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Things to Do in Orlando With Kids

Things to do in Orlando with kids, including outdoor activities, museums, educational activities, theme parks, and water parks.

Years ago, the city of Orlando wasn’t a vacation spot at all. However, with the development of Walt Disney World and later Universal Orlando, it’s become one of the most popular places to visit with kids. Most traveling families will find themselves in Orlando at some point, and there are enough things to do in Orlando Florida with kids to fill multiple vacations.

Whether you are looking for Orlando Florida attractions besides Disney, or want to complement your Walt Disney World vacation with other fun family activities, here are things to do in Orlando with kids.

Disclosure: I experienced some of these Orlando kids activities at no cost for review. This post contains affiliate links – a purchase/click through one of these links may result in a commission paid to us at no additional cost to you.  All opinions are our own.

Fun and Fabulous Things to Do in Orlando With Kids

Theme Parks in Orlando

Of course, Orlando is most known as the home of many theme parks. Orlando offers parks that are well beyond a traditional amusement park.

These parks aren’t necessarily right in the city of Orlando – but are in surrounding towns in Central Florida. If you are looking for guaranteed family fun, you’ll definitely want to include a theme park in your Orlando vacation plans. Although it’s not cheap, these theme parks will contribute to lots of great family memories.

the entrance to Walt Disney World
The entrance to Walt Disney World – the most popular thing to do in Orlando with kids

Walt Disney World

You could absolutely spend your entire Orlando family vacation at Walt Disney World. It’s one of the best things to do in Orlando. If you stay on property, you will have access to the complimentary Magical Express service that will take you from the Orlando International Airport to your hotel.

Then, you’ll be able to use the free transportation to the parks and other Disney attractions. Because of that, you won’t have to rent a car.

Walt Disney World offers four theme parks (Epcot, the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios), as well as two miniature golf courses, two water parks, and Disney Springs (with shops, restaurants, and other entertainment).

There are lots of benefits to staying on property, including complimentary MagicBands 2, earlier access to booking FastPass+ reservations, Early Magic Hours, and free transportation from the airport. You’ll want to spend some time preparing for your Disney vacation, however, because there are some things that you’ll want to book well in advance for the best availability.

The NBA Experience in Disney Springs, one of the many things to do in Orlando with kids

Disney Springs doesn’t charge an admission fee, although you will pay for the separate activities. One of the newest things to do is the NBA Experience in Disney Springs. You’ll pay a separate admission fee to enter, but once you are in there, you can enjoy 13 different activities.

You can see all of our Disney tips here and get discounted Walt Disney World tickets here.

Orlando Florida Attractions Besides Disney

While Orlando is most known as the home of Walt Disney World, there are plenty of things to do in Orlando Florida besides Disney.

Universal Studios Orlando

I remember when Universal Studios first opened, and since then, it’s grown to be a huge state of the art theme park. There, you’ll find Universal Studios Orlando, Universal’s Islands of Adventure, Volcano Bay, and CityWalk (which offers restaurants, shops, and entertainment (including Blue Man Group).

Universal also has several hotels on the property, including three Loews properties and the Hard Rock Hotel. In recent years, they’ve also added The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, which are must-dos to any Harry Potter fans in your family.

Older kids especially love visiting Universal, because it has thrill rides and lots of movie and tv-themed rides. It’s definitely a great vacation option for this age group.

Get discounted Universal Studios Orlando tickets here.

SeaWorld Orlando

SeaWorld Orlando

I remember visiting SeaWorld Orlando as a kid, and it’s improved so much over the years. Now, it’s home to many roller coasters and thrill rides, in addition to the animal exhibits and shows that it’s is known for.

If your family loves thrill rides, you’ll definitely want to check out Mako, Kraken Unleashed, and Manta. There’s also Journey to Atlantis, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, and Wild Arctic flight simulator.

You can definitely visit SeaWorld in a day, so it’s easy to combine with other things to do in Orlando.

Get discounted tickets to SeaWorld Orlando here.

Discovery Cove

If you are looking for a unique things to do in Orlando with kids, Discovery Cove is a fabulous option. This all-inclusive experience offers an exclusive opportunity to swim with dolphins, visit a coral reef, snorkel, and so much more. It’s owned by SeaWorld, and tickets to Discovery Cove come with a complimentary day at SeaWorld, Aquatica, or Busch Gardens Tampa.

In addition to park admission, your ticket also includes your food for the day, rental of the equipment you’ll need, and alcoholic beverages. There are a limited number of tickets sold per day, so it’s never too crowded.

That means, however, that you’ll want to book your reservation early. There are upgrades available to standard tickets, including private cabanas, private tours, and the Seaventure experience.

Get discounted Discovery Cove tickets here.

Busch Gardens Tampa

Busch Gardens is in nearby Tampa Bay, not Orlando. It’s worth including in these things to do in Orlando list because it’s easy to include a day at Busch Gardens Tampa.

Highlights at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay include thrill rides like Cobra’s Curse, Cheetah Hunt,  and Falcon’s Fury. There’s also a new roller coaster called Tigris that just opened. This coaster is the tallest launch coaster in Florida. My kids absolutely loved the rides at Busch Gardens – they couldn’t get enough of them!

You’ll also find over 12,000 animals at the park. Special animal encounters are available as special ticket add-ons including the Serengeti Safari where you can hand-feed the giraffes.

If you visit in the spring, your trip may coincide with the Busch Gardens Food and Wine Festival. Our recent spring break trip was during the festival, and we loved having lunch at the festival.

Get discounted tickets here.

LEGOLAND Florida Resort

LEGO brick lovers will definitely want to visit the LEGOLAND Florida Resort, located in Winter Haven, Florida. This park includes a theme park, water park, and the LEGOLAND Resort Hotel.

There are a variety of rides at the theme park, appropriate for young kids to teens. There’s also a 4D theater as well as a live water ski show. There’s also a botanical garden (a nod to Cypress Gardens, which used to reside on this property), a building zone, and much more.

While I haven’t visited the LEGOLAND Florida location, I have been to the San Diego location. My kids loved it, and I definitely think it’s best for younger kids and younger tweens.

Get discounted tickets here.

Water Parks in Orlando Florida

Volcano Bay

Volcano Bay, located at Universal Studios Orlando, is the newest water park in Orlando. It features multi-person rafting rides, body slides, Krakatau volcano with water slides, and much more.

When you arrive at Volcano Bay for the day, you’ll get a TapuTapu wrist band. This serves as a way to make cashless purchases (perfect for a water park where you don’t want to carry a wallet).

You can also use the TapuTapu to hold your place in the virtual lines at Volcano Bay. Just tap the band at the attraction, and then watch at the TapuTapu counts down your wait. You can do something else while waiting because the band will vibrate when it’s your time.

Aquatica

Aquatica is SeaWorld’s water park, with locations in San Antonio, San Diego, and Orlando. Rides include side by side wave pools, a dolphin plunge, Breakaway Cove, Rua Rapids, a lazy river, and a high-speed mat ride with eight slides. Younger kids will enjoy splashing at Kata’s Kookaburra Cove.

Get discount tickets to Aquatica here.

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon

Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are the two water parks located at Walt Disney World. Admission can be purchased separately or as part of your Walt Disney World ticket package.

Blizzard Beach is themed after a former ski resort that completely melted into a fun water park. Attractions include a one-acre wave pool, the Slush Gusher (a 90-foot high-speed water slide), the Downhill Double Dipper (side by side slides), Summit Plummet (an almost-vertical high-speed body slide), Toboggan Racers, and Snow Stormers (winding slides). Keeping with the ski resort theme, there’s even a chairlift that takes you to the top of Mount Gushmore.

The second water park at Walt Disney World is themed after a former tropical paradise that was impacted by a typhoon. Rides include Mayday Falls (the highest and longest water slide), the three-story Storm Slides, Miss Adventure Falls (a raft ride), Ketchakiddee Creek (for kids under 4 feet tall), Keelhaul Falls (inner tube ride), Gangplank Falls (raft ride), and Humunga Kowabunga (dark 5-story drop).

Typhoon Lagoon also is home to North America’s largest wave pool – the Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool. Surf lessons can be booked separately.

These water parks are open year-round, although in the winter, one of them is typically closed for refurbishment while the other is open. Check the website for specific details.

Get discount Blizzard Beach tickets here and Typhoon Lagoon tickets here.

Coco Key Water Park

Located in Orlando on International Drive, Coco Key water park offers a 54,000 sq. ft. canopy-covered/outdoor water park. It includes four pools and 14 water slides.

Coco Key includes a 391 room attached resort that offers shuttle transportation to Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando. Day passes are available for purchase if you just want to visit the water park without staying at the property. As a day guest, you’ll have access to changing facilities and locker rentals.

Get discount tickets here. Note that there are several options depending on the dates of your trip.

LEGOLAND Water Park

Young kids will especially love visiting the LEGOLAND Florida Water Park, which is located adjacent to the park. The water park can be added onto a one-day and two-day ticket to the theme park.

Rides at the water park include Creative Cove where you can build your own boat and race it, the Build-a-Raft lazy river, the Duplo Splash Safari (for toddlers), the Joker Soaker play area, the LEGO wave pool, and three water slides. You can also choose to rent a cabana to enhance your day at the water park.

Museums in Orlando

If you are looking to get inside, especially to avoid the sun or on rainy days, there are a number of museums in Orlando to visit. Here are some of the options to consider.

Madame Tussauds

Owned by Merlin Entertainment, Madame Tussauds in Orlando is located in the ICON Orlando Complex which is on International Drive. If you aren’t familiar with Madame Tussauds, it’s a wax museum featuring wax replicas of stars from sports, entertainment, and history. When purchasing tickets, you have the option of including a ticket to make your own wax hand (available for those aged 9 and up).

Get discount tickets here.

SEA LIFE Orlando

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is also located in the ICON Orlando Complex (formerly known as the I-Drive 360 Complex). Like the other SEA LIFE Aquariums, this location offers a number of exhibits including sharks, sea turtles, and jellyfish.

Combination tickets are available that include Madame Tussauds and/or ICON Orlando. SEA LIFE is a great option when the weather isn’t cooperating with a theme park visit, or if you are trying to avoid the summer for a little while.

Get discount tickets here.

Ripley’s Believe It Or Not

It’s a bit kitschy, but Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, can be lots of fun. Located on International Drive, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not features the most exhibits in town, including the world’s tallest man. Tickets can be purchased online, so you don’t have to purchase them when you arrive. We haven’t been to this location, but my kids enjoyed our visit to the San Antonio location. It’s best for teens and tweens who can appreciate the oddities.

Orlando Museum of Art

If you are looking for educational things to do in Orlando, you may consider the Orlando Museum of Art. This nonprofit museum offers permanent collections including African Art and Contemporary Art as well as traveling exhibitions.

While it may not seem kid-friendly, there are a number of family special events and programs that are offered throughout the year. It’s worthwhile to check the website to see if any events coincide with your visit to Orlando. There is also some drop off programs offered to kids aged 5-8. Check the website to see when these are being offered.

Orlando Science Center

Another indoor educational experience is offered at the Orlando Science Center. This four-story museum has something for kids from PreK to high school. In addition to interactive exhibits, there’s also a 3D/4K theater offering science movies as well as more current entertainment. It’s open daily except for Wednesdays (it is open the 1st Wednesday of the month). Tickets are available online or at the door.

Crayola Experience

Located in the Florida Mall, the Crayola Experience is billed as a 3-4 hour experience. It includes activities such as the activity studio (where you can make a craft), the adventure lab (complete puzzles), Bluetiful (the world’s largest Crayola crayon), and the Crayon Factory Show (where you can watch crayons being made).

Get discount tickets here.

Outdoor Attractions in Orlando

The Central Florida weather can be absolutely beautiful, and there are plenty of outdoor activities that you can do to take advantage of the sunshine and see some Florida wildlife. 

Pontoon Boats

Buena Vista Watersports offers pontoon boat rentals that can accommodate up to 12 people. First, you’ll get a lesson on how to drive the boat, and then you’ll be able to pilot it on a private lake. Drivers must be 18 or older.

Get discount tickets here.

Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park

Technically in Kissimmee Florida, the Orlando Tree Trek Adventure Park offers 4 obstacle courses with zip lines and ropes course, in addition to 2 kids’ courses. Reservations are recommended because only a limited number of participants are allowed in each day.

Get discount tickets here.

Boggy Creek Airboat Rides

Travel through the Everglades and see wildlife including turtles, birds, and even alligators. The Boggy Creek Airboat Ride is in Kissimmee, and the tour takes about 30 minutes.

Get tickets here.

Other Attractions in Orlando

ICON Orlando

ICON Orlando

One of the best things to do on International Drive is the ICON Orlando. Formerly known as the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, ICON Orlando is the tallest observation wheel on the East Coast of the US. It’s best to purchase tickets online, and combination passes with the other ICON Orlando Complex attractions are available.

Within the complex, you’ll also find the StarFlyer, a swing that goes up over 400 feet. I haven’t had the opportunity to ride it yet, but it looks like so much fun!

Get discounted tickets here.

Fun Spot Orlando

Fun Spot has two locations in central Florida – one in Kissimmee and one in Orlando. It features a number of midway style rides as well as go-karts and a sky coaster. Tickets can be purchased online or in person. The Orlando location also has a Gator Spot exhibit, which is a collaboration between Fun Spot and Gatorland.

Get tickets here.

Andretti Indoor Karting and Games

At Andretti Indoor Karting and Games, you’ll find race car simulators, bowling, virtual thrill rides, a ropes course, laser tag, and electric go-kart racing. There’s no general admission – you can just pay for each individual activity separately.

Get tickets here.

Outer Limitz Trampoline Arena & Family Entertainment Center

If you are looking to get some energy out, the Outer Limitz Trampoline Arena & Family Entertainment Center is located right in Orlando. This indoor trampoline park includes an arena-style trampoline, a ropes course, a foam pit jumper, an arcade, and much more. There are various packages available depending on which activities you’d like to do.

The Disney character warehouse

Disney Outlets

Do you love Disney Parks merchandise but want to save money? There are two Disney outlets, called the Disney Character Warehouse, within Orlando. One is at the Orlando International Premium Outlets, while the other is at the Orlando Vineland Premium Outlets.

The selection varies constantly, but expect to find things from Disney Parks and the Disney Cruise Line. I visited both locations during a trip to Orlando. While the Vineland location is larger, I found a better selection at the International location. Your experience, however, may vary.

Getting to Orlando Florida

Located in the center of Florida, Orlando is an easy city to access. There are several airports nearby, with the closest being Orlando International Airport and Orlando Sanford International Airport.

Hotels in Orlando

With so many fabulous things to do in Orlando with kids, there are many family-friendly hotels catering to them. You can see our favorite family-friendly hotels in Orlando here.

Pirate's Dinner Adventure
The Pirate’s Dinner Adventure building in Buena Park, CA

Pirate’s Adventure Dinner

I haven’t been to the Orlando location, but I did get a chance to attend the Pirate’s Adventure Dinner in Buena Park, CA. This fun dinner show includes a full three-course meal as well as a completely entertaining show. It features acrobatics, singing, dancing, and so much more. 

Getting Discounts on Orlando Attractions

If your vacation plans include several Orlando attractions, you’ll have several options for saving money. One is the Go Orlando Card. There are several options depending on the length of your vacation. You can see more information on their website.

There’s also a new Orlando CityPASS, which includes tickets to the theme parks. You can choose which option works best for you.

Things to do in Orlando with kids, including theme parks like the Magic Kingdom and Universal studios, as well as seeing Florida wildlife.
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