5 Family Friendly Orlando Activities Your Kids Will Love
While Orlando may be synonymous with Disney World and Universal Studios, there are plenty of activities your kids will love at a variety of price points even your wallet can enjoy. From the iconic theme parks to local hot spots, the city serves up memories that will last a lifetime. No matter what brings you to Orlando, you're bound for family fun.
Embrace the Tradition: Orlando's Famous Theme Parks
When you tell someone you're visiting Orlando, the first question they'll probably ask is, "Are you going to Disney World?" The classic theme park put the Central Florida city on the map and features four parks: Magic Kingdom (1180 Seven Seas Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL), Animal Kingdom ( 2901 Osceola Pkwy., Orlando, FL), EPCOT (200 Epcot Center Dr., Orlando, FL) and Hollywood Studios (351 S. Studio Dr., Lake Buena Vista, FL).
Your kids will love interacting with their favorite Disney characters as well as riding the attractions at any of the parks. If roller coasters are more your family's style, consider visiting Universal Studios (6000 Universal Blvd, Orlando, FL) or Universal Studios Islands of Adventure (6000 Universal Blvd., Orlando, FL) instead. In addition to the thrilling twists and turns of the rides, Islands of Adventure boasts The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and Hogsmede. Your kids will love to see the books and movies come to life in this one-of-a-kind fantasy world. Orlando's theme parks are open year-round, with crowds swelling the most around the winter holiday season and in the summer.
Soak up the Sunshine: Visit Central Florida Beaches
A perk of visiting Orlando is the city's close proximity to several beaches. Within an hour's drive, you and your family can be playing in the waves, building sandcastles and collecting seashells. A trip to Cocoa Beach (401 Meade Ave., Cocoa Beach, FL) not only delivers the beach, but the pier and its activities. World-famous Ron Jon Surf Shop (4151 N. Atlantic Ave,. Cocoa Beach, FL) is also nearby, in case you forget anything or want to window shop. If you'd rather take a less touristy approach, visit New Smyrna Beach and park at the lot on Atlantic Boulevard and Hiles Street. You'll have to cross the street and walk a block, but you'll be gifted with a car-free, shop-free beach if you do.
Cool Off: Visit Nearby Natural Springs
Orlando's tropical climate can get muggy, but the city is easy driving distance from several natural springs that stay at 72 degrees F year-round. Each spring has its own calling card, and even if your trip to Central Florida comes at a time when you don't feel like getting in the water, you'll be able to appreciate the natural springs environment for more than its scenery. Blue Spring State Park (2100 W. French Ave., Orange City, FL) is a manatee mecca. Each year, thousands flock to the springs in the winter months. If you're in town, you won't want to miss it. De Leon Springs (601 Ponce Deleon Blvd., De Leon Springs, FL) is home to the Old Spanish Sugar Mill restaurant (601 Ponce Deleon Blvd., De Leon Springs, FL), widely known for its pancakes. Instead of ordering up, the tables feature built-in griddles so you can make your own. Your kids will not only love the hands-on approach, but the fact that breakfast is served all day.
Science Rules: Visit Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center (777 E. Princeton St., Orlando, FL) proves learning is fun. You and your family can experience the sensation of a Category 1 hurricane's winds, an earthquake, learn about prehistoric creatures and watch a live gator feeding all under one roof. While you're there, be sure to check out a film on the giant IMAX screen in the Dr. Phillips CineDome. The Orlando Science Center opens up to a large grassy quad, so your kids can enjoy more space to run around or picnic.
Taste and See: Visit the Winter Park Farmers Market
Every Saturday morning, the old train depot in Winter Park comes alive with an array of vendors for the city's Farmers' Market (200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park, FL). Whether you're there just to taste or to buy, your kids will experience a variety of sights and smells from booths ranging from plants and produce to fresh baked goods. The weekly Saturday event draws plenty of dog owners out to showcase their prized pups, so if your family's full of dog lovers, the farmers' market is a must.