When you think of Orlando, the first thing that comes to mind is Mickey Mouse and the wonders that are Disney. Yes, the theme parks are a big part of the city, but there is far more to do in Orlando than you might think. Take a look at all of the things to do in Orlando with kids.
I obviously have to start with the theme parks because that really is what put Orlando on the map in the first place. Orlando is home to the best theme parks in the world, so if parks are your thing, you will not be out of options for you and your family.
Walt Disney World is the first park that comes to mind, and rightfully so. It is, after all, the largest of all the parks. Kids of all ages love Disney and you really can not be too young to have a good time. Infants and toddlers under the age of 3 even get in for free. Note that this is for kids UNDER 3. You will have to but a ticket if your kid is actually 3.
Another park that is dedicated more to younger kids is Legoland. If you have little ones, it is worth the visit but older kids and teens may get bored. For teens and young adults, you will be far better off going to a park like Universal Studios with their superheros and Harry Potter rides.
SeaWorld also deserves a mention on the theme park list. Kids of all ages will enjoy the interactive shows and exhibits. For the older kids, the rides like the Manta Flying Roller Coaster and Kraken will be a hit. Even if you are not interested in sea life, the rides alone are worth the price of entry to the park. If you have younger kids, there are also things to do with toddlers such as Sesame Street Land.
Last but not least, if you want to do something completely off the wall and get to know the real Central Florida ecosystem, check out Gatorland. Little kids will enjoy meeting alligators and other animals up close while the big kids can enjoy more thrilling activities like zip-lining over the gator pens. Do you really want to go home without saying you saw a gator in Florida?
Now that I have taken care of the theme parks, let’s take a look at some of the other indoor and outdoor attractions in the Orlando area.
If you want to have fun and learn a little? Is is hard to beat the Orlando Science Center which has a number of hands on activities for your children. Your smaller kids will love the Kidstown exhibit designed for those under 7. Bigger kids can enjoy learning about dinosaurs or exploring the power of energy in the Kinetic Zone.
Another option is the Kennedy Space Center, located just an hour from Orlando. Among other things, your kids can experience mock astronaut training or take in a film on the breathtaking IMAX screen.
For something a little more relaxing, take a look at the Leu Gardens. Just outside of downtown, the gardens feature plenty of trails, fountains and, of course, gardens. It is a great way to get a little peaceful downtime and reset yourself.
After you have calmed down at the gardens, get things going again with a ride on The Wheel at Icon Park. Get a terrific view of the city and then grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby restaurants Like Ole Red Orlando which also features live music.
Speaking of eating, you might not know it, but Orlando has become a foodies paradise.
The kids will love dining at restaurants like Universal Studios Toothsome or the Rainforest Cafe at Disney Springs. You do not even have to buy tickets to the theme parks to enjoy them. Disney Springs is free entry and has free parking all day long. Universal Studios Citywalk also has free entry and parking is free after 6PM.
Want to make more of an even out of dinner with your kids? Medieval Times never fails to please. Feast while knights battle it out for control of the kingdom. Will your knight be the one who wins? Either way, you will have a hard time getting your kids to stop talking about it.
I should mention that Orlando is more than just a kiddie food paradise. For those with a more advanced palette, check out one of the dozens of finer culinary destinations such as Pig Floyds Urban Barbakoa. If you are looking to avoid chain restaurants, Orlando has got you covered. Our restaurants now rival what you would find in cities like Chicago or even San Francisco.
For sports fans, the Orlando area has it all. From the Orlando Magic to the Orlando Pride, you will find lots to do. There is even arena football.
For a real treat, take in some local college sports courtesy of the UCF Knights. A visit to the Bounce House alone makes it worthwhile. The stadium gets its name from the considerable movement that it allows when fans jump in unison. Don’t worry, it is perfectly safe.
Keep in mind that Tampa Bay is also only a short drive away, just 90 minutes in fact. If you time your trip right, you could take in a Buccaneers, Lightning or Rays game.
No, Orlando is not on the coast, but we are close enough that an ocean day trip should be on your mind.
The closest beach to Orlando will be New Smyrna Beach, located just an hour away to the east. Drive right onto the beach and enjoy the shallow waters of the Atlantic coast. Get there early to secure a nice spot and then set up right beside your vehicle. No fuss beach enjoyment at its finest.
If you are staying on the west side of Orlando, near the resorts, you are equidistant from both coasts. If you want a beach excursion, a good move would be to head west and enjoy the slightly warmer waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Clearwater Beach is a popular destination and constantly ranks as one of the worlds best beaches.
With year round sunshine it is no wonder that outdoor activities make up a lot of what there is to do in Orlando.
The city has a number of parks worth a visit, but Eola Park should be the first on your list. The park features a paved walking path that circles the lake and it is famous for the swans. You can even feed them and then take a ride on a swan shaped paddle boat. The kids will also love the playground and the fact that you can buy ice cream from one of the many food trucks.
Besides local parks, there are also numerous state parks close by that are worth a visit and admission for a carload is generally just $5. Check out the natural springs at Wekiwa Springs State Park or walk the extensive network of trails at Little Big Econ.
Into fishing? Head to the coast and get your fill of the salt water or stay local and enjoy a bass fishing charter. Hook into a Florida Bass and you will remember the experience.
Last but not least, head to the farm. There are a number of farms that will allow you to take part in some back to basics fun and learning. One of my favorite things to do with kids is visit Pappy’s Strawberry Patch, just outside of Orlando. Located in Oviedo, you can pick your own fresh strawberries.
If you have teens, they will likely enjoy a trip to one of the three outlet malls located in the Orlando area. Lake Buena Vista Outlets, Vineland Premium Outlets and Orlando International Premium Outlets have got you covered. There are enough premium name stores and dining options to make a day of it.
The outlets are always a big draw for tourists, so plan to go midweek when traffic is down. If you want to avoid the crowds, you can also consider the Tanger Outlets. Located just an hour from the city, you get most of the same stores without all of the crowds and parking headaches.
Lots To Do In Orlando
As you can see, there is so much to do in Orlando. The city that you thought was all theme parks and cartoon characters actually has a lot more to offer. Take a look at the menu and explore more of what there is to do in our city and also keep in mind that you are in the heart of Central Florida.
If you can’t find anything to do in Orlando with kids, check out Tampa, Just 90 minutes to the west, take advantage of Busch Gardens, The Florida Aquarium or do the Zoo at Lowry Park. When you stay in Orlando, you are close to everything that Central Florida has to offer.