Entertainment Editor

As you may have read in Rachel Christian’s article on Saturday, last week the News-Gazette welcomed new publisher, Tom Overton.

In my first sit-down with Mr. Overton, he asked me to put together a list for him of things to do in Kissimmee. A newcomer’s guide, or a “Kissimmee Bucket List,” if you will.

If you’ve lived in Kissimmee for awhile, you probably have most of these items checked off. Or maybe you’re like me, and you don’t. Either way, here are just five of the many things you should do in Kissimmee.

#KissimmeeBucketList

Visit Gatorland

The order of this list is very much at random, but Gatorland is definitely at the top of my personal list of recommendations. (Do you even live in Florida if you haven’t seen thousands of gators? And all in one place?) Gatorland is home to more than 2,000 alligators, plus crocodiles, wild cats, birds, tortoises, snakes and critters. You can take a ride on the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line over a pit of gators, check out the Gator Jumparoo or Gator Wrestling shows, experience up-close encounters with some of the most dangerous snakes around the globe, and much more. You can even have a professional photo taken of yourself with a snake around your neck while holding a baby alligator. What’s more Florida than that?

Stop by Old Town

This may seem like a given to you natives, but for the newcomers out there— Old Town is one of Kissimmee’s top places to visit. Old Town is a recreation of a classic Florida town, with 18 acres of tree-lined brick streets, filled with shops and restaurants. Check out the As Seen on TV store, or tour the haunted house. Grab a bite to eat or drink, or take a ride on Fun Spot’s Sling Shot or SkyCoaster. Fun Spot is located next door to Old Town, as Central Florida’s most visited spot for midway rides and games.

Shop at Orange World

You know that giant orange out on U.S. Highway 192? That’s Orange World. It was purchased by a family in 1984 and was created as an iconic local landmark and named the World’s Largest Orange. The shop has everything orange, plus Florida honey, citrus candies, jellies, all-Florida salt scrubs, Orange Blossom perfumes, gator heads and more. It even offers some of the freshest fruits in Central Florida. You can visit Orange World’s website (www.OrangeWorld192.com) to see a fruit season calendar, showing which fruits are available throughout the year. The fruits are grown, packed and shipped from the Indian River Region of Florida. The soil and distinct weather of the region produces high-quality citrus that is thin skinned, high in sugar content, and is of a quality that is recognized around the world. And we are lucky enough to be able to purchase it right here in Kissimmee.

Bike through Celebration

I grew up in Celebration, so I can speak first-hand on this one. Celebration is a beautiful place to get some fresh air and spend a day outdoors. The Celebration Bike Rental is located near the town’s Bohemian Hotel, right in Town Center. The rental shop offers surrey bikes of all kinds to explore the beauty of the biking paths and trails. And with each rental, riders receive a community map. Stop for a quick bite to eat Upper Crust Pizza Cafe, or grab a drink and an appetizer at Celebration Town Tavern.

Watch the rodeo

Last but certainly not least, celebrate Osceola County’s heritage live at the Silver Spurs Rodeo. The Silver Spurs Rodeo is the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi, and has been a tradition in Kissimmee since 1944. Now is your chance to check this off your Kissimmee Bucket List, as the Silver Spurs Rodeo is conveniently happening next weekend, June 1-2. All rodeo events take place at Osceola Heritage Park, just off U.S. Highway 192. You can get your tickets to the rodeo at www.SilverSpursRodeo.com.

If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for more to come. This summer, The Guide will feature a weekly column of things for you and your family do to in Central Florida all summer long. “Your Summer Checklist” will help you plan your summer adventures as you play tourist in your own town.

Submit your favorite Kissimmee Bucket List activities to jdidomenico@osceolanewsgazette.com and share them on Twitter using #KissimmeeBucketList.