Five things to do in Orlando (except … that)

This is the only time you’ll see the expression “theme park” in this post. Orlando has a lot to offer outside that. So, if you’re headed down there for a convention or a family trip, keep these other attractions in mind, and explore the depth this city has to offer. Plan ahead, and you can avoid the “Mouse” trap!

  1. Make a glass, buy some art: Go to Keila Glassworks, and look for the guy with the dredlocks down to his ass. Check out his art: it’s stunning. Charley Keila, the genius behind the place, offers glassblowing classes, so ou can get a taste of the act of creation.
  2. Stay in an “art” hotel: Pass on the major chains, and stay at the EO Inn. Don’t sweat the fact that it doesn’t have a restaurant; that’ll force you to get out and find a place.
  3. Drink at a bookstore: Urban Think! has a bar in the bookstore. Grab a book (I suggest Home Game: An Accidental Guide to Fatherhood, the latest by Michael Lewis), and chill for a bit at the bar.
  4. Try to fly: Strap on a harness, climb a ladder and let the wind whip through your hair. Grand Lakes Orlando has zip lines that stretch for tk meters.
  5. Leave: Get out to Winter Park, and see the upscale side of the Orlando area. Cruise the lakes on the Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour, and then wander along tk-street. Stop for a glass of wine at one of the wine bars that dot the sidewalk.



Photo of the Day (2.21.09)

If you’ve been to the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, then you might recognize this exhibit. You know, the one that hangs from the ceiling of the lobby as you walk in? Dale Chihuly’s “Fiori di Como” (or “Flowers of Como” — as in, Lake Como in Italy) is a glass masterpiece that covers a 70 x 30 foot area with over 2,000 colorful glass elements. It’s one of many cool sights to behold in the City of Sin, which was recently named by as America’s emptiest city. So, despite a dwindling population, we must remind ourselves that there are still just as many awesome things to see and do in America’s other city that never sleeps.

This photo comes to us from jerry.r.lem, who has a gorgeous and well-organized collection of photography on his Flickr profile.

If you are a fan of Chihuly’s glass art, then you’ll certainly find this one inspiring as well, which is found in Phoenix [click for a larger view and slide show of his other works].

The amazing contrast of the fiery glass amid cactus plants really drives home the hot, dry Arizona surroundings, don’t you think? Chihuly’s work can be found all over the country. To find an exhibit close to you, visit his exhibition and gallery schedule here.

If you have some great travel shots you’d like to share, be sure to upload them to the Gadling pool on Flickr. We might just pick one as our Photo of the Day!