Florida fun outside the theme parks

If an amusement park brings you to Florida, don’t forget to venture outside its gates and explore all the other pulse-raising and offbeat attractions the Sunshine State has to offer.

NBC’s Kerry Sanders did and had a close encounter of the scaly kind at Gatorland in Orlando, where you can sit on the back of a live alligator or zip-line over a pit filled with the toothy reptiles.

For a more out-of-this-world experience, head to the Kennedy Space Center, where a new exhibit of the space shuttle Atlantis is expected to open in June, offering visitors a 360 degree view of the space craft.

Sports enthusiasts will love Florida’s springs and waterways, which are top-notch for diving and offer glimpses of manatees.

And if you’re looking for a bit of a pick-me-up, check out the spring in St. Augustine that explorer Juan Ponce de Leon thought was the fountain of youth. It’s still an attraction, though if you take a sip, be aware that results may vary.

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