You may have visited Kissimmee, Florida but you may not know some of these interesting facts about the destination. Here are a few trivia gems to impress your friends, or amuse your kids in the car, the next time you’re swinging by Kissimmee for an airboat ride, a theme park thrill, or just a relaxing kayak ride down Shingle Creek.
1. Did you know we’re known as The Vacation Home Capital of the World?
It’s true! With its world-famous theme parks so close by, is it any surprise we’ve got the perfect homes for every Florida vacation dreamer? We’ve got it all — from glorious 15-bedroom mansions to cozy poolside homes. These are the perfect spots for bringing the whole family along or having that family reunion you always dreamed of. Renting a vacation home is a great way to split your time between theme park adventures and bonding time over a hot grill.
2. Kissimmee has the world’s only wheelchair-accessible zip line.
Gatorland’s Gauntlet Accessible Zip line brings high-flying excitement to the Alligator Capital of the World, and a memorable experience as you soar 350 feet through the air while passing over their alligator breeding marsh. After this thrilling experience, why not catch one of their many educational and entertaining shows featuring one of Florida’s most famous creatures—the alligator, of course! While on his visit to Kissimmee, Cory Lee (@cubfreecorylee) experienced the zip line and it'll make you want to add it to your next vacation bucket list!
3. Tee off at any of the 22 18-hole golf courses
With 396 holes to golf, consider your inner champion challenged. Any way you slice it, the golf courses of Kissimmee are some of the best in the Sunshine State. Our golf getaways include courses designed by legends like Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus, and Arnold Palmer at Reunion Resort and Greg Norman at ChampionsGate Golf Resort. The year-round sunny weather means it’s always tee time in Kissimmee.
4. The area was founded by cowboys
Sorry Texas, but Florida was first when it came to cowboys in the United States. Before it was a dream vacation destination, one of Kissimmee’s old nicknames was “Kowtown,” where ‘cracker cowboys’ (named after the ‘crack’ their whips made) tended to herds of cattle on large ranches.
Ranching was an important part of the local economy until the opening of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971 brought the tourism trade to the area. Even today, you can still see a love of cowboy heritage and culture and get a taste for yourself through the annual Silver Spurs Rodeo — the largest rodeo east of the Mississippi. The twice-yearly rodeo is a longtime favorite for locals and visitors alike and happens at the Silver Spurs Arena in Osceola Heritage Park.
5. Where crocodiles and alligators live together in harmony
Southern Florida is the only place in the world where American alligators and American crocodiles co-exist. You can learn more about the unique crocodilians with interactives exhibits and shows at Gatorland, or try and spot a few in the wild for yourself during an airboat adventure with Wild Florida. Don’t forget to stop by their gift shops for unique, gator-riffic souvenirs.
6. The town of celebration was built by The Walt Disney Company
Originally a master-planned community developed by The Walt Disney Company, this close-to-the-magic destination is now one of the cutest places to stay or shop while visiting the area. We recommend a stroll in the park while enjoying a cold macaron glacée at Le Macaron, grabbing a bite of the legendary “1905” Salad from Columbia Restaurant, or doing a guided tour of the town’s architecture with Celebration Bike Rentals, just around the corner from the charming and boutique Bohemian Hotel located on Lake Rianhard.
7. Shingle Creek was the first Kissimmee settlement
The name ‘Kissimmee’ itself means long water, and the city is named after the Kissimmee River. Shingle Creek, known as the headwaters of the Everglades, runs through the town and you can take a relaxing canoe, kayak, or standup paddleboard trip through its historic waterways with The Paddling Center at Shingle Creek. You’ll float beneath 100-year-old cypress trees, and maybe even spot a turtle or two. The nearby Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek gives a taste of what Florida life was like back in 1900. You can peruse an old-time general store, gaze at pioneer artifacts, and visit a sugar cane mill.