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World Equestrian Center is a Florida New Attraction

World Equestrian Center - Discover Florida's Newest Attraction

Have you heard the phrase “hidden in plain sight”? The World Equestrian Center is a must see Florida attraction we somehow missed on our many Florida travels.

How do you not hear about a facility that has over 300 acres in the middle of, arguably named, the “horse capital of the world”, Ocala/Marion County, Florida?

The World Equestrian Center’s impressive credentials include;

  • 132,000 square feet of event capability.
  • A five-star hotel on the property.
  • Unique multiple upscale shopping venues front the arena and hotel.
  • Two-travel parks for large motor homes and campers of all sizes.
  • An outdoor competitive horse arena that holds up to 7500 people for equestrian competitions and other similar events.
  • Some of the best dining opportunities in north-central Florida.
  • Site of horse shows, dog shows, major conventions, sporting events, and fabulous weddings.

All of these features are just a few minutes off I-75, the main north-south Florida highway, and less than two hours from either coast. This is truly a Florida new attraction.

World Equestrian Center Must See Florida Attraction
As you walk into the World Equestrians Center you see the magnificent white building in the background which is the 5-star Equestrian Hotel.

Florida Travel Blog has covered many locations, attractions, and events in north-central Florida. Places like Silver Springs, The Villages, The Devil’s Den in Williston and Rainbow River Springs – all within a few miles of the most extravagant attraction in the area, if not the state!

How rare is it to announce a Florida new attraction with so many old attractions in the state.

The World Equestrian Center Unequaled for Visitor Experience

As you enter the World Equestrian Center, you are impressed with twin buildings on each side of a huge walkway that leads to the main outdoor arena and the Equestrian Hotel.

At the time of our most recent visit, it was the second week of December. After seeing the World Equestrian Center’s Winter Wonderland, 2022, we were convinced that no one, other than Disney World, has a more expansive and impressive Christmas scene. Visiting the rest of the property, we understood World Equestrian Center’s commitment to their visitors’ experience and Christmas was no exception.

World Equestrian Center competitive arena
The competitive arena greets you in front of the Equestrian Hotel. Note those great views of the arena from the rooms.

As you walk up to the raised viewing paddock over the arena, you see competitive horse jumping. The arena covers a couple of acres with large teletron screens displaying the action.

We can’t claim to be knowledgeable on equestrian competition, but watching the grace and beauty of these animals and riders being put through their paces may convert us! We suspect many travelers have never seen a live equestrian event. It is quite an experience in this setting at a Florida new attraction.

The Equestrian Hotel

As you walk around the arena, you see this massive white structure inviting a visit. The Equestrian Hotel is a 5-star facility that deserves the rating if nothing more than the magnificent lobby entrance.

Entering the hotel lets you know you can expect luxury and service. Even in warm weather, the 8-foot-long fireplace is an inviting centerpiece of the room. Forbes Magazine calls the World Equestrian Center “unabashedly opulent”. We agree.

things you need when flying
World Eqeustrian Center's hotel lobby.
The shiny floors, chandeliers, leather furniture, and elegant decorations are just part of the experience at the Equestrian Hotel.

The World Equestrian Center has more than a half dozen places to dine, but the stars of this must-see Florida new attraction are The Yellow Pony and Stirrups.

The Yellow Pony has horse saddle seating at the bar and rustic wood tables offering exceptionally unique sandwiches and entrees. Stirrups is the place for fine dining. They offer prime steaks, chops and seafood in a classic eclectic setting.

Both restaurants are superb. When visiting Stirrups, don’t leave your wallet at home, but if a truly “fine-dining” experience is what you are looking for, this is the location.

The rooms at the Equestrian are well-appointed and spacious and have picturesque views of the expansive property. However, if you book a stay, request a room with a view of the arena where you can watch all the daily action.

Room rates seem very reasonable compared to other 5-star hotel experiences.

World Equestrian Center Christmas Wonderland
These lifesize Christmas decorations are just a few of the hundreds on the property during the Christmas season. This is an example of their commitment to their visitor’s experience.

 The Equestrian Hotel on its own could be a big must-see Florida new attraction. Coupled with the surrounding 300 acres of activities, The World Equestrian Center rivals any other attraction in north Florida.

World Equestrian Center, a must see Florida attraction horse and rider
Horses and riders mix with guests as they go from competition arenas to training grounds throughout the property. Beautiful animals!

Some FAQS About The World Equestrian Center

  • The World Equestrian Center is the largest equestrian facility in the United States.
  • The WEC was developed by Larry Roberts, a trucking Magnate from Ohio.
  • There is another sister equestrian center in Wilmington, Ohio, also part of the Roberts family of developments.
  • During Hurricane Ian, which devastate southwest Florida, The World Equestrian Center housed some 3000 horses, protecting them from the storm.
  • Roberts also created Golden Ocala Golf and Equestrian Club. Golden Ocala was the host to LPGA events and is known for replica holes from around the world. We have played the course and consider it one of the top courses in north Florida.
  • The World Equestrian Center has a variety of world-class facilities available for sporting events, trade shows, equestrian events and much more.
florida new attraction World Equestrian Center
The World Equestrian Center Toy Store is World Class! From life size to stocking stuffers.

WEC May Be the Best Christmas Display in Florida

Newest Florida attraction World Equestrian Center
The lobby of the The Equestrian, the 5-star hotel, had this Christmas tree adorned with fresh flowers.

On our most recent trip to WEC in December, our group of 6 people concurred that we had never seen more extravagant Christmas decorations.

Literally, every walkway, hallway and each part of the hotel was exquisitely decorated with holiday example both new and old.

Perhaps the best example was the coffee shop that we wandered too at 6 in the morning had life-sized singing bears at the entrance!

The lobby of the hotel was adorned with tens of thousands of dollars of Christmas oriented decorations that were all picturesque. 

Around the outdoor arena that is two acres of horse jumping, were life human sized decor you could ride, sit on or walk through.

Don’t miss this display of Christmas cheer for the whole family offered each year (this is our second).

Directions to the World Equestrian Center

The location of the World Equestrian Center is discovered conveniently from any direction. Interstate I-75 runs through Ocala, Florida which gives easy access from the north or south.

From Orlando on Rt. 27, the trip is just over an hour.  From Jacksonville to Ocala, Florida is under 2 hours on Rt. 301. And from Tampa, Florida the trip is about 2 hours traveling I-75.

Florida Travel Blog will be adding the World Equestrian Center to our list of major destinations since this is a Florida new attraction.

Check out some of these other Florida attractions –

12 Most Popular Florida Destinations

19 Florida Island Adventures

Map of World Equestrian Center - Directions

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