A family-owned museum, Skeletons: Museum of Osteology on International Drive is one of only two skeleton museums of its kind in the country and features hundreds of skeletons from animals all around the world. General admission for adults is $19.99, not including tax, and group rates are available. Skeletons: Museum of Osteology is open seven days a week, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Call 407-203-6999 or visit www.skeletonmuseum.com for more information. (8441 International Drive, Ste. 250, Orlando, FL, 32819; miles from NPE: 1.5 miles)
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
See sharks, stingrays, fish and turtles at the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, a five-minute walk from Skeletons: Museum of Osteology. The attraction offers scheduled times for animal feedings and informational talks, so visit the website for more details. Tickets are $25 each for adults and can be purchased online at www.visitsealife.com/orlando. (8449 International Drive, Ste. 250, Orlando, FL, 32819; miles from NPE: 1.5 miles)
While you might not ever have the chance to meet your favorite celebrity, historical figure or sports star, you can take pictures with wax lookalikes at Madame Tussauds. Take a selfie with the likes of actors Ryan Gosling and Will Smith, physicist Albert Einstein, professional golfer Tiger Woods, singer Justin Bieber, media personality Oprah Winfrey, filmmaker Steven Spielberg and countless others.
The attraction is open Sundays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Tickets are $27.50 each for adults, but visitors can save 10 percent by purchasing them online in advance at www.madametussauds.com/orlando. A group rate is available for 15 or more adults at $17.50 per ticket online. (8387 International Drive, Orlando, FL, 32819; miles from NPE: 1.5 miles)
Coca-Cola Orlando Eye
See Orlando from above in a 400-foot-tall observation wheel with fully enclosed air-conditioned cabins known as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye. Adult tickets are $27.50 on the date of purchase or $25 online in advance. Tickets for children aged 3-12 are $22.50 on the date of purchase or $20 online in advance. The experience lasts around 23 minutes, and a second flight can be purchased for $10 per person.
Enjoy a glass of champagne or soft drink and priority boarding when you purchase the Champagne Experience ticket for $39 in person or $34 online. The bar opens at 5 p.m. Mondays-Fridays and noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Alcohol sales cease 30 minutes prior to closing. Hours for the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye are Sundays-Thursdays, 10 a.m.-10 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to midnight. More information: www.officialorlandoeye.com.
NPE attendees can visit three major Orlando attractions — the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds and Coca-Cola Orlando Eye Ferris wheel — for $49 per adult, an $82.50 value, by going to www.visitsealife.com/orlando/tickets. (8401 International Drive, Ste. 100, Orlando, FL, 32819; miles from NPE: 1.5 miles)
Ripley's Believe It or Not
Less than a 5-minute walk from the Orange County Convention Center is Ripley's Believe It or Not, a 10,000-square-foot location that looks like it's falling into a sinkhole. You'll find 16 themed galleries with 600 exhibits and artifacts, including shrunken heads, an authentic vampire killing kit, shooting gallery, spinning vortex tunnel and statue of the world's tallest man.
The "Odditorium" is open 365 days a year, 9 a.m. to midnight, with last entry at 11 p.m. Tickets are $19.99 for adults, $13.99 are children 3 to 11 and free for children under 2. Buy discounted tickets online ahead of time at www.ripleys.com/orlando for $3 off for adults and $2 off for children. Special rates for groups 20 people and more are available. (8201 International Drive, Orlando, FL, 32819; miles from NPE: 1.6 miles)
Head 30 minutes northeast of the convention center and you'll find the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Fire Museum, Mennello Museum of American Art and Orlando Museum of Art.
Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is open Thursdays until Tuesdays from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and closed Wednesdays, except the first Wednesday of the month. Adult admission is $20.95; tickets for students with ID and seniors 55 and older are $18.95. Special rates are available for groups of 15 or more. If you purchase a general admission ticket in advance online now until May 30, you will receive a free parking voucher for the day of your visit; otherwise, parking is $5.
If you take the I-4 E, then the Orlando Science Center is roughly 30 minutes from the Orange County Convention Center. More information: www.osc.org. (777 E. Princeton St., Orlando, FL, 32803; miles from NPE: 16 miles)
Orlando Fire Museum
Built in 1926, the two-story firehouse that houses the Orlando Fire Museum is open Fridays and Saturdays 10 a.m.-4 p.m. for free, thanks to donations and volunteers. The Orlando Fire Museum is also available by appointment, which can be scheduled by calling 407-246-3468. The Orlando Fire Museum is a five-minute walk from the Orlando Science Center. For more information: www.orlandofiremuseum.org. (814 E. Rollins St., Orlando, FL, 32803; miles from NPE: 16 miles)
Mennello Museum of American Art
Established in November 1998, the Mennello Museum of American Art preserves and exhibits Earl Cunningham paintings and offers special exhibitions and programs that celebrate other American artists. The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and Sundays, 12-4:30 p.m. The Marilyn L. Mennello Sculpture Garden is always open to the public.
Adult tickets are $5, seniors 60 and older are $4, and students with valid ID are $1. Active and retired military members and veterans and their families are free with valid ID. Guided tours can be arranged in advance for no additional charge; they are typically conducted Mondays through Saturdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., and Sundays, 1-3:30 p.m. More information: www.mennellomuseum.org. (900 E. Princeton St., Orlando, FL, 32803; miles from NPE: 15 miles)
Orlando Art Museum
Located a half-mile from the Mennello Museum of American Art is the Orlando Art Museum, which is closed Mondays and major holidays but open Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 12-4 p.m. Exhibitions on display during NPE include "Enduring Beauty: Seminole Art and Culture," "People and Places," "State of Excellence: Treasures From Florida Private Collections" and "A Trek From North to South."
Admission is $15 for adults, $13 per person for groups of 10 or more, $8 for seniors 65 and older and $5 for college students with valid ID. Veterans and active duty military members are free with valid ID. On May 5-6, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch cardholders can receive free admission when they present their debit or credit card and photo ID at the museum front desk. More information: www.omart.org. (2416 N. Mills Ave., Orlando, FL, 32803; miles from NPE: 15 miles)
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