Traveling to Kissimmee and Central Florida

Kissimmee is located on two lakes.
Kissimmee is located on two lakes. | Source

Best Attractions and Retirement Opportunities in Central Florida

Kissimmee in Central Florida is on the WalletPop preferred list of Florida retirement places, but the city is known for travel attractions in general, along with its location near other travel destinations like Orlando and Cape Canaveral.

Kissimmee supports the usual numbers of water parks, airboat rides, golf courses, mini golf places, amusement parks, and other touristy destinations, but it also offers several unusual attractions, listed below.

Along with visitor opportunities, these venues offer jobs to the community and even to Seniors that prefer to continue working post retirement. This is especially true of DisneyQuest® Indoor Amusement Park and places like Disney Orlando, Busch Gardens and such. Columbus, Ohio Zoo's Jungle Jack Hanna works out of Busch Gardens and the surrounding area; you may see him taping animal programs for TV.

There is plenty to do and see in Kissimmee, for either the traveler or the retiree.

show route and directions
A markerKissimmee FL -
Kissimmee, FL, USA
[get directions]

B markerOrlando FL -
Orlando, FL, USA
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C markerCape Canaveral FL -
Cape Canaveral, FL, USA
[get directions]

Old Town

Thrills and Entertainment in Old Town

Shopping centers may contribute a large chunk of the local economy in Kissimmee, but a haunted house operating all year long is an attraction that many people do not want to miss. It is unusual and fun.

The Haunted Grimm House is the one and it's billed as quite scary. That seems to fit, because Grimm was my doctor's name when I was small - he was scary, and he moved to Florida suddenly! The haunted house is in the Old Town District, two stories high, with 20 rooms of thrills.

Old Town offers other attractions as well:

  • Friday and Saturday Nights - Muscle Car and Classic Car Cruises: July and August. Additional cruise-ins are held on some national holidays and during fund raising events.
  • Annual Blue Grass Festival in January

Kissimmee Annual Bluegrass Festival: Late January

A markerOsceola Heritage Park. 1875 Silver Spur Lane Kissimmee, FL -
Osceola Heritage Park, 1875 Silver Spur Ln, Kissimmee, FL 34744, USA
[get directions]

Old Town is a recreation of the traditional small town in Florida found in the early 1900s. The district is walkable and offers several opportunities for shopping, dining, and entertainment, especially for families with children.

Old Town is Like an Amusement Park

Actually, Old Town looks like an amusement park with lots of shopping. It features many rides, including zip lines, climbing walls, and ropes courses. Most malls and downtown areas have not been refurbished to that extent.

Other rides nearby include a carousel, Ferris wheel, and a dozen carnival-type rides that are permanent. A large rides area is located at the front of the shopping district and the back of the shopping district, with the Haunted Grimm House in the middle. If you see my old doctor there, say, "Hi!" and run.

This shopping area is a lot like having two of the old trolley car parks book-ending the retail shops. It's great fun, even if you just watch others enjoying the rides until late at night any day of the week. And Fridays see a weekly Muscle Car Cruise-In. The shopping mall is four blocks long, the shops having individual entrances from the sidewalks. Stores of all kinds are present, including eateries and gifts. For example, the Kissimmee Popcorn Company offers 106 flavors of popcorn.

Video Tour of Old Town

Bike Night in Old Town

Map to Old Town

A marker5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy Kissimmee FL, 34746 -
5770 W Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy, Kissimmee, FL 34746, USA
[get directions]

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve

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Kissimmee Natural Wildlife Preserve
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Kissimmee Natural Wildlife Preserve
Kissimmee Natural Wildlife Preserve | Source

Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park

A markerKissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park -
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, 33104 NW 192nd Ave, Okeechobee, FL 34972, USA
[get directions]

Kissimmee Castle

Permanent Renn Faire

This one does not close up for 9 months a year, because it is a town all to itself, right in Kissimmee. It operates all year long and may be more fun than the nearby Disney venues. Medievil Times is a dinner and tournament venue that is quite entertaining, a little like medieval dinner theater and you don't have to walk through mud.

Kissimmee Castle is located on a major highway at 4510 W. Irlo Bronson Highway; Kissimmee FL 34746. It offers a tour through a village inside its walls of 8 medieval houses.

The castle and its cohorts in other cities train their own Pure Spanish Horses in Texas to perform in their jousting tournaments. Horses are trained for three years, perform for a few years in dressage and jousting at a castle, and return to their home ranch to be cared for thereafter. Men and women actors portray the Knights and the King's Court.

Free Tours: Wycliffe Discovery Center

Wycliffe Discovery Center

The Wordspring DIscovery Center complex is sponsored by the Bible translators of long note, Wycliffe. Located next door to the offices, interactive venues address Biblical languages and cultures for anyone interested in knowing more. A convention and banquet center are also located on site, with a cafe that operates regular hours. Exhibits include presentations on less-expected topics, like which 26 countries on earth do not yet have a written Bible.

Free tours are given hourly, with an in-depth presentation by a different missionary every day about their work in Bible translation and sharing. Inexpensive workshops concerning arts and cultures around the world are also available.

This is my type of venue, because I enjoy examining the original languages of scripture and combining this knowledge with that of local history and customs to find out what is really said in scripture. A few places like Wycliffe help that to happen. Wycliffe includes materials on languages of people mentioned in scriptures as well, from Egyptians and Ethiopians to all the Middle Eastern nations' peoples. I could spend an entire summer, right here.

11221 John Wycliffe Blvd.

A markerWycliffe Bible Translators, Orlando -
11221 John Wycliffe Blvd, Orlando, FL 32832, USA
[get directions]

Historic WWII Aircraft

WWII Fighter Aircraft Foundation

Another of the most interesting places in Kissimmee is a foundation that honors WWII fighter aircraft and the hobby enthusiasts who build replicas today.

Its facility is at the Kissimmee Gateway Airport, 3955 Merlin Drive; Kissimmee FL 34741. However, the foundation is not dedicated to American aircraft, but to WWII German aircraft, which is very interesting if you have not seen these planes.Planes from other nations are exhibited as well.

The collection began with the White 1, followed by the Black 3 and others available to help collectors rebuild WWII aircraft from any country. You may see some planes at this facility that you would not see in other air flight museums.

WWII Fighter Aircraft Foundation, Kissimmee FL

A markerKissimmee Gateway Airport, 3955 Merlin Drive -
Kissimmee Gateway Airport, 3955 Merlin Drive, Kissimmee, FL 34741, USA
[get directions]

Baseball Stadium Complex

BASEBALL - Osceola County Stadium

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Kissimmee's Osceola County Stadium Complex is huge, containing five baseball fields for professional, amateur, college, and league games and competitions. An umpiring school is also conducted on site.

An additional sporting complex contains five softball fields. Both of these venues are also used for concerts and conventions every year. Baseball is important to the county economy, because the Houston Astros conduct yearly spring training at the county baseball complex and baseball is popular as both a spectator and participant sport in Central Florida.

The Astro's website tells us that the county stadium is a Grapefruit League venue, referring to one of the agricultural crops famous in Florida. A children's playground is provided in the complex and a dedicated area for collecting autographs of the players is maintained for each game.

The Astros are civic minded and pursue many community projects. One is the Astros Urban Youth Academy in their Houston ball park, where they provide training to urban youth in both baseball and softball. Educational programs are also available. The tram also maintains participation in a number of sustainability projects. Back in Kissimmee, the baseball and softball complexes maintain their own community youth programs that are well attended.

Inside the baseball sports complex, the USSSA Sports Museum and Hall of Fame welcomes visitors. Inductees includes players in slow pitch softball, fast pitch softball, baseball, basketball, golf, flag football, Taekwondo, Karate, and many more.

Osceola County Softball Complex

Source

Osceola County Stadium

show route and directions
A markerOsceola County Stadium Complex -
631 Heritage Park Way, Kissimmee, FL 34744, USA
[get directions]

B markerUSSSA Hall of Fame -
Line Dr, Kissimmee, FL 34744, USA
[get directions]

Retiring in Kissimmee, Florida

Retirement and Relocation Resources

  • Real Estate: Median home cost is $70,090. Copared to the rest of the USA, cost of living is 20.40% lower than the national average.
  • Kissimmee Retirement Home: 702 Verona St,; Kissimmee FL 34741


Sunrise at a Kissimmee Lighthouse
Sunrise at a Kissimmee Lighthouse | Source

Business and Education

Business and Employment Market

Most residents of the Kissimmee area are employed in Sales, Service, Business, and Financial occupations.

Other high Demand Jobs:

  • IT positions
  • Nursing and Support Staff
  • Truck Driving
  • Event Specialists
  • Speech, Occupation, and Physical Therapy jobs
  • Dentists/Assistants
  • Retail and Dining Managers/Assistants
  • Pharmacists anmd Pharmacy Technicians
  • Sales and Service Clerks and Account Executives (financial products)

It is also interesting to note that aside from Hospitals, top employers are Lockheed Martin for aircraft manufacturing jobs and the USAF for Healthcare positions.

© 2011 Patty Inglish

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Comments 11 comments

Naomi's Banner profile image

Naomi's Banner 5 years ago from United States

Very interesting places to see. I'm packing my bags ASAP!!! Good job of covering a lot of interests here.


akirchner profile image

akirchner 5 years ago from Central Oregon

Beautiful~! Love the birds too - I think I need to go there for at least a visit!


Maren Morgan M-T profile image

Maren Morgan M-T 5 years ago from Pennsylvania

Patty, you make this sound mighty appealing. Would you please share your source for the $70 K median home cost? City-data lists the cost (in 2009) as $150 K. Big difference. I like your number better.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

City-data is usually two years behind with data, at least, and this is second half of 2011. SimplyHired.con has data, also several years behind, though. My info is from the city, the US Census(workers collest it every year, not only every 10 years), the local Chamber of Commerce, and a number of local realtors in the county that approximately agree, within $10K. Thanks for posting.

Also, check Zillow and Tulia; their figures change daily.


Cardisa profile image

Cardisa 5 years ago from Jamaica

I've heard of Kissimmee, I always find the name funny, it sounds like being teased about kissing! I just love the place, Patty you make it sound so beautiful. Wish I could at least visit, and wild turkey?.......wow!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 5 years ago from North America Author

Hi Cardia - The name probably comes from one or two Native American names that describe physical features of the land. I'll have to ask someone at the next Pow Wow I attend soon. Thanks!

Hey, those turkeys look to fat to be wild, don't they?


Earth Angel profile image

Earth Angel 5 years ago

Beautiful Spot Patty,

Thanks for sharing! I have some friends who live there and just LOVE it!

Great Hub Great Writer Patty!

Blessings always, Earth Angel!


Albert Street profile image

Albert Street 5 years ago from Northern USA

Thanks for the information about the "Grimm House" I am going to Orlando next week. I looking forward to checking it out.


wheelinallover profile image

wheelinallover 5 years ago from Central United States

I have known about Wycliffe and Kissimmee for about thirty years now. I have family who were part of the New tribes mission and doing translation work with information from Wycliffe. When they returned they moved to Orlando and drove back and forth to Kissimme to finish the translation.

The wild turkeys there must have better food than the ones local to me, the toms never get that big here. Make me want to get out my bow again and go hunting. LOL


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

This is just theplace I should be. You made is sound great and I am sure it is great. Thank you.


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

You reminded me of our family trip to Kissimmee in 2002. We travelled all over the region, but stayed in a hotel there. The city offered off the beaten path attractions like World of Orchids, Eco-Walk, Splendid China (that declared bankruptcy in 2004 to our utter surprise), water channels where we die lots of airboating, etc. The were our best 10 days ever.

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