Orlando, Florida might be known for being the home of Disneyworld, but there are more things to do in the city and its surrounding areas than visit the theme park. However, there are many historical sites located in the area that offer some respite from traditional family fun activities. Start by spending some time at one or more of these four places.
– Robert Bruce Barbour House, 656 N Park Ave, Winter Park, FL 32789
The Robert Bruce Barbour House was built in 1932, and is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is also known by its nickname – Casa Feliz. The house is open to visitors on specific days of the week, and guided tours are provided. Casa Feliz was the home of Robert Bruce Barbour (hence the name) and was designed and built by James Gamble Rogers III. Its original interiors have been restored, and portions have become a museum dedicated to Rogers and the many other homes and buildings that he designed throughout his career.
– Old Orlando Railroad Depot, 127 W Church St, Orlando, FL 32801
Also called Church Street Station, the Old Orlando Railroad Depot was once a stop on the South Florida Railroad line. The original building was constructed in 1889, although it has been expanded several times since then. As the railroad shut down and ownership of the building changed hands, it has been everything from a night club to an improv comedy club. However, the building is on the National Register of Historic Places, so its exterior must remain the same, making it an interesting place to stop and visit, if nothing else.
– Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL
Although the Kennedy Space Center is in Cape Canaveral, Florida, around an hour away from Orlando, it is hard to resist having the chance to visit the place where all U.S. space missions have been launched since the beginning of the space program. The visitor center has a number of informative exhibits, as well as fun activities for all ages. You can see moon rocks, enter a replica space shuttle, and even spend some time at the Angry Birds Space Encounter before eating lunch with an astronaut.
– Goldenrod Historical Society and Museum, 4755 N Palmetto Ave, Winter Park, FL 32792
Goldenrod is an unincorporated town that is on the border between Seminole County and Orange County. Its history dates back to the 1870s when the first homesteaders moved south and claimed parcels of the land as their own. Many of them were farmers who grew orange groves throughout the area. Over time this changed, although some of the original homes remain. The museum run by the Goldenrod Historical Society pays tribute to these early years with many exhibits and artifacts from that time period.
Historical sites in Orlando can be tough to find. After all, the city is one of the largest tourist destinations in the country, and is geared towards family fun. However, these places do exist, and are entertaining to visit. You never know when you’ll have another chance to eat lunch with an astronaut!