Orlando has some of the most amazing theme parks in the world, but you don’t have to buy theme park tickets for your entire stay. There are plenty of inexpensive and free things to do in Orlando with kids – here’s our pick of 10 of the best:
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A trip to Orlando is an expensive vacation, so having some back up plans that don’t cost the earth is a parent’s dream! Free things to do in Orlando aren’t as hard to find as you might think:
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Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids
#1. Story Time at Leu Gardens
At 10am on the first Monday of the month, Leu Gardens offers free entry and a special story-time and song event for little ones. After story time, you can stroll along the paved walkways and explore the gardens, or relax in the shade and let the kids play.
On other days, ticket prices are just $2 for kids and $7 for adults. Other attractions here include a butterfly garden; a tropical stream garden; bamboo and palm gardens; and historic Leu House dating from the 1880s.
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#2. LEGO Imagination Center
Free things to do in Orlando don’t come any cooler than this! Situated in Disney Springs, the LEGO Imagination Center lets kids explore their creativity. On the first Tuesday of each month, kids can learn how to build a cool mini model, and best of all, take it home – for free! This event is open to children aged 6 to 14 years, but register online and get there early!
#3. Lake Lily Park
Lake Lily Park is beautifully kept and has a very nice playground with benches. There’s plenty of shade beneath the trees and lots of green space to play on. It has a great walkway around the small lily pad-filled lake and you can feed the ducks, geese and ibis.
The park regularly hosts free events and art festivals and there’s a gorgeous Farmers’ Market every Saturday.
#4. Bike and Nature Trails
There are plenty of fantastic bike and nature trails to enjoy with the kids anytime for free. The scenic Sanford Riverwalk Trail follows the shoreline of Lake Monroe and is a short one-mile track. Alternatively, the more adventurous could select a segment of The Spring to Spring Trail which connects a number of small, friendly towns between Orlando and Daytona Beach, as well as many of the area’s natural parks, marshes and treasures.
#5. The Beach
Orlando might be situated in central Florida, but you can still get to the beach in just 45 minutes by car. Pack up some beach toys, a big umbrella for shade, and a cool picnic so you can enjoy a day trip to Cocoa or New Smyrna Beach.
Build sandcastles, fly a kite or just play some ball and jump the waves! Both beaches are close to shops, restaurants and sports and activity centres if you want to do some more exploring.
#6. Free Outdoor Movies
A great excuse to cosy up under the stars on a beautiful night, Outdoor Movies are very popular in Orlando. There are usually plenty of family-friendly choices and many of them are free. Bring your own snacks and blankets for a night-time feast and enjoy a fun night in front of the giant movie screen!
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#7. Splash Pads
Florida can get very hot in the summer so a great place to cool off is at one of Central Florida’s free (or small-fee) splash pads. The kids get to let off steam and have some fun, while parents can relax and take a breather. Opening hours and fees can vary so it’s a good idea to check online before turning up.
#8. Lake Eola
Providing a quiet oasis in the centre of downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is the perfect place for a picnic, to feed the swans or to take a walk. Your kids will love the great playground and you might even catch a free concert in the amphitheatre.
The stunning fountain is the official symbol of Orlando and it comes alive each night to music and changing lights in a 6-minute show at 8pm and 9.30pm. Beautiful swan-shaped paddle boats are available to rent during the day. Visit on a Sunday and enjoy Lake Eola Farmers’ Market!
#9. Blue Spring State Park
There’s nothing better than taking a dip in a Florida Spring such as the one in Blue Spring State Park. The lake is fed from a natural spring, so the water is clear and blue and when it’s cool, manatees make their way into the view. The park isn’t free but it’s just $6 for a carload of up to 8 people.
Other activities include:
- A shaded boardwalk & picnic areas
- Boat & canoe hire
- Guided boat trips to view all the natural wildlife
- A historical house & cafés
#10. Audubon Center for Birds of Prey
The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey takes in injured birds that cannot be returned to the wild. Hawks, owls, osprey and eagles all feature and it’s a great place to see and learn about these spectacular birds.
The staff are very knowledgeable and are happy to answer all your questions. The centre does charges a small entrance fee which goes towards caring for the birds, and children under 3 are free.
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Can you make our list of inexpensive and free things to do in Orlando with kids even better? Leave a comment below and let us know – we’d love to hear from you!