Exploring Nature in Kissimmee

Lady riding a horse

You don’t need to travel far from your villa to see plenty of Florida’s native wildlife! From creepy crawlies, to black bears and alligators, Florida has a diverse ecosystem that nature lovers will be fascinated by!

Take a walk around the community near your villa, and you might spot a whole host of animals. Bird watchers especially will be in their element, as Florida has the third largest population of wild birds in the United States – if you haven’t already taken a look at our blog Wildlife to look out for around your villa in Orlando this is the perfect time, as we reveal some top ways to explore nature in Kissimmee and the surrounding areas.

Horse Riding in Kissimmee

Follow in the footsteps – or should that be hoofsteps? – of the first Florida settlers as you saddle up for a horse-riding adventure at Horse Riding Orlando. Take in the untouched scenery and experience life of the cowboys who made this area their home. This horseback riding experience takes you through beautiful pastures and around Central Florida’s largest lake; Lake Toho. Appreciate a one-on-one bond with your horse in this one hour tour, which gives a fascinating look at the natural side of Florida.

Horse Riding Orlando address: 2001 Macy Island Road, Kissimmee, FL 34744

Fishing at Lake Toho

Fishing aficionados are going to be in their element at Lake Tohopekaliga, commonly known as Lake Toho. It is well known for its bird watching and bass fishing. Take in the sights from Lakefront Park on the north shore – the perfect place to have a picnic as you watch the alligators, turtles and native birds! The lake itself has played host to many big bass-fishing competitions – such as Bassmaster, and a number of related records have been set here!

Fishing at Lake Toho in Kissimmee

If you wanted to head out onto the lake for a spot of catch-and-release bass trophy fishing, you won’t find a shortage of companies willing to take you out! Check online for the guided bass fishing tour that best suits you. Many providers offer a no-fish, no-pay policy; check out Fish Orlando, or Orlando Bass Adventure, for example. A three-day freshwater fishing licence will cost non-residents $17, though you might want to get a longer one depending on how long you plan to be fishing for. Take a look at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission website for more information.

Airboat Rides in Florida

If you enjoy being in boats and taking in the sights, you’ll be excited to learn about the airboat rides around Florida’s swamplands. With a host of tour operators available, do a bit of research into the package that best suits your party and budget! Spirit of the Swamp is a popular choice among holidaymakers. With boats designed for six passengers, you will get a great view of the swamplands as you glide through them. You even wear high-tech headsets to allow you to talk amongst yourselves, pointing out the wildlife during the trip, and asking the captain questions. The standard ride lasts for an hour, but you can choose a 90-minute or two-hour trip, giving you plenty more time to seek out the local wildlife!

Airboat ride in Kissimmee

Spirit of the Swamp address: 2830 Neptune Road Kissimmee, FL 34744

Gatorland Wildlife Park

If you want to get even closer to alligators, then a trip to Gatorland should definitely be on your itinerary. Take a look at our blog on the attraction before getting in touch with us for your ticket options! Reptile lovers, aged 12 or over, will be keen to experience the Trainer-for-a-Day programme for themselves. Get a fascinating insight into what it takes to work around the mighty beasts – starting by holding a baby alligator! Take a backstage tour to get up-close with the crocodiles and alligators, as well as an opportunity to get hands-on with the creepy crawlies ad reptiles from the Up-Close Encounters Show. As the finale to your day, you’ll get to head with the trainer to the Legends of the Swamp area and learn about the park’s biggest snappy residents!

Gatorland white gator

Gatorland address: 14501 S Orange Blossom Trail Orlando, Florida 32837

Shingle Creek Regional Park

Fancy getting away from the hustle and bustle of the theme parks? Shingle Creek Regional Park lies at the northernmost headwaters of the Everglades – and is a great escape just minutes from the busy US192, and urban Kissimmee. Made up of several packets of land, Shingle Creek Regional Park is a conservation project between several county and state bodies. Pack a picnic and get set to explore! Stroll or cycle along the trails and take some binoculars with you for a spot of bird watching. You might also want to keep an eye open for kayakers paddling past! Several locations also include playgrounds and pavilions, as well as some historical structures – the Pioneer Village especially, is a fascinating look at 19th-century Florida. Why not take a guided tour of the buildings?

Shingle Creek Regional Park

Bok Tower Gardens

OK, so Bok Tower Gardens is a little way out of Kissimmee, but this beautiful site should be on any nature-lover’s holiday itinerary. A favourite among garden fanatics across the USA, Bok Tower Gardens is a National Historic Landmark which was designed by the landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. Enjoy a picnic in the 250-acre grounds, at the centre of which you’ll see the Singing Tower – a lofty Art Deco and Gothic Revival tower holding a 60-bell carillon that plays a 30-minute concert daily at 1pm and 3pm. Look at the stunning planting and flowers around the gardens and keep your eyes peeled for any wildlife roaming around!

Bok Tower Gardens in Orlando

Bok Tower Gardens address: 1151 Tower Blvd, Lake Wales, FL 33853

With so many stunning natural sights around the Kissimmee area, you’ll have to make time in your busy schedule to live the real Florida experience. Take a break from the theme parks and head out in search of the land that the pioneering settlers first came across!

Have you been to any of these places before? What animals did you manage to see? We’d love to hear your recommendations for any hidden gems in the Kissimmee landscape, so get in touch using our social channels!

Image credits

  • Airboat on Lake: Spirit of the Swamp Facebook page
  • White alligator: Experience Kissimmee (Wikimedia commons)
  • Kayakers at Shingle Creek Regional Park: Miosotis Jade (Wikimedia commons)
  • Bok Tower Gardens: CC by Rain0975