The spectacular World Equestrian Center Ocala is the largest equestrian complex in the world. Here you will find a wonderland for equestrians, horse lovers, and and equine enthusiasts. This guide will help you navigate the 387+ acres of fun things to do, hotels, plus more!
The World Equestrian Center was established in 2021 just outside the charming city of Ocala. Created by the Roberts Family who had a vision to bring the best equestrian complex to a city known for being the Horse Capital of the World. After years of having to drive out-of-state for the best equestrian show grounds, Ocala now lives up to its long established nickname.
Ocala Florida History
Ocala is largely known for its beautiful rolling green acres, large live oaks, and hundreds of horse farms. However, you would be missing something if didn’t see the charming downtown area. Here there are historic structures such as Marion Theatre supported over the years by local resident and celebrity, John Travolta. Several of the nearby attractions include Silver Springs State Park, Appleton Art Museum, Sholom Park, and Ocala National Forest.
World Equestrian Center Map from Downtown Ocala
The World Equestrian Center is located slightly Northwest of downtown Ocala, Florida. For the most direct route, take Highway 40 west to 80th Avenue. Driving from downtown Ocala it will take you approximately 22 minutes.
The closest airports are the Ocala International Airport and Gainesville Regional Airport. For a larger scale airport, the next closest is the Tampa International Airport (TPA) which is less than 2 hours away.
The World Equestrian Center is located on sprawling grounds. Here you could walk for hours and not run into the same person twice. These beautiful grounds have 5 indoor arenas, 15 outdoor arenas, and enough barns and stalls to hold more than one horse or dog show at the same time.
Tip for competitors: We highly recommend having some type of golf cart, bike, or moped for transportation. You will appreciate this after spending a day here!
Here are a few other key details about WEC:
- 140,000 square foot main arena
- 250,000 square feet of flexible indoor space
- Over 400,000 square feet of indoor riding arenas
- Tack rooms offer security features for riders/owners
Equestrians, you will not find a better place to show your horse. Here you will have meticulously maintained grounds, beautiful barns, rubber stall mats, hot/cold water wash racks, a veterinarian accessible on property, plus so much more.
Spectators can relax in state of the art covered stadium seating or comfortable Adirondack chairs with fans overhead to watch the competitions.
Here at WEC, you can take your whole family to a horse show, dog competition or other fun event for FREE. With no cost to park or watch the shows, this is an affordable experience in a family-friendly atmosphere.
Where to Stay – Ocala Hotels
The World Equestrian Center has a gorgeous luxury hotel on property called The Equestrian. It is convenient for spectators and exhibitors, and you won’t find a better place to stay in the area. Hotel reservations can be booked through Booking.com.
Best Hotels in Ocala FL
Best Location & Luxury Hotel in Ocala: The Equestrian
Favorite Budget Friendly / Cheap Hotel Ocala FL: Best Western Ocala Park Center
Favorite Hotel in Ocala City Center: Hilton Ocala*
*My favorite Hilton Ocala experience is on Concierge Floor with access to the lounge.
Tip: These are all pet-friendly Ocala Hotels.
5 Best Things to Do – World Equestrian Center + More!
Attend a Horse Show or other fun event
I highly recommend attending a horse show. On our most recent visit, there was a Miniature Horse Show, Shetland Pony Show, along with a NSBA Show & Futurity. There are so many things to see at this family-friendly equestrian complex.
Beyond horses there are other great things to see including the Festivals of Speed. This event has over 200 luxury high-end classic cars that will compete for 70+ crystal trophies. The Festivals of Speed does have an admission fee of $20 per person, and kids under 12 are FREE.
Check out the WEC calendar of events page for all their upcoming amazing things to do.
Shop at some of the best shops and the coolest toy store around!
Mr. Pickles & Sailor Bear Toy Shoppe
One of the amazing things about WEC is the Mr. Pickles & Sailor Bear Toy Shoppe. Here you can find some of the largest stuffed animals, Breyer horses, and the cutest life sized lion that roars! This shop brings out your inner kid. The shop is located in the Equestrian Hotel shopping area.
Other shopping you may want to check out: Grey Fox Designs, Lugano Diamonds, A Sudden Impulse Store, The Debonair Collection, Ariat International, I Love My Horse Equestrian Boutique, The Debonair Boutique, and more.
Enjoy the restaurants at the World Equestrian Center Ocala
World Equestrian Center has multiple restaurants on property! This list includes Filo’s Mexican Cantina, Ralph’s Burger & Sandwich Shop, Viola & Dot’s, Italian Kitchen & Pizzeria, Yellow Pony Pub & Garden, & The Stirrups Restaurant.
Miss Tilly’s Lollipops
Kids and those with a sweet tooth will want to check out Miss Tilly’s Lollipops. Here you will find candies and lollipops galore! They also have a nice section of quality ice cream.
You will want to refer to the World Equestrian Center map for restaurant locations. Ralph’s Burger & Sandwich Shop, for example, is not located near the The Equestrian Hotel. Some restaurants are a further walk and located closer to the arenas.
For a more casual lunch on the go, check out Ralph’s Burger. They definitely didn’t skimp on the portion sizes.
If you have time for a leisurely meal, the Stirrups Restaurant and Yellow Pony are located in the Equestrian Hotel. Stirrups Restaurant is exquisitely decorated with crystal chandlers and gold-framed paintings. Both welcome everyday diners.
Stirrups Restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner everyday 6:30am-11am, 5pm-9pm. Weekends they are open for all meals, 6:30-1pm and 5pm-10pm. See the menu and further details on Stirrups Restaurant website.
The Yellow Pony has a pub vibe often with live music and entertainment in the evenings. Some of the recent musicians have included Scott Davidson and Palomino Blonde. This is a good spot for a casual sit down meal and has indoor and outdoor seating.
Explore the beautiful World Equestrian Center (WEC) Grounds
You could spend more than a day here just walking the grounds and seeing all that the World Equestrian Center has to offer.
Take a Ocala scenic horse farm drive to see the most beautiful horse country.
Take a scenic drive through Ocala’s horse farms and see why Ocala is known as the Horse Capital of the World. My favorite drive passes by some of the finest horses farms including Millionaire’s Row that also includes Roberts Quarter Horses, owners of the World Equestrian Center.
Future WEC Expansion
The World Equestrian Center Ocala has further expansion planned including a residential gated community called Equine Estates. The homes will be built on 3+ acres of land and have access to the world-class amenities.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who owns the Equestrian Center in Ocala Florida?
As mentioned earlier, The Roberts Family own the World Equestrian Center. Mr. Ralph L. “Larry” Roberts is originally known for his work with R+L Carriers, a nation-wide freight shipping company based out of Wilmington, Ohio.
There is also a World Equestrian Center Wilmington (Ohio). This property is also owned by the Roberts Family.
The Roberts family are known for breeding some of the best western pleasure horses in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) industry with their stallion, A Sudden Impulse.
How do I get into WEC Ocala?
See the map provided above. Once at the WEC you will find that the property to easy to navigate with signage and maps. There is a separate RV parking area that is visible from the entrance.
What events take place at the World Equestrian Center?
WEC Ocala has a wide variety of events from horse shows, dog competitions, classic car festivals and more!
Some of the more well known shows include: The American Ranch Horse Association World Championship Show, $100,00 MARS Equestrian National Grand Prix, $100,000 Stella Artois National Grand Prix, A Sudden Impulse Futurity & Championship Show, & Festivals of Speed.
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