While it is true that Disney World and Universal are what Orlando is most known for, there’s so much more that The City Beautiful has to offer! Over 60 million people visit central Florida not only for the world-famous theme parks, warm weather, golf courses, shopping spots, and incredible nightlife but also for the unique albeit lesser-known, family-friendly activities.
From hot springs and wildlife to water activities and animal attractions, Orlando has the most exciting attractions for adventure lovers and fans of themed entertainment and activities! Get up close and personal with sea creatures, watch gators in their natural habitats, and pet and feed some wild animals.
Whether you are traveling with toddlers, teenagers, or little kids, you’ll find something for everyone. Planning ahead is all it takes to take advantage of the city’s many attractions. Read on to come up with the perfect itinerary for your Orlando vacation including these unique things to do in Orlando with kids.
Orlando Tree Trek
Located close to the Disney World Resort in Kissimmee, Orlando Tree Trek is a perfect choice if you are up for a day of action-packed Tarzanesque moments. This adventure park has everything you need, from swings, nets, ropes, and trapeze to Tarzan swings in order to provide you with the ideal jungle adventure.
Climb 50-foot ladders, leap into hanging nets, swing on logs and Tarzan ropes, cross wobbly suspended bridges, balance on hanging skateboards, and soar through the pine trees on giant 425-foot zip lines. The park has 97 riveting aerial challenges in all!
While some might be a little too thrilling for your little ones, there are two separate courses featuring 21 challenges just for kids. Even 5-year-olds will be able to navigate the kiddie tracks on their own easily.
Claiming to be Orlando’s Most Thrilling Tree Top Obstacle Adventure, the elevated outdoor obstacle course is the perfect combination of exhilaration and adventure for your family. But don’t worry, climbing instructors demonstrate safety procedures before beginning the course, and climbers are securely clipped into a world-class safety cable all throughout, making it completely safe for kids and adults.
Rain or shine, Orlando Tree Trek is always open for climbing. It offers four courses for adults and three-courses for juniors based on skill level and elevation. The departures start as early as 8.30 in the morning, but since there is a limited number of climbers on each departure, make sure to pre-book and confirm your booking in advance.
Orlando Fire Museum
Formerly Fire Station 3, The Randall R. Tuten Orlando Fire Museum stands as a testimony to the city’s rich history surrounding Orlando’s fire department. The structure was originally built in 1926 but has since been renovated and restored to its current state, a two-story firehouse with a beautiful red brick exterior. Step right in to be transported to the past where you will see what firefighting was all about back in the day.
The Orlando Fire Museum is one of the most unique things to do in Orlando with kids, exhibiting a variety of antique equipment, such as a meticulously restored 1926 American LaFrance fire engine, a 1919 ladder truck, early 1900s LaFrance apparatus, an array of magnificent fire engines, and fire-fighting relics such as helmets and other tools.
The most alluring aspect of the museum is that the entire exhibit is staffed by ex-firefighter volunteers with plenty of personal insights. The result is an experience that is fun and educational in equal parts for both kids and adults.
The local fire department exhibit is only a two-minute walk from the Orlando Science Center and is adjacent to the Orlando Shakes Theater. However, it’s important to note that it is only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Be sure to plan your itinerary accordingly.
Unique Things To Do In Orlando With Kids: Screamin’ Gator Zipline at Gatorland
This is a must-see theme park wildlife preserve for anyone who loves animals and nature. The unique varieties of crocodiles, tropical birds, panthers, bobcats, gators, and other diverse animals paired with the park’s action-packed shows will provide you with the ultimate outdoor adventure that’s both educational and bucket-loads of fun!
The highlight of the theme park is its one-of-a-kind Screamin’ Gator Zipline Tour. Built right above the wildlife reserve to show you the thrill of wild Florida, the zipline takes you through the park’s main attractions like the Cuban and Nile Crocodiles, and the Alligator Breeding Marsh.
The Gator Zip Line Tour stretches over a whopping 2 hours and 1,200 feet of tree tops and wildlife. So if you have a 2-hour gap in your itinerary, you know what to do!
Make a day out of the adventures at the 110-acre Gatorland by watching the riveting exhibits, live reptilian shows, and visiting the optional petting zoo for the bravest! Watch them eat, sleep, and basically live their wild lives in their natural habitats. It’s definitely a fun thing to add to your Orlando tour!
Orlando Watersports Complex
If you are one of the people who think no adventure is complete without water activities, this is for you! One of the largest cable wakeboard parks in the US, Aktion Parks’ Orlando Watersports Complex, set up with two full-size cable systems, a two-tower system, and a boating lake, offers its customers a fun, safe, and environmentally sustainable family experience.
You can go wakeboarding, waterskiing, wakeskating, kneeboarding, tubing, or just relax in the 10,000- square-foot aqua park, with bouncy, floating inflatables that are sure to keep the kids entertained. You can’t go wrong with this one, with over 40 features and 3 skill levels, as well as amazing food, it’s the best way to indulge your thrill-seeking side without cutting your family trip short.
Wakeboarding is the most sought-after activity at the Orlando Watersports Complex as it offers all the thrills of surfing, water skiing, and snowboarding combined! It welcomes both beginners and advanced wake-boarders to glide along rails and fly through the air.
New riders can learn the fundamentals of the two-tower system while building a solid wakeboarding foundation with the beginner full-size cable. Advanced riders, on the other hand, can choose from various advanced features on the advanced cable.
Unique Things To Do In Orlando With Kids: Escape Effect (A Knight to Escape)
Escape Effect’s the place to be if solving puzzles and getting your heart racing sounds like the kind of fun you and your kids are into! It’s an experience that is guaranteed to have all of your brain cells working.
Located a couple of miles south of SeaWorld on International Drive, Escape Effect offers multiple adventures with its four customizable escape rooms. Its two-hour-long escape room, A Knight To Escape, is the longest escape room in all of America and one of the most popular too!
Perfect for fans of medieval times and jailbreak themes, it offers you the chance to experience the thrill of trying to break free from the narrow walls of Stonebury Castle. It’s eerie, it’s unsettling, and once you are in, you will be a prisoner in the depths of Stonebury Castle, running from dead end to dead end until you find your way out. If you choose to play as a knight, on the other hand, you’ll be tasked with trying to sneak your way in to help the prisoners get out!
If you have kids under 10, Escape Effect offers affordable plans too. So, let the games begin and embark on an adventure filled with fun and mystery!
When you visit Orlando, one stop you have to make is ICON Park, home to the world’s tallest Slingshot. Known for being one of the most thrilling rides there, the Slingshot is a two-tower attraction that stands 300 feet tall. It launches two riders 450 feet straight up into the sky from an “exploding volcano.” Soaring through the air at speeds of 100 mph, it gives riders the thrill of getting shot up as well as free falling back down all wrapped up in one ride.
While this may not be for the faint of heart, it is totally worth it for those who are down for an adrenaline rush that’s second to none! The best part is that this ride has no age restrictions or weight restrictions. Kids just need to be a minimum of 50 inches tall and fit the seat, and they’re good to go! But worry not; the ride comes equipped with a helmet, a neck brace, and a cape – superhero alert!
Drive Thru Safari Park
In the mood for a drive with the kids, but don’t want to hear “are we there yet?” at every turn? The Wild Florida Drive-Thru Safari is your answer! You’ll never know who you’ll meet on your 2-mile journey through Wild Florida’s Drive-Thru Safari Park.
Home to over 100 exotic animals and native Florida wildlife, including white-tailed deer, bison, cracker cows, zebras, giraffes, watusi, oryx, and others, it’s guaranteed to keep the whole family on their toes! The best part? The animals roam freely throughout the 85-acre park and you’re confined to your car, ensuring that everyone involved is safe and comfortable!
You can make this a fun activity, if it wasn’t already, by having your kids check off the animals you spot on the list you are given upon entering the park. Note that motorcycles and convertibles are not allowed. But if you don’t have a covered car, you can always rent one.
If you have some extra time on your hands, visit the onsite Gator Park to see some wild species of reptiles and gators after you’re done with the safari. You can also feed the giraffes and watch the animal presentations to get some learning in.
Unique Things To Do In Orlando With Kids: Airboat Tours
Need another break from all the theme parks? Take an airboat ride early in the morning for a unique and pleasant experience of Florida in its natural state. If you are lucky, you might spot some gators and exotic birds. A variety of companies offer airboat tours in Orlando, but Marsh Landing Adventures and Boggy Creek Airboat Adventures are the top picks.
The rides typically last between 30 and 90 minutes, so make sure you and the kids are dressed appropriately for the weather conditions. What’s better than a picturesque tour that is relaxing, exciting, and educational all at the same time? Not much, that’s what!
Located 15 minutes from the Orlando International Airport at the Florida Mall, the Crayola Experience is an indoor family attraction that is sure to get you and your little ones’ creativity flowing. Get ready for 70,000 square feet of hands-on, colorful fun!
It promises to be a “Blue-tiful” experience with more than 25 hands-on, creative, and interactive activities themed around Crayola crayons, like “Wrap it Up,” “Drip Art,” “Melt & Mold”, and “Be a Star. And don’t miss out on the chance for your kids to name and wrap their own crayons with the help of Scarlet and Turk, the animated crayon friends, and the resident Crayonologist!
The store has the world’s largest selection of Crayola products, so stop by for a souvenir. Or customize your own crayon and marker collection by choosing from almost 100 crayons and markers on the “Pick Your Pack” wall.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
Get transported back to that fateful night in April 1912, and be a passenger on the world’s most famous ocean liner. With over 300 relics, costumed actors, and full-scale room recreations, this exhibit gives you the unprecedented opportunity to experience the wonder and tragedy of the Titanic. The attraction is interactive, engaging, and incredibly educational and will be a delight for little kids, teens, and you!
The 2-hour exhibit is set to a somber tone, as one might expect. However, the experience is still totally worth it for the passenger stories scattered throughout the exhibit which make you feel more connected. If you go on one of the guided tours, you will be given cards with the names of actual passengers. At the end of the tour, you get to see if you (they) survived!
Unique Things To Do In Orlando With Kids: Pirates Dinner Adventure
Visit one of the world’s most interactive dinner shows for an experience packed with adventure, action, and romance. It features swordfights, songs, sea monsters, and a delectable captain’s feast under the skylight. This is one of the most exciting unique things to do in Orlando with kids!
The show features cutthroats charting a course through danger and romance on a 46-foot long and 18-foot wide galleon with 40-foot masts. Watch ferocious pirates compete on the 18th-century galleon pirate ship surrounded by a 300,000-gallon lagoon and be mesmerized by the production’s cast of acrobats and entertainers.
Lads, lassies, and scallywags of every age are welcome to experience this unique Pirate Dinner Adventure that will give you a taste of pirate life as we see it on the big screen. If you’re lucky, you might even be invited to get up on stage and partake in some of the action yourself!
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
Located in ICON Park, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium is home to the only 360-degree ocean tunnel in Florida and features a tidal wave of underwater adventures with sea creatures from all over the world.
Here, you’ll get the chance to get up close and personal with marine animals, including everything from sharks, vibrant clownfish, giant octopuses, seahorses, and sea turtles to stingrays. See these rare, endangered, and rescued sea creatures being fed and participating in dive shows.
Toddler Time on Tuesdays, Storytime, and Sing-A-Long are some activities geared towards kids that your little ones will not want to miss. You can visit the aquarium for an hour or two in between other activities and cover everything, or spend some more time watching the magnificent sea creatures and make a fun, mellow day out of it.
Swim at Kelly Park
The most affordable thing to do on your Orlando trip is to go for a swim surrounded by lush green trees in Kelly Park. It is also one of the most underrated unique things to do in Orlando with kids. If you are in a more adventurous mood, you can even go for a hike or camp in the park. Not up for all that action? Rent a tube and float around in the crystal blue water instead.
The park trail leads to the ever-popular Rock Springs Run, a resident natural spring. The spring water emerges from a cave into a small pool, then flows through a rocky ravine to a larger pool. While the cave is sealed off with a grate, the pools and ravines are open for swimming.
During your swim, the current may carry you through a rocky, narrow, and shallow channel that is sometimes only wide enough for one swimmer. The pools, however, make excellent snorkeling spots.
Disney Springs & Universal’s City Walk
Disney Springs and Universal’s City Walk offer the perfect way to experience Disney and Universal Resorts without breaking the bank. These entertainment spots are filled with eclectic dining options, shopping spots, movie theaters, and free outdoor entertainment.
If you have an extra day in your itinerary but do not wish to spend it at the theme parks, these two places will pave the way for a perfect end to your perfect trip. Also, don’t forget to collect some souvenirs and gifts from the many novelty shops you will find!
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