You’ve been considering a trip to Orlando with your kids but you’re not a fan of theme parks. Problem is, with Orlando being the center of the theme park universe (Disney, Universal Studios, Sea World and more), it’s really hard to find information on what else you can do in Orlando with your kids!
Your struggle ends today. We’ve compiled a list of 11 things to do in Orlando with kids besides theme parks. Check out the list below and you’ll have plenty of exciting options that your kids will love!
1/ Visit Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is a huge recreational area in the heart of Orlando that is a perfect destination for families.
Feeling adventurous? Rent a boat or spend some time feeding live swans.
Getting hungry? Check out the restaurant on site or save money by having a picnic on the beautiful park grounds. If you stick around until evening, your kids will love watching a movie at the outdoor Walt Disney Amphitheater.
2/ Get wet at a local splash pad
Everyone knows that Florida gets hot, and unfortunately Orlando isn’t located near the ocean to take advantage of the sea breeze. But don’t let that concern you! Orlando is home to a number of incredible splash pads that your kids are guaranteed to love even more than the beach! Splash pads are a great way to keep cool and get the whole family involved in the fun.
3/ Check out the local sports team
Do your kids love sports?
If you time your trip right, take advantage of the easily accessible Amway Center, home of the Orlando Magic. The NBA season normally runs from October-August, which also happens to be a great time to visit Orlando since it won’t be quite as hot. Tickets are available online, along with details on the various promotions that occur throughout the season.
4/ Visit the Manatees at Blue Spring State Park
Manatees are known as the “cows of the sea.” They are some of the most gentle and docile sea creatures and your children will never forget the experience of seeing them firsthand. Depending on when you visit, you may even be able to see baby manatees swimming alongside their mothers. If you’re interested in learning more about manatees and Blue Spring State Park, check out their Wild Manatee Cams for a sneak peek!
|Manatees on the Crystal River|
Alternatively, drive to Crystal River where you’ll join a team of manatee experts on a cruise. Snorkel gear provided!
5/ Let your imagination run wild at WonderWorks
WonderWorks is a huge space devoted to helping kids learn through hands on “edu-tainment” (education + entertainment). Whether your kids are interested in national disasters, outer space, or obstacle courses, WonderWorks has it all! Exhibits change regularly, so be sure to check out their website to find out what’s currently being offered.
|Wonder Works Admission Ticket|
Includes general admission, one 4D Motion Ride, one (1) Ropes Course and Laser Tag.
6/ Go ziplining
Are your kids older and looking for a thrill? No need to visit a theme park! Zip Orlando offers daring adventures just minutes from all of the popular Orlando destinations. With over 4500 feet of zip lines passing through beautiful Floridian forests, this is one adventure that should be considered “can’t miss” for your family vacation. More info here.
7/ Join in on storytime at the Central Florida Zoo
Each week, the Central Florida Zoo hosts a special kid-friendly session of storytime at the zoo. This program includes special presentations by trained storytellers from the Orange County Library System and is a great opportunity for kids to socialize and to experience animals from around the world. The zoo also has a number of other programs and events occurring throughout the week, sure to fit into anyone’s itinerary.
8/ Play putt-putt golf
Awarded the best miniature golf course in Florida for multiple years in a row, Congo River Golf isn’t just an activity; it’s an experience. The course is filled with waterfalls, caves and tropical rainforests that are sure to engage your kids’ imaginations and have them begging to play another round. Just beware of the live alligators!
9/ Visit the Florida Everglades for an Airboat ride
The Everglades are a crucial part of Florida’s ecosystem and are filled with all sorts of incredible wildlife. On an airboat tour your family will be able to enjoy seeing alligators and birds in their natural habitats. Some airboat tours also include the opportunity to watch professional alligator wrestlers, so bring along your cameras and prepare for an unforgettable adventure!
|Private Airboat Tour with Alligator Encounter and Transport|
Enjoy a 1 hour private airboat ride and see an alligator handling demonstration. Get picked up and dropped off directly at your hotel. Lunch included.
10/ Go canoeing at Wekiwa Springs State Park
Wekiwa Springs is located just outside of Orlando and is the home of many different opportunities for adventure. If you like horses, Wekiwa Springs has 100-year old trails wandering throughout Florida’s forests. You can spend time hiking or cycling throughout the forest, where you might encounter deer, otters, or alligators. If it’s an especially hot day you should check out swimming at some of the unique springs, or rent a canoe to see the terrain by boat.
11/ Explore the stars at the Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center is open seven days a week and includes special admission rates for children. The exhibits vary, but here’s a glimpse of what you could see:
- Dino Digs – a chance to dig for fossils and learn more about these prehistoric monsters.
- Our Planet – a learning experience where your kids can explore the four spheres of Earth and learn how they interact together to make life possible on our planet.
- Severe Weather Center – the opportunity for your kids to get hands on with how meteorologists study data and forecast weather.
If you’re not a fan of theme parks, don’t cross Orlando off your potential vacation options! This list is just a small sample of the number of great things to do in Orlando with kids besides theme parks. The weather is consistently beautiful and the options for adventure abound. Visit Orlando and create memories that will last both you and your kids a lifetime.