¬†¬†¬†¬† The thermometer keeps inching higher, the humidity has peaked 100 percent, and an afternoon thunder storm looms overhead. Rather than call your day a goner, trade the sunglasses for a sweater and get going to one of these entertaining and air-conditioned indoor excursions for a combination of chills, thrills and food.
Ice, Ice Baby
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Ice in the sunshine state is usually relegated to the freezer door, however, the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den in Maitland offers a chilly oasis surrounded by palm trees and pavement. Hockey lovers, aspiring figure skaters and even us Floridians foreign to ice-capades can escape the heat on either an IHL/NHL or an Olympic-sized ice rink. The complex offers hockey leagues, figure skating lessons of all levels and scheduled public skating sessions seven days a week. Skate rentals, sharpening, equipment and merchandise are all available‚ÄĒjust be sure to bring your own jacket, socks and gloves. It gets a bit brisk on the ice.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Copenhagen, Sweden, Tokyo, London, and yes, Orlando. Believe it or not, the City Beautiful is home to ICEBAR Orlando, the largest permanent ice bar in the world. This quirky establishment filled with fanciful ice sculptures of thrones and polar bears maintains the temperature at a frigid 27 degrees and carves everything from ice, including the counter tops, seats and even your drinking glass. Normally a hot commodity for the tourist type, that doesn't mean locals can't join the frosty fun. Thermal capes, gloves and fine Vodka cocktails provide warmth during your 45-minute adventure. After that amount of time in a frozen tundra, you'll welcome the balmy summer air with open arms.
Cool Down on Wheels
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Feel the need for speed? Experience life in the fast lane at Orlando Grand Prix minus the relentless sun and Florida bugs. The 70,000-square-foot go-kart facility houses a state-of-the-art European-style Grand Prix race track and a second drift track‚ÄĒall completely indoors where the air in your hair is fully cooled and conditioned. Best of all, you'll whip around curves and challenge your steering skills while driving unique, Italian pro-karts that crank the speed up to 50 mph. Bring your friends to compare detailed results printed for each racer and catch the lap times posted above the tracks on a large projector.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† For an ideal summer getaway on a different set of wheels, lace up a pair of roller skates at Let's Skate Orlando in Winter Garden and indulge in some fine flashback fun. The disco ball is still intact and twirling, but most of the d√©cor from the bold blue polyurethane floor to the rock star and princess-themed party rooms are straight from 2012. If all that skating works up a sweat, roll over to the snack bar and cool off with a Fudge Puppy ice cream treat.
Dinner and a Show
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† As the temperature climbs, the theater and its overexercised AC calls. While there are many dinner shows in Orlando, only one famously ends in the arctic. Your boarding pass for the Titanic The Experience dinner event on International Drive recreates a White Star Line ticket of an actual Titanic passenger, complete with details on your identity for a five-course meal hosted by George and Eleanor Widener in honor of Captain Edward J. Smith's retirement voyage. Converse with ship designer Thomas Andrews over filet of beef with mushroom demi-glaze or fancy a song from the ‚ÄúUnsinkable‚ÄĚ Molly Brown as the crew serves fluffy cake with raspberry filling. When disaster strikes, find out if your character survived the legendary sinking and even feel the cold sting of your hand against an iceberg while immersed in 100 years of Titanic memories.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† A welcome retreat from the summer heat since 1985, Enzian Theater in Maitland offers a fresh cinematic experience full of independent features and cult classics. The family-friendly Kidfest Summer Movie Series kicks off this month on July 22 featuring free showings Tuesday through Thursday of generational treasures and innovative animation including The Goonies, Spirited Away and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Sip a Florida Sunshine or Pisco Passion cocktail at the outdoor Eden Bar to refresh your palate before heading into the theater or crunch on a chilled Summer Apple Salad, part of a full-service menu offered during the show.
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† Laughter is the best medicine, and there's plenty of it along with delicious entrees, desserts and martinis at the Orlando Improv and Comedy Club and Dinner Theatre in Pointe Orlando. Comedians Bobby Lee, Tommy Davidson and brothers Shawn and Marlon Wayans bring their unique brands of humor to the stage in July, just to name a few. The Fat Fish Blue Restaurant & Bar newly opened next door presents even more dining, cocktail and entertainment options before or after the show with its blues acts and New Orleans slant. Warning: Heat might flare from menu items like the Buffalo Tails slathered in a ‚Äúhot sauce from hell,‚ÄĚ or the P-U-L-L-E-D Pork with Zambo's blueberry habanero. Pass around an order of the Improv's yummy cornbread or bread pudding a la mode to keep cool.