One of the ways to minimize the stress of planning a family vacation is to choose a destination that offers plenty of activities that kids of all ages enjoy. Whether you have toddlers, elementary students, teens, or a mix, there are certainly plenty of fun things to do in Orlando with kids.
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Things to Do in Orlando with Kids
Some of the best Orlando attractions are theme parks so let’s discuss these first. From Walt Disney World Resort to Universal Orlando Resort, you’ll find rides, attractions, and fun food that kids and parents all enjoy.
All of the Walt Disney World Resort theme parks and water parks are on the list because they are extremely popular with families. With this in mind, don’t forget that you can find a Walt Disney World tickets discount through authorized sellers and that you can take advantage of concierge service at Get Away Today when you bundle tickets with a resort hotel stay.
However, if these aren’t your speed, don’t worry. We have also listed plenty of options for things to do in Orlando with kids besides Disney and other theme parks. (And, you can also read about the best hotels for kids in Orlando, Florida — Four Seasons Orlando is my favorite — to consider.)
Magic Kingdom Park
Families flock to the Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort for the same reason Walt Disney originally created it. “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is home to rides and attractions across six themed lands based on fairy tales and the most famous Disney characters, with Cinderella’s Castle at the heart. It is currently the most visited theme park in the world. You can read more about how a VIP tour can help you skip lines.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios brings some of the most beloved movie characters and franchises to life. This Walt Disney World Resort theme park is home to the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land with its extremely popular Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance and Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run rides. Toy Story Land makes guests feel like toys wandering around Andy’s backyard, which younger kids are sure to love.
If thrills are more your speed, head down Hollywood Boulevard to the stomach butterfly inducing Twilight Zone Tower of Terror or Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster Starring Aerosmith, two of the most exciting rides in the Disney parks.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom
The immersive nature of Disney’s Animal Kingdom makes it easy to get absorbed in activities like digging for faux dinosaur fossils in the Boneyard, traversing rapids, or enjoying a safari ride. Looking for a high-tech experience? Avatar’s Flight of Passage, a 3-D flight over Pandora can fill that void.
Expedition Everest also offers guests high-speed fun with exciting drops and surprising twists and turns along the way. It is a zoological theme park designed specifically to care for and protect the animal residents, ranging from exotic birds to Komodo dragons, while also incorporating rides and attractions.
EPCOT is the most unique of the Disney theme parks as its focus is on modern innovation and is divided into two main parts. Future World greets guests with the iconic Spaceship Earth geodesic sphere. The science and innovation portion of the park boasts attractions such as Soarin’ Around the World, Test Track, and Mission: SPACE.
Cultural enthusiasts enjoy spending time perusing the offerings at the 11 country-specific pavilions that make up World Showcase. Each has its own authentic cuisine, beverages, and attractions for guests of all ages to experience.
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park
The surf’s up almost all year long at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. This shipwrecked-themed water park is home to one of the largest surf pools in the world. Hang out close to the water’s edge or jump the 6-foot waves.
Take the younger kids to Ketchakiddee Creek, the section of the park with smaller waterslides and splash pools designed for kids 48” tall and under. If Mom and Dad need a time out, the lazy river is the perfect place to float your cares away.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
A winter-themed water park doesn’t seem like it should work, but Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will change your mind. The highlight is Mount Gushmore where you’ll climb aboard a chairlift to be taken to the top to access the major waterslides, including the 120-foot Summit Plummet, one of the tallest vertical-drop water slides in the city.
Take the family down Teamboat Springs, the family rapids ride and then hang out with the smaller kids at Tike’s Peak.
Universal Studios Florida
Step into favorite movies and TV shows at Universal Studios Florida. Follow Jimmy Fallon through New York or pick up some Harry Potter gear like chocolate frogs at Honeyduke’s inside Diagon Alley. The park offers a mix of 3-D experiences and fast-paced adventures.
If you visit Orlando around Halloween, check out Halloween Horror Nights. This special-ticketed, after-hours, fully immersive event gives horror fans a chance to experience realistic haunted houses themed to famous shows and movies, such as Stranger Things, the Walking Dead, and Ghostbusters. We have some advice on how to skip the lines.
Universal’s Islands of Adventure
Universal’s Islands of Adventure allows visitors to explore seven mythical, mystical, and adventurous themed islands. The Hulk and Rip Roarin’ Rocket offers roller coaster fans two unique and adrenaline-spiking experiences. T
his is where Harry Potter fans visit Ollivander’s for wands, visit Hogwarts, and strolling around the Hogsmeade streets with a Butterbeer in-hand. Jurassic Park River Adventure is popular for those who enjoy this dinosaur franchise. You can also buy discount Universal Orlando tickets.
Universal’s Volcano Bay
A volcano on the side of a highway would be quite the sight anywhere, but in this case, it serves as the centerpiece of Universal’s Volcano Bay water park. The volcano is the starting point for many of the park’s water slides.
Perhaps what makes this water park so unique is the state-of-the-art Virtual Line. The system saves you from spending hours in lines and instead alerts you when it is time to return to your ride. This gives guests a chance to eat, swim, or shop while waiting for their time on the slides.
The mission of SeaWorld Orlando is to educate and preserve the world’s oceans and the most vulnerable resources within them. It continues to accomplish this by educating guests through interactive exhibits and encounters. Learn about different species of penguins, ride through a tunnel of sharks, and view killer whales both above and below the water.
Do you have adrenaline junkies in the family? Let them loose on one of the roller coasters. We also have advice for buying SeaWorld Orlando discount tickets so that you can save money for other amazing adventures.
If your family has ever wanted to swim with marine life, look no further than Discovery Cove. This family water adventure allows guests to snorkel with rays, swim with bottlenose dolphins, and even swim with sharks (older kids only).
You can bask in the rays of the Florida sun on a sandy beach and float through a free-flight aviary filled with exotic birds on Tropical River. I also have advice for finding the best price on Discovery Cove tickets.
Aquatica Orlando is the sister park of SeaWorld Orlando and located next door. The Southern Pacific themed water park offers something for all ages and swimming abilities such as big slides (some you can ride together as a family), a lazy river, fun wave pools, and a kids’ play area.
TIPMany of the following things to do in Orlando for kids are on the Go Orlando pass which can save you up to 42% off of gate admission!
The upside-down building that you see on International Drive is home to the innovative and investigative WonderWorks. This hands-on attraction allows kids of all ages to explore science-based interactive exhibits. Step inside a hurricane simulator, give an on-air weather report, and test your balance on the ropes course.
Madame Tussauds Orlando
Life-sized wax figures at Madame Tussauds Orlando at ICON Park allow guests to cozy up next to some of their favorite famous people and historic figures. The newest superheroes gallery makes you feel like you’re right in the middle of the adventure with your favorite comic book heroes, from Aquaman to Batman.
For those families who enjoy carnival-style swing rides, Orlando StarFlyer on International Drive is a must-do. It is billed as the world’s tallest swing ride, towering 450 feet above the ground. It’s located at the Icon Park entertainment center and amusement park on International Drive.
7D Dark Ride Adventure
If your family enjoys chasing zombies through a virtual field, the 7D Dark Ride Adventure should be on your list of things to do. Located on International Drive, this unique experience allows riders to don glasses and pick up a weapon to defeat the barrage of the undead who threaten to attack.
Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
If your family isn’t afraid of exploring the stranger things in life, Orlando’s Ripley’s Believe It or Not! gives guests the weirdest of the weird. Exhibits include the world’s tallest and shortest men, optical illusions, and shrunken heads. Hands-on activities for kids abound.
No visit to Florida is complete without seeing the state’s most ancient inhabitants. Gatorland provides everyone in the family an up-close look at these scaly reptiles. Make sure you take in the gator wrestling show for some heart-pounding entertainment.
Handlers at the park also educate guests on how these giant reptiles live as well as basic safety measures should you encounter them outside the park.
The Holy Land Experience
Take a journey through the Bible at The Holy Land Experience. This theme park recreates lands and events mentioned in scripture. Live shows and ever-changing exhibits make this a must-see for families who are interested in Biblical history.
Congo River Adventure Golf
Take a time out to up your putt-putt game at the Congo River Adventure Golf complex in Lake Buena Vista. The theme is jungle adventure, and you’ll get to play your way through rock formations and scattered pieces of artifacts unearthed by mythical architects.
Take part in the on-course scavenger hunt to receive a prize at the end. After your round, try your hand at gem mining or feed a gator. The complex has plenty to offer for kids in Orlando.
Fun Spot America
If you and the family enjoy go-carts, and carnival games, Fun Spot America will give you what you’re looking for. Roller-coaster enthusiasts will want to take a ride on White Lightning, Orlando’s only wooden coaster. Thrill-seekers should check out the Skycoaster, a combination skydiving, hang gliding experience that soars up to 300 feet. It’s the tallest ride of its kind in the world.
Nona Adventure Park
Nona Adventure Park is a water adventure full of pulleys that allow guests to kneeboard and ski without the need for a boat. The center of the lake features inflatable and floating challenges and play-pieces like a ropes course and slide.
Orlando Science Center
For a hands-on, educational, and interactive exhibits kids will love, take a visit to the Orlando Science Center. Located in downtown Orlando, the museum lets kids wander through dinosaur bones, experiment with energy, and interact with Florida wildlife. Children 7 and under will love exploring Kids Town by climbing, splashing, and working on age-specific experiments of their own.
Orlando Museum of Art
If you have a budding artist in the family, you’ll want to make time to visit the Orlando Museum of Art. It is billed as one of the best museums in Orlando because the art spans various periods in history. With constantly changing exhibits and special events, the museum located in downtown Orlando displays every type of visual medium.
Modern art enthusiasts will want to take time to explore the offerings at the Mennello Museum. From the sculpture garden that dots the beautifully landscaped lakeside grounds to constantly changing exhibitions inside, there is bound to be something for everyone. The Mennello’s permanent exhibits include art by various American folk artists including Earl Cunningham.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
A detour to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum is necessary for any fans of American art so they can see the world’s most extensive collection of Tiffany creations, including stained glass and jewelry. Other exhibits include paintings and graphics from various American and European artists, such as Samuel F.B. Morse and sculptures from the likes of Carl Faberge and Thomas Crawford. Yes, even kids in Orlando enjoy this museum.
Check out the most current schedule of events at this local arena to see if you can score tickets for an ice show, concert, or Cirque du Soleil performance. During the basketball season, this is where you can take the family to see the Orlando Magic NBA team play.
Orlando City Stadium
Orlando City Soccer Club, a Major League Soccer team, plays at Orlando City Stadium. Check the team’s schedule to see if they are playing a home game while you are in town.
Free Things to Do in Orlando With Kids
You don’t have to break the bank on the kids’ activities Orlando and its surrounding areas have to offer. There are plenty of low-cost or free places to explore with the whole family.
It’s free to wander around Disney Springs, the entertainment complex inside Walt Disney World Resort. Those in Orlando on Disney vacations are likely to be headed here anyway and you can arrive by water taxis from various points on the resort.
International Drive Orlando
One of the busiest areas of the city is International Drive. It is home to the Orlando Eye, StarLyner, WonderWorks, and many other non-theme park attractions in addition to. It also features an array of hotels, shopping, and restaurants. The Orlando Convention Center, also located here, often hosts traveling exhibits, car shows, and other special events worth checking out.
TIPIf you are willing to pick it up (International Drive is a location), you can purchase the Kids Eat FREE Orlando pass at a discount for deals on dining out as a family.
ICON Park is home to attractions like the Orlando Eye, but you can enjoy most of what the complex or restaurants, boutiques, bars, and attractions has to offer for free including. There are lots of good spots for photos and you can enjoy The Wheel’s colorful night lights.
Universal CityWalk at Universal Orlando
Universal CityWalk comes alive with street performers and live entertainment at night. Walking around this entertainment area near Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure is always free; however, parking is not.
This unique master-planned community just outside the Walt Disney World Resort is full of cute courtyards and public parks. The town square has ice cream shops and local specialty offerings that often give out free samples on the weekends.
Celebration, Florida was originally created by Disney and is connected to the resort by World Drive which is near the Magic Kingdom.
ESPN Wide World of Sports
This sports-themed attraction located near Walt Disney World theme parks hosts several sporting events throughout the year. You can walk freely throughout the grounds and visit the ESPN gift shop.
Big Tree Park
Over in Seminole County, take the family out for a hike under the shade of some of the oldest tree canopies in the state at Big Tree Park. At the center of the park, you will find what remains of the world’s oldest bald cypress tree, The Senator, which burned down in 2012.
Explore the park grounds on the boardwalk and let the kids enjoy the playground, all under the natural hydric hammock.
The Florida Mall
One of the largest indoor malls in the state, The Florida Mall offers guests the chance to escape the heat without spending a penny. There are even indoor play stations throughout the multi-level mall perfect for letting kids in Orlando burn off energy.
Lake Eola Park
If outside is more your speed, take the family for a walk around idyllic Lake Eola in the heart of downtown Orlando. The .9-mile loop allows kids the chance to interact with various play structures while admiring the beautiful lake surrounded by city buildings. For a nominal fee, you can paddle around the lake on a swan boat or take in a production at the amphitheater.
Things to Do Near Orlando with Kids
There are a variety of activities and attractions you can experience outside of the Orlando metropolitan area on a day trip. Most, if not all, are within a couple of hours’ driving distance. Rent a car and check out any of these other offerings around Central Florida.
Busch Gardens TAMPA
Thrill-seekers won’t want to miss a trip over to Tampa to spend a day at Busch Gardens. The theme park is chock-full of roller coasters of every thrill level.
Little kids will enjoy meeting their favorite friends on Sesame Street, while animal lovers will have a wild time with the safari and encounter animals like gorillas, giraffes, and tigers throughout the park. I also have advice for saving money on Busch Gardens Tampa tickets.
Museum of Science & Industry
Right around the corner from Busch Gardens in Tampa is the Museum of Science and Industry. This innovative and interactive museum experience gives kids and adults the chance to experiment with things like force, weather patterns, and rocket science. The exhibits frequently change to provide guests new experiences every time they visit.
The Florida Aquarium
Tampa is home to the Florida Aquarium, where families can get up close and personal with all types of sea life. Learn about the current methods being used to help keep the oceans safe and the wildlife below thriving. Kids can learn how they can help sea life by disposing of trash in proper receptacles along shorelines.
LEGOLAND Florida Resort
One of the most fun experiences for kids ages 12 and under is LEGOLAND Florida Resort in Winter Haven. The LEGO theme park offers over 50 kid-friendly rides, shows, and attractions and also operates a hotel and water park. Do not forget that you can buy discount LEGOLAND Florida tickets.
Just outside of Orlando is Wekiwa Springs State Park where guests can take a dip in the naturally fed springs. They are chilly so be prepared for an icy experience. You can also hike below the park’s natural canopy or take a boat tour to catch a glimpse of the manatees that fill the waters. You can overnight here at campgrounds or in RV parking.
Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek
Wander through the historical structures that have been assembled from around the state at Pioneer Village at Shingle Creek. The park, located in Kissimmee, allows visitors a chance to step back in time and visit things like an old-time post office and general store.
Old Town Kissimmee
Old Town Kissimmee is part amusement park and part lifestyle complex. There is something for every age, including a haunted house, mini coaster, shooting gallery, and Ferris wheel. The indoor arcade is reminiscent of boardwalks from the Northeast.
Take in a magic show at the Great Magic Hall in Old Town Kissimmee. The performers here are some of the best illusionists in the world and are sure to delight guests of all ages. With multiple showtimes daily, checking out a performance should fit well into your family’s schedule. Not to mention there are multiple options for shopping and dining.
Zipline through the trees at Forever Florida. With a variety of skill and thrill levels to explore, every member of the family may find something to do. Enjoy the scenery of Florida’s canopied landscape from various vantage points. Take an open-air safari on the Wild Coach Adventure or go exploring on horseback.
Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens
Sanford is host to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. The zoo allows guests to get to know animals such as jaguars, bobcats, and alligators that are natural inhabitants of the Sunshine State. Take the train around the property for a relaxing timeout and tour.
Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures
Careening through the shallower waters of the St. Johns River on an airboat is something every visitor to Florida should try. You and the family can experience the open-air excitement at Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures, one of the top outdoor things to do in Orlando.
American Police Hall of Fame
For law enforcement enthusiasts, take a day trip to Titusville to see the American Police Hall of Fame. This exhibit features police tools throughout time, including cars, handcuffs, and uniforms. The memorial to fallen officers is also worth the visit.
Things to Do in Orlando with Toddlers
Little kids want to participate just as much as the bigger ones, but keeping toddlers entertained may seem impossible. Besides the theme parks and other offerings mentioned above that accommodate toddlers, discover what to do in Orlando that smaller kids might enjoy.
Crayola Experience Orlando
Learn how crayons are made and create your own masterpieces at the Crayola Experience Orlando. The entire exhibit is geared to smaller kids and lets them do things like animate their own character, make markers, and create their own crayons, making it one of the best Orlando attractions for little ones.
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
Aquariums are an excellent place to let kids enjoy sea life without having to worry about large theme parks. The indoor SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium allows guests to view exotic fish, sharks, eels, and more up-close and without the worry of heat exhaustion or huge crowds. The aquarium is centrally located near Madame Tussauds on International Drive.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
Harry P. Leu Gardens lets kids be kids by giving them plenty of paths to run and explore. With over 50 acres, the gardens have multiple hiking trails that are covered by the shade of large oak trees. Explore one of the many lakes contained within the garden as well as the landscaped areas perfect for picnicking.
Monkey Joe’s Playground
If you have ever experienced the Florida sun, you will understand why Monkey Joe’s Playground makes this list. This indoor playground and play place allow young kids to climb, slide, and run, all while keeping them safe from the burning rays of the sun. Parents are encouraged to traverse the playsets with their children or relax and grab a bite to eat in the cafe.
With so many different activities that span the spectrum, Orlando is one of the most family-friendly vacation spots in the world. You don’t have to venture far to find something that everyone in the family will love.
Top photo credit: Walt Disney World Resort/Claire Celeste, photographer