EN­TER­TAIN­MENT

Travel Guide to Florida - - CENTRAL FLORIDA -

Florida is anal­o­gous to en­ter­tain­ment, whether that’s in the form of sports, gam­bling or an en­er­getic nightlife.

For an ad­ven­ture the fam­ily will never for­get, point your wagon to­ward West­gate River Ranch Re­sort & Rodeo in Lake Wales. This au­then­tic Florida cow­boy-themed prop­erty hosts a cham­pi­onship rodeo with trick rid­ing, bull rid­ing, calf rop­ing and bar­rel racing ev­ery Satur­day night.

Golf fans flock to Bay Hill Club & Lodge in March to see their fa­vorite duf­fers at the Arnold Palmer In­vi­ta­tional. The month be­gins and ends with Ma­jor League Base­ball’s spring train­ing, a sta­ple in Cen­tral Florida for more than a cen­tury. Lo­cally, cheer on the Detroit Tigers (Joker Marchant Sta­dium, Lake­land) and At­lanta Braves (Cham­pion Sta­dium, Lake Buena Vista).

A hap­pen­ing scene can al­ways be found at both Dis­ney Springs and Univer­sal Ci­tyWalk, the lat­ter of which will keep you jump­ing be­tween Jimmy Buf­fett’s Mar­gar­i­taville and the Hard Rock Cafe. Dis­ney Springs is home to the House of Blues and Planet Hol­ly­wood.

On In­ter­na­tional Drive, try ICEBAR Or­lando, the largest of its kind in the world. En­joy a frosty beer or cock­tail in a 22 F chill while sit­ting on ice blocks, then thaw out in the FIRE Lounge. Down the street, Kings Bowl Or­lando boasts a chef-cre­ated menu and an innovative list of cock­tails. The Outta Con­trol Magic Com­edy Din­ner Show at Won­derWorks presents com­edy with your sup­per, while the Trea­sure Tav­ern Din­ner The­atre fea­tures a cabaret din­ner show suit­able for adults only.

Or­lando’s Camp­ing World Sta­dium plays host to three year-end foot­ball bowl games: the Cure Bowl, the Rus­sell Ath­letic Bowl and the Cit­rus Bowl. In Jan­uary 2018, the sta­dium, for­merly known as the Cit­rus Bowl, will host the Na­tional Foot­ball League’s Pro Bowl.

If you pre­fer soc­cer to Amer­i­can foot­ball, the Or­lando City Soc­cer Club plays in the Ma­jor League Soc­cer (MLS) or­ga­ni­za­tion from March through Oc­to­ber. Or­lando is also home to the Or­lando Magic of the Na­tional Bas­ket­ball As­so­ci­a­tion.

Down­town Or­lando of­fers a slew of clubs and bars where live mu­sic can be heard al­most ev­ery night. Rock out at Back­booth, dis­cover the blues at Tan­queray’s or trip the light fan­tas­tic at In­de­pen­dent Bar.

For a unique evening of din­ner, drinks and danc­ing, board the River­ship Bar­bara-Lee in San­ford, an au­then­tic stern­wheeler pad­dle­wheel ship, for a three-hour tour along Lake Mon­roe and the St. Johns River.

And while there is lit­tle casino ac­tion in Cen­tral Florida, Ocala Poker and Jai Alai in Red­dick hosts poker tour­na­ments and live games, as well as simul­cast wa­ger­ing.

ABOVE: Board­walk in Blue Spring State Park. BELOW: Fer­ris wheel in Old Town Kis­sim­mee.

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