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Florida fun outside the theme parks

May 23, 2013 at 3:41 PM ET

Video: The amusement parks may be the main attraction in the Orlando area, but there’s fun to be had outside the park as well. NBC’s Kerry Sanders shows what central Florida has to offer, from crystal clear underground springs to the Kennedy Space Center’s new exhibit.

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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