©2018 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved.

GUIDED TOURS

If you’re able to splurge, Universal offers a special R.I.P. Tour where you’ll join fellow fans on a guided VIP tour of Halloween Horror Nights. The tour includes front of the line entry to all houses (once per house), complimentary valet parking, a special lanyard, a pre-tour reception, reserved seating at select shows and Universal Express Unlimited™ ride access (excluding houses). R.I.P. tours begin at $159.99/person and require separate event admission. If you can swing it, this is a pricey but fun way to ensure you won’t have to wait in line and will be able to see all of the houses.

VISIT ON A WEEKNIGHT

I recommend visiting on a non-peak night (such as a weeknight and in September or early October) and that you take advantage of early admission if eligible. It is also recommended that you enjoy the scare zones and shows and a ride or two to get the full value of your event ticket.

PACE YOURSELF

Halloween Horror Nights officially kicks off at 6pm on most nights and generally runs until 1am, so you and your honey could get your fear on for about seven hours. Take breaks, enjoy the experience, and show those scary fiends they are no match for the power of love!

Even if you’ve been to Universal Studios before, Halloween Horror Nights is a different experience and layout. In order to maximize your time it is best to review the official Universal Orlando Halloween Horror Nights map. Take note of the location of your must-see houses and scarezones. The headlining Stranger Things house is near the front of the park (because it has the longest wrap around queue). If this house is not on your must-see list, congratulations, you’ve just saved yourself a ton of time! Start in the back of the park and work your way back to the front.

Over the years the good people at Universal Orlando have learned that special events require special food and drinks. This year the food and beverage game has been taken up a notch. Most of the treats are Stranger Things-inspired so get ready for waffles galore!

WAFFLE TREATS

The Triple Decker Extravaganza lives up to its name, comprised of three waffles with layers of whipped cream, chocolate chips, peanut butter candy pieces, and… jelly beans. Strawberry Shortcake in waffle form gives one last touch of summer as Halloween season creeps in, and Bananas Fosters waffles offer rich flavors of banana cream cheese and hazelnut spread, topped with raisins, walnuts, whipped cream and bananas foster sauce. All three of these waffle wonders are available at the San Francisco Bakery, towards back of the park.

Halloween Horror Nights Orlando foodThe Triple Decker Extravaganza | Image credit: ©2018 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved.

Want something else to satisfy your sweet tooth? There’s the Waffle Ice Cream Pocket Sundae found at Louie’s Gelato Window in the New York area of the park. Strawberry ice cream is sandwiched and pressed between two chocolate chip waffles, then topped with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Sink your teeth into this after escaping from villainous fiends trying to sink their teeth into you.

If you want to fuel up with something more savory, try these favorites:

  • Pizza Fries at at KidZone Pizza Company
  • Fiery Onion Ring Burger at Mel’s Drive-In
  • Chili Garlic Chicken Sandwich at Richter’s in San Francisco

Mel's Drive In Universal OrlandoMel’s “Die-In” | Image credit: @thefloridalocal on Instagram

Cuddling up to your honey between scares can be a fun way to bond. But there is also some benefit to going with a group or another couple, like safety in numbers and all that. Halloween Horror Nights has a bit of a party vibe. Longtime fans often gather and attend in groups. Sometimes following each other through a dark and often sensory overloaded house feels less scary when you’re part of a pack.

Perhaps one of you is more enthusiastic about being scared. Perhaps you’re both a little hesitant. Or maybe you’re both brave and ready to face the scare zones and dark, loud houses together. Whatever your tolerance level for scary stuff tolerance may be, it is best to get it out in the open up front. This way you’re both on the same page and prepared to be supportive of each other if needed. It is fun to push yourself and conquer your fears, but you also don’t want to end up make each other uncomfortable without realizing it. The best way to have a date night at Halloween Horror Nights is to be supportive and understanding of each other’s comfort level.

Take a break from the horror to ride some rides. Some of Universal Studio’s top attractions are open during HHN. This is a great way to experience rides with very low wait times and without having to pay regular park admission.

The following six rides are open during Halloween Horror Nights:

  • Transformers: The Ride 3D
  • Revenge of the Mummy
  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit
  • Fast & Furious Supercharged
  • The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley (Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts)
  • Men In Black Alien Attack

What are your best tips for Halloween Horror Nights? Let us know in the comments!

Feature image credit: ©2018 Universal Orlando. All Rights Reserved.
Select images used with permission from @thefloridalocal

Related Posts

How to Plan an Epic Halloween Horror Nights Date Night


Upcoming Events

  1. 2018 Fall Family Festival

    October 12 @ 3:00 pm - November 14 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  3. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  4. SpaKitty Dinner

    November 14 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  5. The Festival of Trees

    November 15 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  6. FIU’s 32nd Festival of the Trees

    November 15 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  7. School Day at the 2018 Florida Tiny House MUSIC Festival

    November 16 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  8. 10th Annual OrlandoJobs.com Job Fair and Career Expo

    November 16 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0
  9. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  10. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0

Upcoming Events

  1. 2018 Fall Family Festival

    October 12 @ 3:00 pm - November 14 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  3. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  4. SpaKitty Dinner

    November 14 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  5. The Festival of Trees

    November 15 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  6. FIU’s 32nd Festival of the Trees

    November 15 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  7. School Day at the 2018 Florida Tiny House MUSIC Festival

    November 16 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  8. 10th Annual OrlandoJobs.com Job Fair and Career Expo

    November 16 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0
  9. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  10. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0

Join our Fun Network

  1. 2018 Fall Family Festival

    October 12 @ 3:00 pm - November 14 @ 1:00 pm UTC+0
  2. Miami/Brickell Festival of the Arts

    October 20, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - January 15, 2019 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  3. NOVEMBERFEST 2018

    November 14 @ 4:00 pm - November 18 @ 8:00 pm UTC+0
  4. SpaKitty Dinner

    November 14 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  5. The Festival of Trees

    November 15 @ 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm UTC+0
  6. FIU’s 32nd Festival of the Trees

    November 15 @ 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm UTC+0
  7. School Day at the 2018 Florida Tiny House MUSIC Festival

    November 16 @ 9:00 am - 12:00 pm UTC+0
  8. 10th Annual OrlandoJobs.com Job Fair and Career Expo

    November 16 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm UTC+0
  9. Florida Tiny House Music Festival (3rd Annual)

    November 16 @ 12:00 pm - November 18 @ 6:00 pm UTC+0
  10. Orlando Balloon Glow

    November 16 @ 5:00 pm - November 18 @ 10:00 pm UTC+0