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Visit Orlando: Sports lovers' dream

(Courtesy: VisitOrlando.com)

(Courtesy: VisitOrlando.com)

Joanne Richard
Special to The Weather Network

Friday, February 17, 2017, 8:00 AM - Fun is the main objective of any family trip but finding a destination that appeals to everyone can be a big hurdle. It has to offer activities that all family members will enjoy. Not everyone is into roller coasters, princesses and Harry Potter.

Sure you can always split up the kids and take off in different directions, but the whole point of a family vacation is making memories together. So picking the perfect destination, along with an accommodating and flexible agenda, will make for cherished memories long after you’ve unpacked your bags.

“One of the biggest mistakes parents make when planning a trip is failing to take into account the variety of interests of the people they’re traveling with,” says Heather Greenwood Davis, of globetrottingmama.com. “Make sure you’re not setting up an itinerary based on what’s being promoted the most instead of what your family really loves. Your family’s interests – sports, food, outdoor adventures – should be the starting point for itinerary setting.”

Orlando offers something for everyone, from the thrill-seeker and fairytale fan to the shopper and adventurous gastronome. Now add sports fan to the list. If you’ve got a sports fanatic in the family, you’ll definitely make a touchdown with a trip to Orlando, and even score big with the non-sports fans you bring along.

It’s a grand slam year! Orlando is a now a major player in sports with a wave of new sports venues and an exciting line up of prestigious events lined up for in 2017. A stadium for Orlando City Soccer and a new national campus for U.S. Tennis association opened this year, while Major League Soccer and the U.S. Tennis Association headquarters is now in Orlando , while March Madness is set to heat up Orlando’s other world-class stadiums.

“It’s an exciting time for sports fans in Orlando. In 2017, Orlando will welcome a great lineup of spectacular sporting events that will attract both fans and participants from all over the world. Visitors can enjoy their favorite athletic events and teams, together with an incredible vacation in Orlando,” says George Aguel, President and CEO of Visit Orlando.

 PART 4 OF 4: Check out more feature content on why to Visit Orlando this year. Already Published: What's New in 2017 | Special Events in 2017 | Bang For Your Buck

If you’ve missed getting in on the Pro Bowl action on January 29 at Camping World Stadium, no worries; win points with a visit to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship at the Amway Center. Eight of the top teams in the nation battle it out on March 16, followed by the four winners returning on March 18.

For the wrestling fan in the family, Wrestlemania 33 arrives in Orlando on April 2 at Camping World Stadium with iconic champions battling it out for the heavy weight title. Come a week early for Wrestlemania-related events, including the WrestleMania Axxess, a four-day interactive fan festival at the Orange County Convention Center. The Amway Center will host four big events running April 1 – 4, including the 2017 WWE Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and SmackDown Live.

There will be more excitement at The Camping World Stadium this summer with the International Champions Cup, a high-profile soccer tournament that features the world’s top clubs, including the Real Madrid, Manchester United and Bayern Munich.

Besides lots of exciting action on the field and in the ring, Orlando is also a top scorer with its new sports venues. Just two blocks from the Amway Center, another state-of-the art facility is going up, the 25,500-seat Orlando City Soccer Stadium. Add to that the new headquarters of the U.S. Tennis Association – a 65-acre complex that will host nearly 100 events in 2017, including men’s and women’s Pro Circuit Events.

For the golf fans in the family, get them swinging at Topgolf Orlando, a spectacular 65,000-square-foot facility set to open in early Fall 2017. The venue will include 230 high-definition flat-screen TVs, 102 climate-controlled hitting bays, and advanced technology to track the accuracy and distance of players’ shots.

For the real golf nut, splurge on tickets to the Arnold Palmer Invitational, running March 13 – 19. One of the crown jewels of the PGA Tour, past Arnold Palmer Invitational champions who regularly play in the tournament include Fred Couples, Phil Mickelson, Ernie Els and Tiger Woods.

If you’re kids are big baseball fans, take them to Atlanta Braves Spring Training, running February 25 – March 29. Drills kick off in February at Cracker Jack Stadium located at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Their Grapefruit League games are played throughout March.

Get everyone’s hearts racing at the legendary 59th Annual Daytona 500 on February 26 at the Daytona International Speedway. Afterwards get everyone on track at Andretti Indoor Karting & Games, opening this spring and featuring high-speed electric superkarts on a two-level track, over 120 arcade games, a rock wall, zip line and more. You can bet everyone will head home from Orlando a champion.

The Visit Orlando App features augmented reality experiences for visitors to explore, have fun and earn savings throughout the destination. It can be downloaded in Apple App and Google Play stores.

Visit Orlando: What's New
Visit Orlando: Special Events in 2017
Visit Orlando: Biggest bang for your buck
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