What To Do in and Around Orlando, Florida with Kids (Other Than Theme Parks)
When you hear Orlando, Florida, chances are the first thing that pops into your mind is theme parks! Disney, Universal Studios, and Legoland are perhaps some of the most popular draws for those visiting Orlando, but don’t forget to look a little further! If you are visiting Orlando, Florida with kids you will quickly discover that there is much to be enjoyed outside of the theme parks both in and around Orlando!
You can zip across the treetops and try out your skills with a ropes course, hit up an indoor fun complex for go-karting, bowling, and arcade games, spend the day relaxing at crystal clear natural springs, head down to the Florida Everglades for an airboat tour, or get creative at the Crayola Experience Orlando. No matter what you are looking for, you are sure to find something to delight the whole family!
Outdoor Attractions When Visiting Orlando, Florida with Kids
Take a Day Trip to a Natural Spring
See a different side of Orlando with a trip to one of the nearby natural springs. Escape the crowds of Disney’s Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Legoland, and a wide range of other theme parks and the hustle and bustle of the city to get up close with some of Florida’s best nature areas. In fact, Orlando’s natural springs were the main draw of the area before the theme parks moved in!
Just 16 miles outside of downtown Orlando you can find Wekiwa Springs State Park, a 7,000-acre park that features emerald waters and miles of hiking trails. Wekiwa Springs State Park has a wide variety of activities to offer visitors, from kayaking, canoes, horseback riding trails, hiking trails, swimming, and wildlife viewing. The park is open year-round 8am to sunset. The entrance fee is $6 per vehicle.
Blue Springs State Park is another great option and is a popular destination for manatee viewing. The park is 29 miles outside of downtown Orlando. Activities that can be enjoyed at the park include swimming, canoeing, scuba diving, kayaking, fishing, camping, and wildlife viewing. The park is open daily from 8am to sunset. The entrance fee is $6 per vehicle. It is important to know that water activities are prohibited from mid-November through mid-April for Manatee season.
Juniper Springs, in the Ocala National Forest, is about 67 miles outside of Orlando. Juniper Springs is a popular kayaking destination with a 7-mile route. Other activities at Juniper Springs include swimming, snorkeling, hiking, and bird watching. Juniper Springs is open daily from 8am to 8pm.
Get Wet at an Inflatable Water Park
There is nothing better to do on a hot Florida day than cooling off with a nice splash! Orlando has no shortage of inflatable water parks that offers hours of family fun, challenges, and a way to cool off!
Aquapark at the Orlando Watersports Complex is a 10,000 square foot inflatable water park that offers tons of fun for children (6 years and older) and adults alike. The complex features an XXL Climbing tower, trampoline, rodeo slide, and obstacles for climbing and jumping. Other activities that can be enjoyed in the park include wakeboarding, waterskiing, and tubing. Requirements for Aquapark are being at least 6 years old, 43 in. tall, and the ability to swim. All visitors must wear a life vest.
Nona Adventure Park is another great option when visiting Orlando, Florida with kids. The park is a 1,000-foot floating obstacle course. The course features a whirlpool, ninja jump, and tire run. A main draw of the park is the 60 ft. tall climbing tower with a ropes course. This adventure park can be enjoyed by kids ages 5 and up.
Visit Old Town
Old Town Orlando is a shopping and entertainment complex with an old-time theme. The complex spans over 18 acres with over 70 unique shops and restaurants. Old Town is a great destination for entertainment, with free weekly live entertainment and family friendly events throughout the year. On the weekends you can enjoy a classic car show.
One of the top attractions of Old Town is the 86 ft. tall Ferris wheel. Old Town also features other classic amusement park rides, like a carousel, roller coaster, and paratrooper. Other fun attractions include fun rides (mini vehicles), the Happy Days Family Fun Center (arcade), escape room, magic shows, and an Xtreme Ninja Challenge.
Enjoy a Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
A Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour will take you on a relaxing, one hour long scenic cruise across twelve miles of Winter Park’s lakes. As you cruise through the lakes you will also get views of the Kraft Azalea Gardens, the Isle of Sicily, and exquisite private homes and estates. The cruise is $16 per person or included with the purchase of an all-inclusive go city pass.
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
If you are willing to travel a little bit, you can find Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures about an hour south of Orlando. The trip will be well worth the drive as it will take you to Florida’s national park: The Everglades. A Boggy Creek Airboat Adventure will take you on a 30 to 60-minute tour aboard a 6-person airboat through the wetlands of the Florida Everglades.
Other activities at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures include visiting the gator pond for up close views of the Everglades’ most anticipated animal, mining, bicycling, and visiting a Native American Village. For a family photo op stop by the Swamp Photo Shack. For some refreshments, stop by the Tiki Bar.
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures is open daily 9am to 5:30pm. Walkin 30-minute tours are available, and 30-to-60-minute private tours can be reserved in advance. 30-minute public tours are $30 for adults, $25 for children. 60-minute public tours are $50 for adults and $45 for children. Private tour prices vary and can be reserved online ahead of time. Sunset and Night tours are also available with ticket prices ranging from $63-$68 for adults and $53-$58 for children.
Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park
The Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park is a must visit attraction when visiting Orlando, Florida with kids. The adventure park features 97 challenges, with options available for kids as young as 6 and of all skill levels. The park includes zip lines, climbing ladders, hanging nets, wobbly suspended bridges, and swinging logs that will have you flying through the woods and among treetops.
The park has 5 different categories of courses, including two courses specifically designed for kids ages 6 to 8, Green level courses that feature minimal elevation and challenge, Blue level courses that feature moderate elevation and challenge, Silver course that features advanced elevation with moderate challenge, and red level courses designed for children 12+ and adults, with advanced elevation and challenge. Tickets prices are $34.95 for kids 6-8, $44.95 for kids ages 9-11, and $56.95 for ages 12+.
Spend The Day at the Beach
While Orlando is located in Central Florida away from the coast, with an hour or two drive you will find yourself sitting on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean or Gulf of Mexico.
Cocoa Beach is a one-hour drive East and is one of the closest beaches for a day trip from Orlando. With Cocoa Beach being home to the largest Ron Jon Surf store, you will find plenty of water sports and beach equipment to make the most of your day at the beach. Lori Wilson Park on Cocoa Beach is a popular spot for families, with restrooms, outdoor showers, and free parking.
Cape Canaveral is another great option for a beach day when visiting Orlando, Florida with kids. There are plenty of beaches to choose from and you will also find the Kennedy Space Center nearby, where you might be lucky enough to catch a spaceship being launched.
Other poplar beaches that are within driving distance of Orlando include Clearwater Beach on the West Coast of Florida, Daytona Beach, known for its NASCAR racing, and St. Augustine Beach, located near one of the US’s most historic cities.
Indoor Attractions When Visiting Orlando, Florida with Kids
Visit Icon Park
Icon Park is an entertainment complex in Orlando that features plenty of attractions to keep the kiddos busy for hours. Some of the top attractions in the complex are the Wheel, Madame Tussauds, and the Sea Life Aquarium. You can also find dining and shopping options within the complex.
The Wheel is one of the top attractions at ICON Park, a 400 ft. tall observation wheel that will give you stunning views of Orlando and if you time it right you can even catch a glimpse of Disney fireworks. A ride on the Wheel is $27.49/person.
If you are looking for the perfect spot for tons of photo ops or want to “meet” some of your favorite stars up close visit Madame Tussauds Orlando, a wax museum featuring characters from the Justice League, Kung Fu Panda, musicians, actors/actresses, US presidents, and more!
The Sea Life Aquarium features a 360-degree underwater tunnel and interactive exhibits. The aquarium is split into 9 different sections/exhibits, including the Jelly Wall Exhibit, Feeding Frenzy, Indian Ocean, Coastal Rockpool Exhibit, and more. The Rockpool Exhibit will be a favorite with the kids with the opportunity to touch some unique sea life.
Other attractions in Icon Park include In the Game Arcade, a 7D theater, the Pearl Express Train, the Orlando Starflyer, and the Museum of Illusions. Aside from being packed full of family friendly attractions, you can also find a wide selection of restaurants, boutiques, and local shops.
Visit the Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is a fun and educational experience when visiting Orlando, Florida with kids. The Science Center features a variety of hands on and interactive exhibits. Design Zone is perfect for families with kids who want to unleash their creativity and learn about the world of science as used by real life artists, engineers, and musicians. The KidsTown exhibit is perfect for families with young children, being designed for kids up to 7 years.
Other top exhibits include Food Heros, Nature Works, Kinetic Zone, The Hive, DinoDigs, and Our Planet. The Orlando Science Center also offers live shows throughout the day with a new theme every month. You can also find live programs in KidsTown designed for the younger audience, and the Animal Ambassador Program where you can get up close with some of the museum’s furry friends.
The Orlando Science Center offers two dining options. The 4Roots Cafe offers a variety of seasonal healthy food items made from locally grown food, including salads, focaccias, and sandwiches. The cafe also offers kids menu options. The Coffee Spot is another option if you are looking for something quick.
Tickets to the Science Center are $21 for adults, $15 ages 2-11, and $19 for students and ages 55+. The Science Center is generally open daily from 10am to 5pm, but days/times may vary at times. Be sure to check their calendar before planning your visit.
For thrill seekers, iFly Orlando will give you a unique experience that will be remembered for years to come! iFly Orlando is an indoor skydiving experience that can be enjoyed by children as young as 3. iFly provides a flight class prior to the experience and all gear needed. Prices vary depending on how many flights you want, but start at $64.99 per person for 2 flights.
Head to the World’s Largest McDonald’s
While really nothing more than a large McDonald’s with an extra big play area and arcade, a trip to the world’s largest McDonald’s in Orlando is a magical experience for the kids. The first floor is the restaurant, and the second floor features the playground and modern-day arcade.
The menu is unique at the World’s Largest McDonald’s, because not only do they offer the traditional McDonald’s menu you would find at any one of their restaurants, but it also features a full menu of pizza and pasta. While it is not a 5-star restaurant, it is nice to see some other options on their menu.
At WonderWorks Orlando you can lie on a bed of nails, play a game of laser tag, enjoy a 4D XD stimulator ride, and try your hand at an indoor ropes course. You can recognize Wonderworks Orlando by the iconic upside-down Wonderworks building.
Wonderworks has a variety of different interactive, fun, and educational exhibits. The museum is split into many different sections, including the extreme weather zone, physical challenge zone, space discovery zone, light & sound zone, and imagination lab.
At the end of the night, you can enjoy the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. The show combines a magic show with comedy and unlimited pizza, salad, drinks, and dessert. Shows usually run two times a night at 6pm and 8pm. Tickets are $32.99 for adults and $22.99 for kids ages 4 to 12.
Wonderworks is open daily 9am to midnight. All Access admission tickets are $34.99 for adults ages 13 to 59 and $25.99 for ages 4-12, and 60+.
Get Creative at the Crayola Experience
The Crayola Experience is one of the best things to do in Orlando with kids. The Crayola Experience offers loads of opportunities for your little one to put their imagination to good use. While here, you will have the opportunity to create your own crayon label, build something out of model magic, adopt a Scrubbie pet, turn yourself and your family into a coloring page, and create a melted crayon project!
There are two playgrounds, one geared towards older kids and one perfect for toddlers. You will find a chalk area where kids can draw on the floors and walls. If you want to see how crayons are made you can join a short factory show. The kids can even meet their favorite crayon characters.
The Crayola Experience has two dining options-Cafe Crayola and the Snack Shack. Cafe Crayola is open on weekends only and features full meal options, like hot dogs, salads, and pizza. You can also enjoy a meal and a show on the Cafe Stage. Cafe Crayola is open on weekends only. The Snack Shack is open daily with quick snacks to satisfy your hunger. Admission to the Crayola Experience are $23.99/person.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games
The Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is the perfect rainy-day attraction when visiting Orlando with kids. The fun complex contains of an extensive indoor go-karting track and an oval mini go kart track for drivers aged 4 to 6. The facility also contains a two-story laser tag arena, arcade games, an obstacle course and zip line, virtual reality experiences, and bowling lanes.
The Andretti Grill offers a family friendly menu, with options both kids and adults will enjoy, like boneless wings, a vegetarian boneless wing option, nachos, burgers, fries, buffalo chicken wrap, pulled pork, shrimp, macaroni and cheese, salads, pizza, and of course ice cream sundaes.
Pricing for the Andretti Indoor Karting & Games can be found here.
Enjoy Dinner and a Show at the Medieval Times Diner
The Medieval Times Diner is a unique dinner and a show experience that children and adults alike will enjoy. You will enter into a Medieval Times castle where you will be assigned a team to cheer for. As servers begin to bring out the feast you will enjoy two hours of jousting, sword fighting, and hand to hand combat.
The menu includes garlic bread, tomato bisque soup, roasted chicken, corn, herb-basted potatoes, and a dessert item. Non-alcoholic drinks are included, and full bar service is available for additional costs. General admission tickets are $64.95 for adults and $36.95 for children 12 and under.
There are upgrade options available for additional costs and may include priority seating, VIP status, a cheering banner, and a framed group photo. You can also choose from special celebrations and items, including a knighting ceremony, glow swords & flags, and a souvenir cup.
Try Some Tasty Treats at the World of Chocolate Museum
What kid doesn’t love chocolate? A visit to Orlando’s World of Chocolate Museum will take you backstage to see how chocolate is made and bring you to the cafe, where you will find plenty of sweet treats for the whole family to enjoy.
The museum tour starts with a short film about the history and origin of chocolate, followed by a visit to the sculpture room with 25 solid chocolate sculptures, and ending with a visit to the tasting room. The cafe menu includes a selection of coffee, hot chocolate, gelato, pastries, baked goods, and paninis.
The cafe is open daily from 12pm to 6pm. The museum is open daily from 12pm to 5pm. Ticket prices for the museum are $17 for adults and $12.95 for children.
Dezerland Park is another one of the best rainy-day attractions when visiting Orlando, Florida with kids. The park has loads of options for family fun. You can zoom around on an indoor go-karting track, see antique cars in the Orlando Auto Museum, enjoy a game of bowling, experience some nostalgia at the Pinball Place (containing over 150 pinball machines), enjoy a game of glow mini-golf, get a workout at the Jump Start Trampoline Park, or hang out at the Arcade.
Dezerland Park has many dining options, with a full bar in the bowling alley, the Bond Lounge, a full-service restaurant, frozen drinks at the Bond Lounge Express, and the Jumpstart Cafe. Prices vary depending on what you choose to do and can be found here.
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