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Opinion: 6 winter weather activities in Orlando

Photo by Francisco Wang Yu

The winter season is a great time to finally pull out your sweaters, which I’m sure have been sitting in your closet for way too long. Although Florida is not known for its drastic seasonal weather changes, crisp temperatures are the perfect time to get your adrenaline going at an indoor sporting event, enjoy a warm coffee as you walk around the park, or explore the local flora and fauna.

One of the first things that comes to mind when I think of winter is ice skating. When I was little, I remember ice skating in Maitland at the RDV Ice Den (and falling numerous times trying to do so). This ice skating rink is enjoyable for anyone, whether you are a beginner or an advanced skater. The rink is about 15 minutes away from campus. 

With winter also comes the hockey season. The Solar Bears are the official ice hockey team of Orlando, and the team’s games are held at the Amway Center in Downtown Orlando. It is always a fun time to go with friends or family. If you get lucky, sometimes you can even get the chance to meet the team after a game! You can get your tickets now on Ticketmaster or the Solar Bears official website. Some of the team’s upcoming opponents include the Utah Grizzlies, the Florida Everblades, and the Jacksonville Icemen.

In Orlando, the official basketball team is the Orlando Magic. I’ve gone to many Orlando Magic games with my family and friends, and I once got to meet the entire team, after my high school choir sang the national anthem at one of their games. The team’s matches are always exciting, with their break-out dance teams, bumping music, and funny games during halftime. You may even spot a celebrity watching in the stands with you, like Shaquille O’Neal, a former Orlando Magic player. The team’s home games are held at the Amway Center as well. You can get your tickets now on Ticketmaster or the NBA website

COVID-19 is still very prevalent, so if you want to go to a more COVID-19 friendly event, try swan swooning at Lake Eola Park. Rent a two or four-rider swan boat, ride around the lake, and enjoy the breathtaking landscape of Downtown Orlando, all while getting away from the crowds. The boat costs around $15 and pets are allowed as well. After you are done riding, you can check out the actual swans at the edge of the lake. 

Another nice COVID-19 friendly activity is grabbing a cup of hot coffee and walking around Leu Gardens. This park boasts a 50-acre botanical garden and always has small events going on; whether that be an intimate wedding or a private party, it’s nice just to people-watch. You can also take some amazing pictures at the garden for your Instagram.

Lastly, escape rooms are a great way to embrace your inner detective. There are many escape rooms in Orlando: in Baldwin Park, International Drive, and more. No matter where you go, the overarching premise remains the same: you are trapped in a room, looking for clues to unlock more puzzles in an effort to escape. Each one of the rooms typically has a different theme, and it works best when you have around four or more people in your party. One of the rooms that I went to was based on the “Murder on the Orient Express.”

During wintertime in Florida, there is always something exciting to do, whether that be ice skating at the RDV Ice Den, going to a hockey or basketball game, or unlocking your detective skills in an escape room. Although Florida may not have traditional winter activities like skiing or snowboarding, Orlando always finds a way to put its own twist on winter. Just make sure that you and your party are wearing masks and social distancing at any event you attend.

The opinions on this page do not necessarily reflect those of The Sandspur or Rollins College.

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