Since my husband’s work and golf tournaments bring us to Orlando quite often, my kids have enjoyed the perk of being able to take advantage of the many kid-thrilling adventures in the area. They have their favorite spots that we visit each time, but I also like to switch things up and try new places. We always do Disney, but typically, that’s at the end of the trip after my husband’s obligations or work is finished so he can join us. Until then, it’s just me and the kids taking our own adventures. Below are some of our favorite things to do in Orlando besides Disney:
Gatorland. This is truly the “Alligator Capital of the World.” We finally visited Gatorland on our most recent trip and were blown away! They have over 2,000 alligators on their impressive 110-acre theme park and wildlife preservation, including a collection of extremely rare leucistic white and albino alligators. There’s plenty to do here including gator-feeding, the Screamin’ Gator Zip Line, entertaining animal shows, a petting zoo, the Stompin’ Gator Off Road Adventure, train ride around the park, Meet-A-Gator (where your kids can sit on one while their mouth is taped shut and the trainer on hand), and a water fun wet park. (Note: Be sure to bring a change of clothes for the wet park!) My kids absolutely LOVED it, as we will most definitely be back next time!
Disney Springs. We try to make at least one visit to Disney Springs each time we’re in Orlando. My kids have a blast in the Lego store, as they have impressive lego character displays, fun tables for the kids, and a build-your-own lego race car for car races. For my train-lover, we always visit the little train ride, which all the kids enjoy riding before checking out the nearby toy store. Even though the hot air balloon was down the day we visited, it looks mighty impressive. (It hovers 400-ft over Disney Springs.) They have an Erin McKenna Bakery which made my kids day considering my kids are gluten-free. (Erin McKenna is a DELICIOUS gluten-free, vegan bakery that the Ribeiro family all know and love.) They also have a luxury bowling alley, Cirque du Soleil shows, movie theater, popular restaurants, and plenty of souvenir shops. You can never be short of things to do at Disney Springs!
WonderWorks. This is a chain, as I know of a few others around the country, but if you have kids 5 and older, they will LOVE it! From a glow-in-the-dark ropes course, laser tag, the Wonderzones, a dinner magic show, and a 4D XD motion theater, this is an awesome place!
Monkey Joe’s. If you’re looking for 2-3 hours for kids to burn some energy, this is the place. It’s wall-to-wall fun…a great arcade, bouncy houses, inflatable slides, obstacle courses, and an impressive playground for ages 3-12. They also have their Mini Monkey Zone for toddlers under 3. (Note: Another great feature is the fact it’s located in the same shopping area as a Maggiano’s, where we always eat afterwards.)
Mini Golf. There are TONS of awesome places to take your kids to play mini golf in the Orlando area. Pirate’s Cove and Congo River Golf are our favorites. My oldest son is obsessed with mini golf so it’s no surprise that we play over ten rounds of mini golf per visit.:)
SeaWorld. Despite the kids-ride area being down, they are opening a new Sesame Street area in the Spring that will have daily parades, Abby Cadabby’s Garden where you can meet all of the characters, Sesame Street-themed rides, and wet and dry play areas. (We will be looking forward to this next time!) Our current favorite rides and experiences are: Turtle Trek, Manitee Rehabilitation area, Antarctica Empire of the Penguin ride and Penguin Habitat, Dolphin Cove, Shark Encounter, Dolphin Days Show, and the Sky Tower.
Other options that we have enjoyed in the past include:
- Renting a paddleboat at Lake Eola Park
- Day trip to Tampa to enjoy the beaches, aquarium or children’s museum
- Day trip to the Kennedy Space Center
- Old Town Orlando
- iFly Orlando Indoor Skydiving