Best Places to See Wildlife in Central Florida
Orlando may not seem like an obvious vacation choice for nature lovers but beyond the roller coasters and shopping malls lies the world of Florida wildlife. From shy tortoises to sunbathing alligators, Florida boasts nearly 700 species of animals, many of which are found nowhere else in the world. For a chance to get an up-close look at Florida’s most unique animals, you’ll definitely want check out these three wildlife watching spots in Orlando.
Manatee Watching at Blue Springs State Park
Comical yet graceful, manatees have an almost otherworldly quality. In fact, sailors long ago mistook them for mermaids and scientists today consider them part of the Sirenia order, a reference to the sirens of Greek mythology. These gentle giants inhabit the waters around Florida and migrate inland to the warm springs during cooler months. You can respectfully observe this protected species during the winter at Blue Springs state park from a boardwalk around the springs that provides excellent vantage points.
Encounter Alligators on an Airboat Ride
Whether you think these grinning reptiles are cute or terrifying, it’s almost certain there is one lurking beneath the surface of any body of water you encounter in Florida. Keep a safe distance and enjoy a professionally guided airboat tour in the Orlando area to observe them in their natural habitat. Airboats glide effortlessly over the networks of reeds and marshes, giving you a peek into the lives of the alligators and the many fish, bird, and turtle who share their home.
Birding at Tibet-Butler Preserve
Take a walk on the wild side at this nature preserve just around the corner from Walt Disney World. As part of the Great Florida Birding Trail, Tibet-Butler Preserve is home to more than 100 bird species including hummingbirds, woodpeckers, and owls. If you prefer not to traipse through backcountry alone, the preserve offers educational classes and guided hikes, and is also home to the Vera Carter Environmental Center which includes hands-on exhibits.
If you’re hoping to do some wildlife watching while on your Orlando vacation, consider staying at Clarion Inn at Lake Buena Vista. Located just down the street from Walt Disney World and with easy access to Interstate 4, our hotel is the perfect base for those hoping to explore the animal world. Amenities including a buffet restaurant and free in-room Wi-Fi provide everything you need for a relaxing stay. Book your room today by calling 407-996-7300.