Attraction of the Week: Icon Park in Orlando
A rather new attraction, Icon Park which opened in May of 2015, is a great addition to your non-theme park Orlando itinerary. Featuring a 400 foot Ferris Wheel, a wax museum, an aquarium, and numerous restaurants and shops, there’s plenty to do to keep you busy here for an entire afternoon. On hot summer days, this is an ideal destination as all of the attractions are located in air conditioned spaces including the observation wheel which features fully enclosed gondolas.
The Icon Wheel
The Icon Wheel, formerly the Orlando Eye, stands a whopping 400 feet. It currently claims the title of tallest observation wheel on the East coast, and comes in second in the country only to the 550 foot tall Vegas High Roller. While Orlando’s wheel experience does not offer the same glitz and glamour of the bright lights of the Strip, it does offer a bird eye’s view of “the City Beautiful” including vistas of the serene lakes and forested land surrounding the region. On a clear day, you can see the coast, so you may want to plan your visit outside of hurricane season!
Nice views of the lakes and greenery
A narrator will point out sights of interest including Disney and Universal which can be seen in the distance. Each gondola is spacious and air conditioned, thus making this the perfect year-round activity. It’s a bit pricey ($28+ per ride!) in all honesty for an 22 minute ride. However, when combined with the wax museum and/or aquarium ($40-50), it’s a much better deal.
Note: If you have been on the amazingly scenic Vegas, Chicago, or Niagara Falls observation wheels, you may be bit a dissapointed. Do not come expecting huge views, but rather a relaxing ride with ok views and a little history session about the region.
Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum
Madame Tussauds is a wax museum based in London (opened in 1835) which eventually expanded to include locations in several major US cities. If you have ever been to a wax museum before, you know that it is a cheesy touristy affair, and quite honestly, probably not worthy of the price they are charging. The normal $20+ price tag is definitely a rip off. The good thing about this wax museum at Icon Park is that you can add it onto your wheel package for about 8 extra bucks a person.
At the museum, you will see lots of notable entertainment, sports, historical, and political figures. Everyone from Obama and Trump, to Jimmy Fallon and Leonardo Dicaprio, to Einstein and Bill Gates, will be able for photos. It’s probably the one time you will have an opportunity to see a celeb this close in person. Many of the figurines are so lifelike that it is a bit spooky (ever seen the House of Wax?).
Check out the realistic detailing on this Justin Bieber wax figure!
An incredible amount of artistic handiwork goes into each figure. According to cnet, the typical wax figure takes 4 months or more to make and costs $212,500!
The best wax figurines
They also offer a pretty cool side activity (extra charge unfortunately) where you can make your own wax hands.
*Learn more about the Wax Hands experience.
Also popular attraction located at Icon Park is Sealife Aquarium. Although I personally choose to avoid most aquariums for ethical reasons, this is one of Orlando’s more popular tourist sights. Here you can see over 5000 marine species from 3 different oceans. This too can be combined with the wheel and/or wax museums for a special discount.
Note: Florida resident discounts are available for all attractions.
More fun at Icon
There are a number of fun restaurants and shops to browse through while you are here. Below is a brief list of a few of the highlights.
- Uncle Julio’s – Mexican restaurant known for their fajitas
- Mikado – Revolving sushi and hotpot restaurant
- Icafe de Paris – French bistro known for their delicious crepes & desserts
- Sugar Factory – The place to go to satisfy your sweet craving. Try a sundae for 2!
- Yard House – Popular chain serving American comfort favorites
- Tapa Toro – Spanish restaurant serving a large tapas menu
- Location: Icon Park is located at 8375 International Dr, Orlando, FL 32819
- Complimentary garage parking
- Hours are 1-9pm (10pm on weekends)
- Check the Icon website for Full pricing info