Giant gators, beautiful birds, elusive panthers—oh my! The local wildlife around Kissimmee is definitely diverse, and there are so many fun-filled ways to experience it. From elegant hot air balloon rides to pulse-pounding off road excursions, wildlife is all around when you adventure in the great outdoors around Kissimmee. Check out ten ways to see wildlife in Kissimmee below.
Hike Pristine Nature Preserves
Discover 1,000 native Florida animal species over 12,000 acres of pristine nature preserve at the Disney Wilderness Preserve. Although it’s owned by Disney, you won’t find any rides here. This is natural Florida at its finest. You can spot some really rare species like the bald eagle and the elusive Florida Scrub Jay, plus the Southeastern big-eared bat and the gopher tortoise. Even the iconic Florida panther has been known to pass through!
Photo: @jeneells on Instagram
Set Out on a Fishing Excursion
Lake Toho (Lake Tohopekaliga to be specific) is famous for its bass fishing, and the area’s natural beauty is simply stunning. Charter a boat and head out on the water, where you’ll encounter turtles, alligators, and more. Fellow anglers won’t be your only competition—eagles and osprey often dive in to swipe their own daily catch.
Zoom on a Zipline
Get a bird’s eye view of the treetops at Forever Florida on the only zipline roller-coaster in the USA! Soaring almost 80 feet above the forest floor, this thrilling adventure will get your adrenaline pumping. To see how active Florida wildlife is after hours, try the Night Flight Adventure zipline on Friday or Saturday night.
Photo: @forever_florida on Instagram
Take an All-Terrain Buggy Tour
Also located on the grounds of Forever Florida, this elevated, all-terrain buggy offers another awesome way to see Florida’s diverse wildlife, and to learn a little about Florida’s roots in cattle ranching. You’ll see lots of native species, plus you’ll have the opportunity to meet some seriously big cats like lion, tigers, leopards and cougars at the Central Florida Animal Reserve.
Photo: @forever_florida on Instagram
Jet Around on an Airboat
An airboat ride is a must-do when you visit Kissimmee, and for good reason! Skim across tall grasses and water plants at 45 mph on an exciting tour that will stay with you long after your vacation is over. Head to Wild Florida for this unforgettable experience, where you’re sure to see gators, as well as the rare white ibis, vultures, and beautiful boat-tailed grackles.
Photo: @wildfloridairboats on Instagram
Flock to Birdwatching Spots
Located on the Great Florida Birding Trail, avian enthusiasts can get their fill of amazing birdwatching outings in Kissimmee. Gatorland Bird Rookery is home to over 20 bird species, and offers photographer’s passes from February to June that allow for more time to snap some great shots of our winged residents. For a beautiful sunset birding experience, visit the Joe Overstreet landing at Lake Kissimmee to see meadowlarks, crested caracaras, whooping cranes, kestrels, and many others.
Photo: @hrother on Instagram
Soar in a Hot Air Balloon
Spy wildlife from a different perspective with a peaceful balloon ride over Kissimmee. From heights that just tickle treetops to altitudes around 1,000 feet, keep an eye out for deer and gators in orange groves and swamps on a tour with Bob’s Balloons. Do you have a big group in tow? Take off in America’s largest hot air balloon with Orlando Balloon Rides.
Use a Little Paddle Power
Kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding are excellent ways to see the best of natural Florida while fitting in a little exercise. Set your sights on Shingle Creek at the headwaters of the Everglades for endless opportunities to view wildlife from the water. The Docks at Shingle Creek have everything you need for rentals, and they even offer a guided manatee paddle tour! Shingle Creek is a great stop for birdwatchers too, with White Ibis, Downy Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes and Red-Shouldered Hawks calling these waters home.
Photo: @itravelp on Instagram
If you’re not afraid of a little (or a lot) of mud, an off road adventure is an awesome way to experience nature and wildlife in Kissimmee. And if four wheels just won’t do, Revolution Off Road has eight-wheeled, four-person amphibious vehicles known as Mighty Ducks that are sure to get your motor running, and give you great views of local wildlife.
Saddle Up for a Horseback Ride
The fun just doesn’t stop at Forever Florida! For a peaceful ride through the Florida countryside, saddle up for a horseback tour and experience your natural surroundings just like Florida’s first settlers did. Spend the afternoon outdoors or embark on an overnight camping adventure to channel your inner cowboy and soak in every ounce of unspoiled Florida wilderness.
Photo: @lumaphotographystudio on Instagram
Where will you spot wildlife on your Kissimmee vacation? Keep us in the loop on social with #MyKissimmee and show us your best photos of our local creatures! For even more outdoor adventures, and activities, learn more here.