Most family vacations to Orlando often involve a trip to Disney or Universal Studios. While these destinations are truly incredible, Orlando has plenty of other fun family activities. During a seven week stay in the Orlando and Kissimmee area, only one day was spent at Disney. That left us plenty of time to explore the other fun and exciting things Orlando has to offer. Make sure you check out our savvy tips at the bottom to see how to save money when visiting Orlando with kids!
The Orlando Science Center is the perfect place to pass away a rainy day with kids. It has lots of different themed areas to explore with activities for all ages. The biggest hit for our young kids was the Kids Town that is designed for infants to seven year olds. We spent more than half our time in that interactive room.
Florida is home to some wonderful state parks, which made some of the highlights of our trip. Wekiwa State Park provides an opportunity to get out into nature and see some wildlife. Go for a hike and bring a picnic to enjoy this natural setting. You can rent canoes and kayak’s from the park office to enjoy a paddle along the Weikva River and Rock Springs Run. And don’t forget to bring your swim suit for a dip in the springs!
What kid wouldn’t love a place that is full of alligators? Well there’s more than just gators on offer at Gatorland. Kids will love the aviary, petting zoo and animal shows. For bigger kids, there is a zip line (Check for Groupon deals for their zip line ride). Kids big and small can splash around in their small water park to cool off after seeing all the animals.
Stuck inside with the kids on a rainy day? Consider a visit to Monkey Joe’s Play Center that has enough bouncy castles for any kid to burn off their energy. While not a major attraction by any means, this play center located within the Pointe Orlando shopping centre has enough fun activities to keep your child entertained. Older kids can load money onto cards to play arcade games, while younger toddlers can play on smaller play castles. There is a dedicated dining area perfect for sitting down to lunch purchased on-site or brought from home.
Celebration – the town that Disney built! We loved visiting Celebration and spent many days just wandering around this idyllic town. Peaceful and tranquil, this place makes you feel as though you have entered a real life Pleasantville. We enjoy just strolling around the neighbourhood and exploring the downtown area. On Saturday, there is a lovely farmers market with lots of great finds. Make sure to check out the restaurants for some delicious meals!
Lake Eola is located in downtown Orlando. The park is set around a great big lake and is a nice little oasis in the middle of downtown. There are swan paddle boats for rent and lots of live swans and other birds in the park. We like to go on Sunday’s during the farmer’s market. Be sure to grab some food from one of the food trucks and a spot on the grass to enjoy a nice afternoon picnic.
The Kennedy Space Center is a must do when in Orlando with kids. A highlight will be meeting an astronaut and learning all about outer space. Watching an IMAX movie will only add to the adventure. Depending on when your Orlando vacation is scheduled for, you might have the chance to see a live rocket launch!
Old Town is a re-creation of a classic Florida town at the turn of the century, featuring historical architecture and distinctive storefronts. It is an interesting place to walk around and explore the different shops. The main attraction is the old car show that happens on every Friday and Saturday night. Oh, and there is an amusement park – don’t tell the kids.
The Atlanta Braves home base for spring training is in Orlando at the ESPN Wide World of Sports. It’s a great opportunity to introduce the kids to professional baseball. Ticket prices are usually much lower then regular season game prices. We caught a game when our beloved Toronto Blue Jays were playing against the Braves!
Savvy Tip for Orlando with Kids:
Never pay full price for activities in Orlando/Kissimmee!
Groupon.com is a great resource for discounts on the top attractions. Also before you go look for coupons online that you can print or show on your phone. If you are a resident of Florida, local residents are often offered savings for most of the great attractions (proof of residency required).