Traveling to Kissimmee and Central Florida
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.
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
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.
Map for Annual Bluegrass Festival: Late January
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
Map to Old Town
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
- Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, a Florida preserve located nearby Okeechobee, Port Saint Luci
Visitor information about Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, a Florida preserve located nearby Okeechobee, Port Saint Lucie
Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park
Permanent Renn Faire: Kissimmee Castle
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.
Wycliffe Discovery Center: Free Tours
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.
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.
Map for WWII Fighter Aircraft Foundation
BASEBALL - Osceola County Stadium
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
Osceola County Stadium
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
- Best of 55 and Over Retirement Communities in Florida | Orlando FL | Active Adult Communities
The Best of 55 and over retirement communities in Florida for Active Adults. This one of the Florida retirement communities that you must visit, close to Disney World and attractions, punctuated by two 18-hole championship golf courses at the Stonega
- Good Samaritan Society
Scheduled transportation, Senior living. Affordable housing, other.
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
- 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.
Education and Training
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2011 Patty Inglish MS