While some people can only dream of vacationing in Orlando, others enjoy its plentiful attractions and abundant sunshine every day. Especially for families with children, living in the City Beautiful is a great opportunity to access not only the iconic theme parks but also other hidden local gems.
Most Popular Crowd-Pleasing Attractions for Children in Orlando
Even though Disney World is probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of this place, the city has a lot more to offer in terms of child-friendly parks and activities. In case you’re not quite sure what to choose from among Orlando’s multitude of options, we’ve put together a list of attractions – both famous and less-known – that will be enjoyable and educational and will create long-lasting memories for all your family. Additionally, we are offering some tips on local storage in case your children’s belongings need a temporary home away from your home.
1. Don’t Miss out on the Magic Kingdom
Every child’s dream comes true when they step into the magical world of Disney characters at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. The theme park spreads out over a 107-acre site and comprises six themed attractions, including Fantasyland, Adventureland, Liberty Square, Tomorrowland, Frontierland and Main Street. The Magic Kingdom Park is the perfect place for younger children, where both you and they will create new and unforgettable memories.
The most popular rides for toddlers are Dumbo the Flying Elephant, the Mad Tea Party and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh – complete with sing-along songs. Other suitable options for younger children include the Small World boat ride, Prince Charming Regal Carousel and Frozen Ever After. Let your little ones be charmed by Donald, Goofy, Mickey, Minnie and all their favorite princesses. Along with all the fun-packed rides and characters, the fireworks show is sure to make a lasting impression on everybody!
2. Inch Closer to Wildlife at Animal Kingdom
Another park in Disney’s resort, Animal Kingdom (part park and part zoo) brings out a strong wildlife theme and has rides inspired by that – Pandora and Avatar are some of the most famous ones. Young children who are fond of animals will be particularly enthralled by these rides, and they will be able to spot hippos and even flamingoes. You can even catch your favorite Disney characters wandering about – be sure to take some pictures if you can!
3. Get Your Disney Fill With Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort
If Orlando spells out Disney for your family, then you should also visit the Swan and Dolphin resort. Some of the activities featured include miniature golf, tennis and beach volleyball. Moreover, Camp Dolphin is where your kids can enjoy a fun evening of activities including arts, crafts, board games and movies with other children. Additionally, Epcot and Hollywood studios are a ten-minute walk from there.
4. Cool Off at Universal’s Bay Water Park
The warm and sunny Florida weather calls for a dip in the water. At Universal’s Volcano Bay you can enjoy a large variety of water-based experiences. You don’t want to miss the Karakatau Aqua Coaster – you board a four-person raft that turns, twists and winds in and out of tunnels through the park’s volcano. If instead you are craving some relaxing time in the water, you can lounge at Waturi Beach. This is a wave pool and there are several types of waves. Make sure to move to shallow water if you’re not a strong swimmer as large waves can literally sweep you off your feet.
5. Dive into Fun at SeaWorld Orlando
SeaWorld Orlando is home to various animal-themed attractions, but there is so much more to it! The park boasts a wide selection of thrilling rides including a roller coaster, a Manta ride – which imitates the motion of a manta ray – and a couple of other water-based attractions that will enchant the entire family! After the rides, you can see all sorts of aquatic creatures at SeaWorld’s famous shows. Dolphins, sea lions and orcas will show off all the tricks they can do! Don’t forget to take the kids to Sesame Street so that they can meet some of their favorite characters.
6. Take in the Marvels of Design at Legoland
Legoland is not only a park for kids, but also for grownups. The educational Lego games come to life at the 150-acre theme park bearing its name. You can’t help but marvel at the ingenious ways that Lego products are put to use, from design to actual delivery of buildings. As you go through the park, you will notice ample opportunities for children to be enchanted by the different shapes and sizes that rides and other attractions come in. Many of the rides are suitable for younger children and older ones alike, with a perfect blend of exploration, fun and education. You wouldn’t want to miss the waterpark with the same theme, but you must add this onto your Legoland Florida ticket in order to gain access there.
7. Have a Mighty Alligator Fun Time at Gatorland
Once you’ve been to most of the theme parks, you will want to take your children to Gatorland for an alligator-inspired experience. Home to wild animals such as alligators, wild cats, snakes, tortoises and many more, there is a lot to see if your children are wildlife enthusiasts. You will also want to see the Alligators: Legends of the Swamp show, Gator Jumparoo and the Up-Close Encounters show. As it is child-friendly, you can also take your little ones on the Screamin‘ Gator Zipline or you can ride the Gatorland Express Train. The Gator Gulley Splash Park is another spot your children will love for its water-based experiences. Last but not least, visit the White Gator Swamp to spot four of the world’s largest alligators – they measure up to twelve feet in length.
8. Take the Fun Indoors at the AirHeads Trampoline Arena
Adults and children alike can expend some energy at Airheads Trampoline Arena, which is one of the best indoor play areas in Orlando. With 107 available trampolines, you can play trampoline basketball and dodge ball or, for a break, enjoy the games in the adventure arcade. A particularly interesting attraction is the stacked Rubik’s cube tower that is sure to delight the children!
9. Foster Children’s Curiosity at the Orlando Science Center
Besides Disney parks, the Orlando Science Center is another favorite spot for children. They will be excited to discover giant screen movies, planetarium shows and impressive dinosaur skeletons, all spread out on four floors of science exhibits. Moreover, this is the perfect place for them to explore lights and lasers, magnetism or electricity, depending on the time you visit, by way of engagement exhibits. Children and adults alike will be fascinated by the gale force winds of a Category 1 hurricane or by the prehistoric sea monsters. Furthermore, make time to spend an evening at the Crosby Observatory. In order to take in everything that the Science Center is offering, prepare to spend a whole day there.
10. Feast Your Eyes and Taste Buds on the World’s Best-Loved Confection
Do you and your children have a sweet tooth? If that’s the case – and you’d certainly be a member of a large club – you and your children will love seeing the chocolate sculptures when you visit the World of Chocolate Museum. There are exhibits to feast your eyes on, a lot to learn about in the chocolate-making workshops, and free tastings of the various types of gourmet chocolate. Who can say no to a sweet treat, right?
Free and Almost Free Entertainment for Your Children
Besides all the well-known attractions, Orlando also offers budget-friendly ones. They might not all be free, but both you and your children will enjoy Orlando in a way you never have before. Take advantage of these bargains while you discover unique new entertainment venues.
11. Old Town Will Enchant Hot Rods Fans
Hot wheels are a favorite among children. Take them to Old Town, an amusement park that offers free car shows featuring muscle cars and hot rods. Make sure to visit the park on Friday and Saturday nights if you’d like to see car cruises.
12. Experience Some Disney Magic at Walt Disney World Monorail
If your children are still yearning for more of that Disney magic, be sure to visit the free Walt Disney World monorail. A ticket is not required in order to ride, and you will be able see sights such as Spaceship Earth. Take the kids’ Disney fun up a notch by watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks afterward – you can get great views simply by standing near the Ticket and Transportation center.
13. Take the Fun to Cocoa Beach
Why not take advantage of the ocean if you live in Orlando? The beach is only 45-minutes away. Children will love some fun in the sun and on the sandy beach. Besides, it is another free destination you can simply get to by driving.
14. Mermaids Come to Life at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park
Other things you can do in Orlando without breaking the bank include watching live mermaids perform underwater at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park for a small price. Your children will love the waterpark where they can play and swim. Boat rides are another fun option you can consider.
15. Enjoy a Quiet Day at Mennello Museum
Keep a close watch on your calendar as every second Sunday of the month the Mennello Museum offers free admission. The public can usually visit all galleries from 12PM-4PM, while galleries, craft stations and minitours for children are scheduled between 12PM-2:30PM. Admission is always free for children aged 6 and under.
Don’t Forget About Storing Your Children’s Belongings
Whether your children are tiny tots or tweens, you will notice their amount of personal belongings growing exponentially with age. With seasonal clothing, toys and even booster seats – if you have smaller children – you will have to find some temporary storage space, right? This holds true especially if your family is growing in number and your home can no longer neatly hold all the things they need. For your convenience, you could rent a self storage unit in Orlando to keep some of these possessions away from home.
Best Types of Storage Units for You
When considering a self storage unit, make sure to pick the right size for your children’s belongings. You may find that a 5×5 or a 5×10 storage unit will be sufficient to meet your temporary storage needs.
Best Facilities for Storage in Orlando
Make sure to pick a storage unit that is located close to your neighborhood in order to save driving time. For instance, If you live not far from the Orlando Science Center, you could look into renting a storage unit at Extra Space Storage at 1420 North Orange Blossom Trail, Orlando, FL, with prices starting at $41. Or, if you need climate control, rates for the same size of unit start at $80.
If you’re considering a storage facility closer to Universal’s Volcano Bay, then Public Storage located at 5900 Lakehurst Drive, Orlando, FL, might just be a good fit for you. At this facility, renting a 5×5 self storage unit starts at $44, while for a 5×10 unit you can find a rate starting at $113.
Did we help you plan your next family adventure in Orlando? Let us know in the comments section below if there’s anything else that you would like to know about Orlando’s family entertainment venues.