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Finding free things to do in Orlando with kids can be a challenge. It is well-known that Central Florida is the home to all things theme park but there are countless budget-friendly options in the Orlando area too.
If you’re visiting Disney on a budget, have run out of things to do in Orlando besides theme parks, or just need some to-dos that are cheap, here is a list of free, fun things to do in Orlando with kids.
Orlando Public Library
Orlando Public Library is one of the nicest libraries in the country. Not only is the Orlando Public Library completely free to visit, but it is jam-packed with wonderful activities for the kids.
You can explore the expansive kids’ area on the ground floor, visit the gift shop, shop the [wonderfully afordable] book store, or immerse yourselves in their Technology and Education Center.
For cheap fun in Orlando, Disney Springs is an entertainment complex with plenty of free and low-cost options.
Windowshop at over 100 different stores – both Disney and non-Disney – that the entire family will love. Be sure to stop by the Ghirardelli Soda Fountain and Chocolate Shop for a free candy sample and visit the LEGO Imagination Center to build a lego creation.
Or splash in the free splash pad near Goofy’s Candy Company.
Disney Springs also offers free rides on the Friendship Boats. They are technically complimentary water taxis between the resorts but they’re also a free, scenic ride. There are a few different routes with varying stops, so ride them all to pass the time!
Also, while eating is not free, many of the restaurants have free, live entertainment outside their buildings like music and even ladies walking on stilts!
Universal City Walk
Universal City Walk is another amusement park themed shopping center in Orlando. Aptly called the “epicenter of awesome,” there are plenty of free things to do in Orlando for kids there.
You’ll find loads of live entertainment such as stilt walkers, musicians, acrobats, magicians, and more! Be sure to visit after 6 PM to get free parking.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
If you’re looking for educational free things for kids in Orlando, The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a must-do. This 11-mile, self-guided drive will keep kids engaged from the moment you begin.
Lake Apopka is home to native birds, alligators, and other wildlife and is the perfect opportunity to see nature without having to navigate a trail on foot.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a great place to discover egret, osprey, and alligator. For the adventurous, there are spots where you can park and explore further on foot but the drive is primarily done from the comfort of your vehicle.
Follow along to the wildlife audio tour that is found on the Lake Apopka website as you drive to learn more about what you encounter on this adventure.
Centrally located downtown off of East Washington Street, Lake Eola Park sits on 23-acres and is a great choice for inexpensive attractions in Orlando FL.
Consider bringing a picnic lunch and enjoy watching ducks and turtles in the lake. Take a walk on the paved path around the perimeter of Lake Eola and take in the sights and sounds. The park is also home to the Walt Disney Amphitheater where free movie nights and seasonal shows take place.
While not free, you can rent a paddleboard for a small fee to get an up-close and personal look at lake wildlife. Throughout the week yoga, Tai Chi and Kung Fu classes are also held, for a small donation.
Visiting Lake Eola is a fantastic way to spend an afternoon with kids when visiting Central Florida.
The Largest McDonald’s Playplace [Epic McD]
Orlando is home to the largest McDonalds’ Playplace in the world. While a Big Mac may not be on the top of your list of things to do, this one is worth a visit. Of course, it is not free to eat here but the play area is free of charge.
Epic McD’s is a two-story restaurant, play area, and arcade encompassing over 18,000 square feet. Both you and your kids are sure to find something fun to do here.
If you do decide to dine here, you’re in luck! The specialty food menu features gourmet options. Take your pick from selections like chef-made pasta and brick oven pizza. You’ll also find customized omelets and pastries served alongside standard McDonald’s fare here.
Splash Pads in Orlando
There’s no mistaking that Orlando, Florida is hot the majority of the year. Finding a place to cool off under the sweltering sun is a top priority for families visiting Orlando with kids.
Thankfully, there is no shortage of splash pads and spray parks for parents looking for free things to do during warm months in Orlando.
Some of the Central Florida free splash pads include:
- Longwood Reiter Park
- Winter Garden Splash Pad
- Disney Springs [it is located near Goofy’s Candy Company]
- Center Lake Park in Oviedo
Free Movie Nights
After you’ve worn out the kids splashing in the sun, a free family movie night is a great budget-friendly ending to a day with kids in Orlando.
Winter Park Special Events and Altamonte Springs Cranes Roost Sunset Cinema show free movies every second Saturday of the month. Old Town in Kissimmee also offers Family Movie Night Sundays each week. These free things to do with kids will put a smile on their faces while keeping money in your pocket.
Winter Park, FL
Winter Park is located just minutes from downtown Orlando but it is in a league of its own. The city is a perfect blend of historic and modern with plenty of free things to do with kids.
You can window shop on Park Avenue, then stroll through the beautifully canopied Central Park.
If you’re seeking nature, visit the Kraft Azalea Garden which is a 5+ acre public garden in the middle of Winter Park. Winter Park also offers Mead Botanical Garden with a greenhouse, butterfly garden, a walking trail, and an extensive garden.
Winter Park, FL is also home to Hannibal Square Heritage Center – a free museum dedicated to the history of African-Americans that founded the area.
Also, if libraries are your thing [and I sure hope they are], Winter Park Public Library offers 3 floors of education, entertainment, and enlightenment. They also have free movie screenings, special events, and even free craft days for kids.
Free Museums in Orlando
There are several kid-friendly museums in Orlando that are always free. If you’re looking for Orlando cheap things to do, take your pick from any of these free museums:
- City Arts Factory
- Grand Bohemian Gallery
- Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida
- Museum of Seminole County History
- Winter Park Historical Museum
- Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
- Crealde School of Art Galleries
- Sanford Museum
- Winter Garden Heritage Museum
- Central Florida Railroad Museum
There are other museums in the city that are free on certain days and for certain events. If you can catch them during a free promotion, these museums are definitely worth the visit too:
- Orlando Museum of Art
- Mennello Museum of American Art
- Orange County Regional History Center
- Orlando Science Center
It’s not necessary to spend a ton of money to have a great time and Orlando is a testament to that. Families seeking a laid-back, relaxing vacation to reconnect can use this list of free things to do in Orlando with kids to do just that.
With countless things to do and see in the Orlando area, you’re bound to find something to appeal to every family member.