The dog days of summer are at an end and the kids are already back in school. But, in the land of perpetual sunshine, there are always fun things to do with the kiddos. Whether you are looking for a short, fun outing, day-tripping, or a family getaway, the City Beautiful offers fun activities for children of all ages. Best part? None of them are at a theme park! Now you don’t have to feel that the only way to keep the kiddos busy is by taking them to Universal Studios Florida, Magic Kingdom, or any of the water parks.
Things to do in Orlando with Kids
If you are looking for fun things to do in Orlando with kids, that isn’t going to one of the major theme parks, then you will definitely want to check out this list. Here are 22 fun activities that you can do with kids in the Orlando area!
Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens
Lions, tigers, and bears – oh my! Gather up your safari adventurers and head over to the Central Florida Zoo and Botanical Gardens. About a half-hour north of Orlando in Sanford, the Zoo has something for all the members of the family to enjoy. The Barnyard Buddies attraction allows guests to get up close and personal with chickens, llamas, and alpacas. Children are even allowed to feed the animals for an even better interactive experience (additional charge). More encounters like rhinoceros petting, giraffe feedings, and even a private experience for the family are all available at the zoo for an additional cost.
If you want to take your adventure to the skies, try the Seminole Zipline Adventure to glimpse the animals in their natural habitat while navigating through the trees. Minors under the age of thirteen must be accompanied by an adult. Both minors and adults will need to sign a waiver.
While touring the zoo, make sure to stop and smell the flowers in the beautiful botanical gardens. The Butterfly Garden is a magical place filled with annuals and perennials selected to attract butterflies and hummingbirds. The Health and Wellness Garden explores the history of plants and the medicines we take. Some of the other gardens around the zoo include the fern collection, the Browse collection, and the Spines, Thorns, and Prickles Garden.
The zoo is open daily from 9 am to 4 pm and simply put, this place is awesome!
Chocolate Museum and Café
You had me at chocolate! The Chocolate Museum and Café is located on International Drive and it does not disappoint. From the moment you walk in, you smell deliciousness and cannot wait to explore. Learn about the history of chocolate and where it comes from, and of course, sample some of it along the way. The museum is open daily from noon to 6 pm. Children four and under are free and there is a charge for children over four and adults. There are some events that are for adults only so if you are planning the day with the kiddos, make alternate arrangements so you can enjoy a night of Sparkling Time or the Wine and Chocolate Pairing. Even though there will be chocolate all around, this outing might be better suited for elementary to middle school kiddos.
There are so many fun things to do in the Orlando area, and one of them is the Crayola Experience. Located near the Florida Mall, the whole family will enjoy interactive experiences with colorful characters and live shows. The younger children will enjoy Toddler Town and older kids get a thrill out of the Silly Selfies room. When you are ready to close out your day, head over to Wrap It Up where you can personalize a crayon and take it home. Crayola Experience also has an indoor playground where the kids can burn off some energy. There is definitely something to do there for everyone in the family, however, we recommend checking the website or calling first before heading over there. Due to staffing, some shows may be closed while other events may be limited. Even if a show you want to see may be closed, visiting the Crayola Experience is still a great way to spend the day.
Crayola Experience is located at The Florida Mall, so after your fun time playing inside head over to one of the restaurants to grab some great eats.
If your budding artist wants to continue creating at home, you’ll want to grab this all-in-one art kit.
Review of Crayola Experience: Crayola Experience Orlando: A Fun Experience for Kids
Some of the best things in life are big and nothing says big like a visit to Dinosaur World! Located in Plant City, a little less than ninety minutes outside of Orlando, visitors will find one of the most popular attractions in Central Florida. Open daily from 9 am to 5 pm, little archeologists will get a glimpse into the past. Visit the Prehistoric Museum and watch animatronics bring dinosaurs to life. While the family might want to do everything there, including dino gem digs and excavations, there are different costs for different activities, so we advise checking the website before heading over. Younger children will enjoy the sensory satisfaction of the dig while older kids will be amazed at what they dig up. Please keep in mind that is no food service at the park so if you plan on making a day of Dinosaur World with the family, pack a lunch or use Dino’s Pizza delivery service.
While Discovery Cove may be a part of a larger theme park, it is a hidden gem that many locals overlook. Discovery Cove’s all-inclusive pricing makes it great for families. You don’t have to worry about kids grabbing extra eats or an extra drink as it is all included; everything from breakfast to lunch, snacks, drinks and parking are included. If adults want alcoholic drinks, you can pay for an upgrade.
At Discovery Cove, they have multiple pools including a wave pool, wading pools, and a lazy river. Our favorite place at Discovery Cove is The Grand Reef where you can go snorkeling with a variety of tropical fish and stingrays. Discovery Cove also offers a variety of animal interactions including feeding stingrays, swimming with the sharks, or becoming a trainer for a day.
You’ll definitely want to bring along an underwater camera so that you can grab some great shots in The Reef.
Here is a little Disney, without being too much Disney. Disney Springs is designed for the family that loves to eat, shop, and play, all in the same area. The entire family will be mesmerized by Cirque du Soleil or get a little more physical and challenge each other at Splitsville, the bowling alley. Take a ride on one of the amphicars at The Boathouse, go for a ride on the ferry, or take to the skies on the tethered balloon. Catch a movie at AMC or catch a free show at Riverboat Square.
If you are ready to get your grub on, there are dozens of restaurants to visit that cater to every taste. Enjoy foods from hamburgers and hot dogs to seafood and fresh vegan options from the Local Green Orlando food truck. Since Disney Springs is one of Orlando’s best attractions, it can get busy at night and on weekends. If you have a reservation, we do recommend that you arrive at least one hour early in order to find parking and walk to your attractions.
Most of the shops and events are open daily from 10 am to 11:30 pm, but to make sure your favorite spot is open, we recommend checking the website or calling the store directly.
District Eat and Play
Pull your teenagers off their phones and take them over District in the Oviedo Mall. About half an hour outside of Orlando, District Eat and Play is one-stop shopping for fun! At their location, you will find four different escape rooms with different themes and challenge levels to choose from, ten boutique bowling lanes, and of course, arcade games that will appeal to kids and adults of all ages.
Axe throwing is the new hot activity and District Eat and Play doesn’t disappoint in this regard, offering a few different axe throwing lanes.. Unfortunately, axe throwing is only for those twelve and over, so no littles are allowed.
Once everyone has worked up an appetite, head over to the restaurant to grab some great eats like wings, burgers, wraps, nachos, salads and more.
If you love escape rooms, then you will want to check out Escape Game. The Escape Game hosts seven different escape rooms with a variety of themes. Your family can try to break out of prison, try to pull off the ultimate museum heist, repair a spaceship to get off of Mars before a spaceship hits and more. Work together to find clues and figure out puzzles. The difficulty and the number of players per escape room varies. If you have younger kids, I would recommend The Playground escape room as that is the easiest one that they offer.
Each session lasts 60 minutes but ends if you escape before the allotted time.
Let the games begin! Game Time is a perfect way to spend a rainy day with the entire family. There are several locations sprinkled throughout Florida, the two closest locations to Orlando are in Ocoee and in Kissimmee at Margaritaville’s Sunset Walk. Game Time is over 25,000 sq ft of games varying for car driving games, to fighting games and carnival games. There are games that kids of all ages, and parents too will enjoy. Game Time also offers a great deal for playing games without tickets. The price for one-hour of play is $25 and is valid at both Ocoee and Kissimmee. Two hours is $40 and 3 hours is $50.
Game Time also has a restaurant where you can grab food in between games. The food is a great slice of Americana. Game floor hours vary depending on the location and the day of the week. Please note that the restaurant and sports bar’s hours may differ.
If you are visiting Game Time in Kissimmee, after playing games, you can explore all that Sunset Walk has to offer including restaurants, various dessert places, a dine-in movie theater and live music Tuesday through Sunday.
Review of Game Time: Get Your Play On at Game Time
Fun Spot America
Fun Spot America is a great place to take the kids if they are looking to ride some rides, but you don’t want to put a huge dent in your pocketbook. Fun Spot is similar to the boardwalk or carnival rides of old. There are two Fun Spots in the area, one in downtown Orlando and one in Kissimmee. They both offer a variety of rides including a Ferris wheel, go-karts, roller coasters, bumper cars, carousels and more. There is also a kiddie area for the younger riders in the group. The Orlando Fun Spot also has Gator Spot where you can look at different alligators and a splash pad for cooling off on all those hot Florida days. For those daredevils in the group, Fun Spot offers the Skycoaster. Riders will drop from a height of around 250 ft. and fly across the park.
Fun Spot has free admission, so if someone is not going on any rides, they don’t have to pay to enter the park. Also, if you have a small child that needs an adult to ride with them, Fun Spot offers a chauffeur pass that allows an adult to ride with a small child for free.
The Kissimmee Fun Spot is located right next to Old Town Kissimmee. After riding rides at the park, head on over to Old Town to visit one of its attractions including Mortem Manor, Rootin & Tootin’s Shootin Alley or The Hangman Challenge. Old Town also has a variety of eats including grab-and-go or sit-down restaurants.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Beautiful flowers in the City Beautiful. The Harry P. Leu Gardens is one of the best things in the Orlando area. The Gardens offers something for everyone in the family; young children will enjoy exploring the park and visiting the Rose Garden, Children’s Garden, Butterfly Garden and Vegetable Garden among others, while older kids will love the classes, camps, and workshops specially designed for them. Leu Gardens also hosts special activities throughout the year such as Fairy Doors which is a scavenger hunt for hidden fairy doors throughout the property, included with your admission ticket, and Dazzling Nights, a walkthrough holiday light experience, an extra ticketed event.
For a fun family evening, try their movie night in the park where you are able to bring your own picnic and enjoy a movie in the beauty of the gardens. Take a tour of the gardens and learn about their history.
When you are all done touring the 50-acre funfest, stop into the nearby East End Market to grab some local eats.
About forty-five minutes outside of Orlando, the town of Tavares holds this little gem. Jungle Zone is an inflatable play park that is a great place for little ones to enjoy. The main inflatables are interconnected with slides and bouncers to keep riders happy for hours. While Jungle Zone would be fun for kids of all ages; it is a perfect place for toddlers and preschoolers. The Toddler Zone is open to children ages four and under. The first Wednesday of every month is Toddler Day and the entire play park is open to toddlers only! The hours and times may vary, so we recommend calling or visiting their website before taking the whole family for a fun day out!
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
While not in the Orlando Metro area, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is not a far drive away and is very much worth a visit. You can plan the day for your little space explorer using the Kennedy Space Center visitor itinerary; if you have little ones under ten years old, there’s a less strenuous schedule offered for them. For older kids (ten and up), the one-day itinerary consists of a visit to the Heroes and Legends Hall of Fame, a Kennedy Space Center bus tour, and the Lego Build to Launch, just to name a few.
The fun doesn’t end because the tour is over – take your little space cadets to a local eatery or finish off your day trip by visiting one of the beaches on the Space Coast.
Kennedy Space Center is located on Merritt Island in Brevard County and is open daily from 9 am to 5 pm.
Continue your kids’ space exploration at home with this NASA Lunar Telescope.
Lukas Nursery and Butterfly Encounter
Named as one of the twenty-five largest attractions in Florida, the Lukas Nursery and Butterfly Encounter offers little kids and older kids a unique nature experience. Just a few miles outside of Orlando in Oviedo, the nearly 4000 square foot nursery has beautiful flowers, both local and global, and an aviary with exotic birds and brightly colored finches. Open daily from 9 am to 4 pm, go and see the largest collection of native butterflies in the area, and if you are lucky, you may even get a butterfly to eat off your fingertips. If you get inspired by the beauty of the nursery, someone can help you build your own butterfly garden.
Looking for a place for your little one to “hang out?” Then look no further than Monkey Joe’s. Monkey Joe’s is an inflatable play center where kids can jump, bounce and slide to their heart’s content. , Monkey Joe’s has a dedicated toddler area for your little ones to be safe while they play. They have arcade games for the older ones and a great concession stand. They are closed on Sundays and have varying hours throughout the week so we recommend visiting their website or giving a call to see hours of operation or to find out the daily specials.
Monkey Joe’s is located at The Pointe Orlando on International Drive and is geared towards children 12 and under.
My Little Town Kids
Rainy day and the kids are bored in the house? My Little Town Kids has the remedy for that! The My Little Town Kids playground has a variety of areas and toys for kids to play with. Kids can play in the market or in the firehouse, they can build with giant interlocking bricks, fo for a ride around the track, play dress up and lots more.
My Little Town Kids is for kids from 6 months old to eight years old two. Purchase a two-hour play pass for the kiddos and adults can accompany the kids for free. The best part is that you do not have to make a reservation for open play – just come in during normal business hours. Kids from 9-11 can also enter My Little Town Kids at a discounted rate. You can even plan the little one’s birthday party here!
There are two locations – one in Orlando on Whisper Lakes Blvd. and the other in Seminole Towne Center Mall in Sanford. Open daily from 10 am to 7pm.
Orlando Science Center
Are you looking for something for the entire family to enjoy? Then you need look no further than the Orlando Science Center. It is the perfect place for kids of all ages to have a blast. From toddlers to older kids, whether it’s just a quick outing or a rainy day activity, OSC offers so much to do! There are four floors filled with all kinds of things for explorers to get into including a dino dig, a kinetic zone, nature exhibit, STEAM gallery, kiddie play area and more. The Science Center also offers workshops in the HIVE Makerspace for older kids, planetarium shows and live science shows. They also have a rotating exhibit that changes throughout the year, so visitors will never get bored. The hours vary as well as closures so we recommend calling or checking the website for up-to-date information.
How do you keep the kiddos busy and still have fun? Take those city slickers strawberry picking! Head over to Pappy’s Patch in Oviedo. The family-owned farm offers kids of all ages the chance to get dirty and pick strawberries, all while having fun. Picking hours vary on the farm so we recommend visiting their Facebook page to check for early closures.
Rock Springs at Kelly Park
In the land of perpetual sunshine, families are always looking for fun ways to cool off. Rock Springs at Kelly Park in Apopka is just that place for the whole family to visit and spend the day. Just a little outside of Orlando, Florida is home to the wonders of natural spring waters and they are here for the entire family to enjoy. You can visit for a couple of hours or rent a pavilion and spend the day. There is an admission fee, per vehicle. Once parked, the kiddos can tube down the springs, visit the concession stand, or dry off while having fun at the playground.
Sea Life Orlando Aquarium
Sharks, turtles, and stingrays – oh my! If you are looking for them and more of their friends, the Sea Life Orlando Aquarium is the place for you and your family. A great Orlando attraction where the entire family will enjoy learning about local aquatic life through interactive experiences like the Coastal Rockpool. Visit the 360° Ocean Tunnel and find out what it is like to live in the ocean without even getting wet! Watch as sharks, turtles, eels, octopus, and even seahorses swim all around you with a gorgeous panoramic view. The hours vary daily, so we recommend checking the website or call in advance before planning to spend the day with amazing aquatic life! if you are a Florida resident, you can double the fun by simply purchasing a combination ticket for Sea Life Orlando Aquarium and gain entry to Madame Tussauds Orlando too! Both attractions are in ICON Park for convenience and fun!
After visiting Sea Life Orlando Aquarium, you can head over to some of the other attractions inside Icon Park including the Museum of Illusions, Madame Tussauds (as mentioned above), In the Game, The Carousel and The Wheel. Icon Park also has great eats including Sugar Factory, Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, Ole Red and many more.
Review of Sea Life Aquarium: Visiting SeaLife Orlando Aquarium and Madame Tussauds Orlando with Kids
Universal City Walk Orlando
This might be the ultimate in a day trip with the family! Universal City Walk, located in Universal Orlando Resort, is an entertainment complex with plenty of things to keep the family busy like rides, mini golf, movies, and plenty of places to eat! If riding roller coasters or fast-paced rides is not your thing, then just stroll through City Walk and take in the scenery…who knows, you might even see a character or two! The park hours vary so we recommend visiting the website before heading out with the family.
Did you ever wish that you could excite all of your senses at the same time in the same place? WonderWorks on International Drive in Orlando is here for you! Kids of all ages will enjoy interactive experiences like the weather zone, the science lab, and the imagination lab, just to name a few. WonderWorks even has a ropes course and the entire family can test their spy skills on the laser course. There is even a dinner show offered at WonderWorks. At night, Wonder Works has a fun dinner show that is great for the entire family called the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. The show comes with salad, pizza, fountain drinks and dessert.
For adults and children with special needs or sensory issues, there are special days that they provide playtime with limited stimulation and lowered music, truly making WonderWorks a great place for the entire family. There is so much to do at WonderWorks that you might have to go a few times to see and do everything.