by the fairway

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There's more to Florida than theme parks, beaches and shopping - there is a whole host of stunning wildlife and a world of natural beauty just waitng to be discovered.



There are so many different nature attractions in Florida to choose from that we've focused only on the Orlando area, but there are still plenty to choose from and cover activities from hiking to twitching. Some of the nature attractions around Orlando are also free to enjoy and using our villa as a base, you can explore and discover the natural secrets of Florida to your heart's content.

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Harry P. Leu Gardens

These botanical gardens and butterfly sanctuary are a beautiful place to walk and enjoy in the warm Floridian sunshine. Featuring the largest formal rose garden in the state of Florida, these gardens are an ideal way to spend a day surrounded by nature. You can also visit the historic Leu House Museum as part of your tour of the gardens. The Harry P. Leu Gardens also hosts weddings and event nights throughout the year. The gardens are open from 9am to 5pm daily.

University of Central Florida Arboretum

With over 600 different plant species over 82 acres of land, the Univerisity of Central Florida Arboreturm is a horticulutrist's dream. You can phone ahead and book a guided tour of the arboretum with one of the university's botanists. It is free to enter but has a $3 parking fee. Trail maps are available online as well as a host of other resources.

Tibet-Butler Preserve

With 440 acres of wildreness, visitors can walk around the Tiber-Butler Preserve for miles exploring the natural Floridian wilderness. The preserve features pine flatlands, swamps, marshes and Florida scrub. The preserve is home to foxes, bald eagles, gopher tortoises and bobcats, barred owls, river hawks as well as a host of other birds. There is a picnic area, butterfly garden and even a sandbox. Open Wednesday to Sunday from 8am to 6pm with free admission.

Wekiwa Springs State Park

Whether you are walk , cycling or driving, Wekiwa Springs State Parkis open to you from 8am to 6pm. You can hike the trails that wind through th park or you can take to the famous Wekiwa River. The park is home to wild turkeys, black bears, deer and a variety of different species of birds. There are guided trail rides on offer and you can even get canoe and kayak tours from $25 per person. The entrance fee for the park is $6 for a 2 to 8 person vehicle, $4 for single occupant cars and $2 for pedestrians and cyclists.

Wild Florida

When looking for a different approach to nature, you can always take a ride on one of the airboats at Wild Florida. Paying for the airboat ride also gives you complementary access to the Wild Florida Gator Park to see alligators, eagles, birds and the beauty of the Florida wetlands. One hour ride on the airboat is $47.50 per adult and $37 for children, though you can ride for half an hour for only $26.50 per adult and $23 per child.

Kelly Park

Kelly Park is a very popular public park found in Apopka, Florida and is best known for it's free-flowing natural spring and Rock Springs. You can enjoy the park by hiking trails, visiting the bird sanctuary or simply by putting on your swimwear and enjoying the natural spring. The park has lifeguards stationed at the spring when the park is open. The park has a capacity of 280 vehicles that is normally reached by midmorning, so be sure to ger there early. The cost is $5 per vehicle. If you are running late, another 50 vehicles are allowed into the park at 1pm.

Other nature attractions in the Orlando area include Mount Dora, Big Tree Park, Bok Tower Gardens, Howell Branc Preserve, Orlando Wetlands Park, De Leon Sping State Park,  Blue Spinrg State Park, Forever Florida, Lake Eola Park, Lake Tohopekaliga (Lake Toho for short), Nature Conservancy's Disney Wilderness Preserve, Tosohatchee Wildlife Management Area, Mead Botanical Garden in Winter Park and Ocala National Forest.