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Harry P. Leu Gardens picture in Orlando-Walt Disney World
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  • Parks and Gardens Type
  • 1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

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Despite the fact that most vacationers spend their time pounding the pavement, trundling tots from one amusement park ride to the next, Orlando is actually a great place to stop and smell the flowers. Swing by Harry P. Leu Gardens and get a sense of the real Orlando. This botanical oasis – which sits 4 miles northeast of the city center – offers 50 acres of plants like camellias, roses and azaleas. Plus, there are horticulture classes, permanent and rotating art exhibits, a botany reference library and a restored 19th-century home.

Recent visitors said this is a nice change of pace from park-palooza, even when it's not peak bloom season. According to many, the Butterfly Garden is a must-see, and if you have kids with you, odds are you'll enjoy hunting for the gardens' dinosaurs, which are scattered throughout the property. However, a few noted poor maintenance of the grounds. Some also suggested eating before your visit since food is not sold on-site.

If you're going to visit Harry P. Leu Gardens, aim to do so on the first Monday of the month between May and September – that's when admission is free. Otherwise, you'll pay $10 (and $3 for school-age children). The grounds are open every day except Christmas from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (The last garden admission time is at 4:30 p.m.) Complimentary parking is provided, or you can take the No. 125 or 313 LYNX bus to the property. Free tours of the Leu House are given every half hour from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., but keep in mind that tours of the gardens, including the Children's Summer Tour, cost extra. More information about Harry P. Leu Gardens can be found on the attraction's website.

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#1 Walt Disney World Resort Excessive, exhausting and expensive, Walt Disney World Resort is above all else enchanting. Composed of four theme parks (the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney's Hollywood Studios and Disney's Animal ... Read more » Handout / Handout / Getty Images

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#5 SeaWorld Orlando While Mickey's house and Harry's wizarding world are certainly magical, many vacationers find Shamu's lair equally enchanting. And if you're short on time, you might want ... Read more » jimfeng / Getty Images

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