With cities and businesses starting to open back up and families eager to reunite with relatives, now is the perfect time to visit the amazing city of Orlando. Whether you visit Walt Disney World, the Orlando Science Center, SeaWorld Orlando, or any other fun things to do in the city, your summer vacation is bound to include outdoor fun in Orlando. So make up for all that time spent indoors over the last year and learn why now is the perfect time to discover all that Orlando has to offer. Whether you are a native Floridian, a family who is new to the area, or just vacationing in town for a weekend, the team here at Florida Citrus Sports has compiled a list highlighting some of the most popular attractions here in The City Beautiful.
Orlando Theme Parks
Universal Orlando Resort & Theme Park
Universal Studios Florida is every TV and movie-lover’s dream. The park brings your favorite TV shows and movies to life through rides, shows, restaurants, character encounters, and other entertainment. With restaurants offering everything from snacks to full-service dining, there’s something that everyone in the family will enjoy. After devouring a delicious meal or stopping for a mid-day snack, you can grab a seat and catch a show and escape the summer months’ heat while still having a blast. With stunt shows and dancing dinosaurs to keep you on the edge of your seat or getting to wave to your favorite characters on their parade, the fun is about to begin.
From Universal Studios, you can board the Hogwarts Express that will take you to Universal’s Islands of Adventure to explore the magical world of Harry Potter and Diagon Alley or the Jurassic Park River Adventure. If things get too hot, the park has numerous water rides to help cool you off.
If you need a break from the Universal parks themselves, Universal CityWalk is the best place for family entertainment and restaurants to join together. With incredible restaurants, shows, and shopping, CityWalk is a perfect break from the park itself while still allowing families to have fun with no cost for entry. Also, don’t forget to pick up some souvenirs to commemorate the family travel.
What better way to experience Orlando fun than Disney! The Walt Disney World Resort & Parks includes four different non-water parks for families to enjoy. Although all designed with families and kids in mind, some of these Orlando attractions are better suited for different age groups, so there are plenty of places and plenty of things to do for the whole family.
Magic Kingdom is the theme park best suited for younger children. This park includes fun activities, such as exciting theme rollercoasters that allow you to fly through the galaxy, trek through a ghostly mansion, and participate in a high-seas adventure. In addition, there are numerous restaurant experiences for the whole family to enjoy. You can even join your favorite characters on their parade through the park. Magic Kingdom is an excellent choice for families with kids of all ages.
Hollywood Studios is perfect for the movie-lovers. With different Star Wars experiences, Toy Story Land, and other immersive adventures, your family will never be bored in Hollywood Studios. With dining experiences meant to immerse you in the world of your favorite movie, attractions and rides taking you through your favorite worlds, and so much more to bring your favorite story to life, there is always something to do in Hollywood Studios.
Epcot is a great place to travel the galaxy without having to worry about transportation. A park better suited for older kids and adults, Epcot is a place meant for exploring and excitement. You can venture across the globe, dive into the deepest oceans, and soar through outer space all from the comfort of Orlando, Florida. You can even design your own virtual concept car and test it out on the test track over rough terrain and through obstacles. One of the best things about Epcot is that you enjoy all of the different flavors of the world as it is designed to replicate 11 countries and features cuisine from each.
Animal Kingdom is the best place for the entire family to experience nature at its finest. With its safari park atmosphere and rare close animal encounters, your family can experience the wild without the hassle. With guided safaris, nature trails, raft rides through the jungle, treks through the tropics, and rides through mountains on a runaway train, Animal Kingdom will show teach the entire family the unique things that nature has to offer. You can even travel back to prehistoric times to rescue dinosaurs or venture through and explore Pandora, the World of Avatar. Animal Kingdom is the perfect way to celebrate all living things and experience nature in a new and exciting way.
If you’re looking for something outside of the Disney parks themselves, particularly cheap things or even free things, look no further than Disney Springs. Here you can walk around a Disney-themed downtown area featuring all of the shopping, dining, live music, and entertainment that you could imagine. You can also find bowling, the world’s largest hand-painted helium balloon, and you can even take a tour of Lake Buena Vista in a vehicle that can drive on land and float on water. Disney Springs provides an escape from the parks while providing a Disney experience that is just as much fun.
Sea World is the ultimate animal-lover’s dream. There are rides, attractions, shows, presentations, fun events, and chances to get up close and personal with different animals. With plenty of things that your family will love at Sea World, you will leave with a vast knowledge of different animals and exciting memories that last a lifetime. The presentations and shows include orcas, sea lions, dolphins, animal care and rescue, and even fireworks on the weekend. The animal experiences give a behind-the-scenes look at how the animal trainers interact with and get close to many different types of animals, adding a touch of education to that Florida vacation.
Other Sea World attractions include dining with orcas, exploring Antarctica, and seeing five different species of penguins. Your family can also watch the dolphins above and below the surface at Dolphin Cove, experience a 360-degree Manta Aquarium, take a walk down one of the world’s largest underwater viewing tunnels. Once you’ve hung out with all the animals, you can hop on some rides and end the day with thrilling drops, flips, spins, and dips that are a guaranteed good time that the whole family will love.
Legoland is a theme park for thrill-seekers and even features a water park for a fun day filled with adrenaline as well as sliding and splashing. There are rides for the whole family at the water park, including rides for one person or two. So whether you’re looking to float through the lazy river, catch a wave in the wave pool, play in the interactive play area, splash around in the Splash Safari (perfect for toddlers), or take an adventure down one of the slides, there’s something for everyone.
The adventurous ones will love the adrenaline rush from roller coasters or getting hands-on with some interactive adventures at the theme park. You can lead your own LEGO boat through boating school, take a stroll through the Cypress Botanical Gardens, take the train through the countryside, take rides for the whole family to enjoy, or rebuild your own world at Planet Legoland. Find all of the best things for the entire family to enjoy at Legoland!
Orlando Water Parks
Orlando offers five different water parks for families to choose from, each of which has something different and exciting to offer families:
Universal’s Volcano Bay
At Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park, you will get the ultimate water park and theme park experience in one. With water slides that will make your stomach drop and a winding river to relax in afterward, Volcano Bay combines the best aspects of water and theme parks. Need a break? You can even relax on the shores of Waturi Beach or catch some waves in the surf overlooking the Wave Village. You can also squeeze the family on a six-person raft down the Maku slides through a volcanic gorge for a bit of family adventure!
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon
Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park allows families to experience the beach and water playgrounds all from one park. Start the day off at the water playground designed for the little ones in the family, with water cannons, kid-size slides, and other fun aspects. Next, make your way to the slides, plunge down with the family on the raft rides, or go solo through the enclosed body slide. Finally, finish off the adventure in North America’s largest wave pool and hang ten, letting your kids live out their lives as Florida kids to the fullest.
With so many beachy-themed dining experiences, families can enjoy various restaurants and experiences. These places include the Leaning Palms for healthy meals and delicious snacks, Let’s Go Slurpin’ for specialty drinks and other refreshments, and Happy Landings Ice Cream to cool off with ice cream treats after a day of fun. This lagoon is a must-visit for anyone who loves water sports on a family trip.
Disney’s Blizzard Beach
Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park gives families plenty of toboggans to race down, aquatic activities for the little ones, and slides to take a plunge. Once you’ve had your fair share of fun on the rides, you can take a break and lounge underneath one of the lodge umbrellas or try one of the many different dining experiences around the park. At Blizzard Beach, there is an attraction or ride for everyone, including chairlifts, small drops, thrill rides, and a lazy river to float through.
Aquatica offers fun for everyone, including slides and pools to get some energy out for the little one. There are also different places to relax and unwind after a day of excitement. The park offers many areas fit for the younger family members, including sandy beaches, play areas with water spouts and pools, and underwater views of dolphins – perfect for the hot summer months. Aquatica also includes slides for everyone, such as Riptide Race, in which they can race each other to the finish. At the end of an exciting day of racing down slides and running to different rides, you can take a load off and relax down the lazy river. Aquatica is a great water park for the family to spend the day racing down slides, floating down rivers, and catching up over a meal at the end of it.
Last but not least is Discovery Cove, which is not your typical water park. This park gives you a one-of-a-kind interactive experience, allowing you to swim with dolphins, snorkel with tropical fish, and hand-feed exotic birds. At the end of a day spent with sea life, you can float down the Wind-Away River or unwind on Serenity Bay. To encourage interaction with the sea life, Discovery Cove limits attendance to approximately 1,300 guests per day, so be sure to make your reservation far in advance to guarantee a spot on your vacation!
Rainy Day Activities in Orlando
Summer in Orlando is the rainy season, meaning that it typically rains at least a little bit every afternoon. Luckily, Orlando boasts a ton of indoor activities just as exciting as their outdoor activities and not too far from the theme parks. We’ve rounded up the best ways to enjoy your vacation, even during adverse weather conditions.
ICON Park is an entertainment complex on International Drive that is a great park to retreat to on a day with wet weather. With more than 40 incredible restaurants, exciting bars, boutiques and stores, and amusement park rides, ICON Park is fun for the whole family. The Wheel at ICON Park, a must-see for vacationers and locals alike, is a 400-foot-tall Observation wheel that gives you a view of Orlando that you can’t see anywhere else.
Start your vacation at The Wheel to pick out all of the places you want to visit or end your vacation there to reminisce on all of the fun you had. Once you’re done on The Wheel, take a stroll through the SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium or Madame Tussauds Orlando Wax Museum to bring yourself back down to Earth after soaring over the city. If it’s a family competition you’re looking for, stop by In The Game for the latest arcade games, such as a mirror maze, virtual reality experiences, and other great games and prizes. There are also plenty of restaurants, bars, and shops to entertain the whole family for a whole day.
If you’re looking for rare and unusual artifacts, shocking interactive experiences, and things that are just all-around weird, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is the place for you. When walking through the door, prepare to be amazed, confused, shocked, and maybe a little grossed out all at the same time. At the Odditorium, there are plenty of different exhibits to show how weird Florida can be. Ripley’s even lets you explore the Warehouse and surround yourself with artifacts, art, oddities, and other memorabilia. Ripley’s also includes a Dance Party with lifelike wax figures for the perfect picture, great memory, and hilarious joke.
The Escape Game
The Escape Game offers multiple different themed escape rooms for the explorer and problem-solver of the family. The Escape Game brings adventures and stories to life in an immersive world. With rooms based on Mars, the Gold Rush, a Playground, Prison Break, and more, there’s one perfect for the whole family to enter into the immersive world of the escape room and break their way out. Your mission in each of these scenarios is to escape from the room in under 60 minutes. This experience will be the perfect way for the family to team up and think on their feet. If you beat the clock, you’ll have a story to brag about to friends and family when it’s all over.
Chocolate Kingdom – Factory Adventure Tour is the perfect interactive experience to taste test chocolate while following along with its journey from being a cacao bean to becoming a delicious chocolate bar. Each tour includes a Personal Chocolate Tour Guide, joined by a Prince and his Dragon sidekick who lead guests through the Cacao Tree Greenhouse, a Chocolate Museum, a Chocolate River, and a Factory with old-world machinery to show guests the journey from bean to bar. Chocolate Kingdom is the perfect experience for those with a sweet tooth, especially if they create a customized chocolate bar at the end of the experience. Tours are approximately 45 minutes, giving your family time for an interactive chocolate experience or time to explore more that Orlando has to offer.
Topgolf in Orlando is a place that everyone is sure to love, not just the competitive or the athletic members of the family. Topgolf is the perfect spot for a vacation or any event, like birthdays, date nights, or a night out with friends. Not exactly putt-putt, but fun nonetheless, this experience is perfect for any level of golfer, novice, intermediate, or expert. The game’s goal is for everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves, not just to win.
Topgolf is perfect for rainy days or cooler ones with their climate-controlled hitting bays for every group. Even if the hitting bay is not for you, there’s a sports bar and restaurant indoors so you can relax and catch a game. There is a wide range of options when it comes to their menu, including fun twists on traditional favorites. So if you’re looking for a nice place to unwind, golf, and relax, Topgolf is the place for you.
WonderWorks Orlando is a 35,000 square foot amusement park designed with entertainment, education, and fun in mind. Upon entering, you are thrust into the upside-down building. You have the opportunity to experiment with over 100 hands-on exhibits that encourage you to think outside of the box and use your imagination to solve them.
The exhibit has a wacky origin story as the upside-down building was transported from the Bermuda Triangle after an experiment went off-track. They carried the building to Orlando, where it landed upside down, but kept all exhibits intact.
WonderWorks contains six wonder zones for family fun: the Extreme Weather Zone, the Physical Challenge Zone, the Space Discovery Zone, the Wonder Art Gallery, the Light & Sound Zone, and the Imagination Lab.
Once you’ve ventured through all of the exhibits, make your way to the basement for action-packed obstacles like the glow-in-the-dark Indoor Ropes Course, the black-light Laser Tag arena, and experience the 4D XD Motion Theater. WonderWorks offers the perfect indoor escape for any family to enjoy all day long with so much to do.
Dezerland Park is Florida’s largest indoor attraction. It provides enough indoor excitement and fun to last for the whole day with over 800,000 square feet of thrills, excitement, and fun. At Dezerland in Orlando, you can kart around the track at high speeds, bowl with the family, test your aim at axe-throwing, jump through the trampoline park, and play arcade games, bumper cars, or a round of mini-golf.
Dezerland Park also includes Orlando’s largest museum of any kind: The Auto Museum. With cars from all over the world, different movies, and different time periods, spend some time spotting everyone’s dream car amongst the crowd. Long after the rain has cleared up and your day is done, Dezerland Park will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.
Perfect for young children, the Crayola Experience has dozens of interactive and creative activities to create a full day of fun for the whole family. With a facility larger than a football field, the Crayola Experience has everything to keep the entire family entertained for hours on end, with something new around every corner. The Crayola Experience gives visitors a chance to experiment with art and technology to showcase their creativity in a unique way, even an opportunity to create your own Crayola crayon.
The Crayola Experience also includes activities such as the melt and mold station, drip art, a chance to see where Crayola’s products come from and test them out, the Trading Post with specialty crafts, the Café Stage with live shows to learn the science behind color, the Crayon Factory Show, and much more. Crayola Experience gives you a behind-the-scenes educational look at everything that goes into creating your color and a chance to be the scientist and creator behind so much more.
iFly Indoor Skydiving
iFly Indoor Skydiving in Orlando allows your family to experience the free-fall feeling you get from jumping out of a plane, all from the safety of being inside a building with their vertical wind tunnel. With instructors to guide you both in and out of the tunnel, you’ll feel confident enough to partake, maybe even doing some special flips!
With no experience necessary and no age maximum, everyone who wants to fly gently through the wind tunnel will have the opportunity to do so. iFly even has STEM experiences to teach the science-lovers of the family about how the wind tunnel and indoor skydiving works. For sixty seconds, you can soar, turn, fly, and float through the wind tunnel for the experience of a lifetime.
Other Orlando Area Attractions
If you find yourself bored in the Central Florida area, thinking that you’ve explored all the parks, shopping, or events Orlando has to offer, think again! There’s much more to Orlando than you might think, both near hotels and a short drive away.
At Gatorland, you can see alligators and crocodiles of all sizes. With babies, full-grown 14-foot ones, and rare white leucistic alligators, you’ll be amazed constantly. Not only can you explore the gator park, but you can also experience the free-flight aviary, animal shows, the Gator Off-Road Adventure, petting zoo, and the Gator Zip Line.
Gatorland also has a one-of-a-kind Jumparoo Show that teaches visitors about alligators, crocodiles, and their incredible talents and thrills everyone watching as the alligators jump at least four feet out of the water. Other shows include Legends of the Swamp, a chance to see the survival tactics of the alligators up against some brave daredevils. Gatorland offers a perfect opportunity to experience thrills and chills from the ground without getting on rides with steep drops and flips.
Kennedy Space Center
The Kennedy Space Center gives you the chance to explore everything from the beginning of space exploration to current missions in an up-close and hands-on experience that teaches you about space and the humans who have explored it. While still considered part of Central Florida, the Kennedy Space Center is technically east of Orlando along the coast, so it would require a vehicle or shuttle to take you to the Center and back to your home afterward.
One of the most exciting features at the Kennedy Space Center is the chance for a visitor to watch a rocket launch, meet the astronauts, and experience other unique events. Even if you’re unable to catch a rocket launch while you’re there, there is still plenty to do. The Kennedy Space Center offers Mission Zones with attractions and tours divided by chronological era. You can work your way from the pioneers of NASA’s space program, get behind the gates of the launch sites and other facilities, learn about the space race and Apollo era, see the space shuttle Atlantis in person, and learn about where NASA is planning on going next. At Kennedy Space Center, you get to combine fun and education to create a visit and experience that everyone will remember.
At Dinosaur World in Florida, you can roam among the life-sized dinosaurs in their natural habitat, play on the dinosaur-themed playgrounds, and participate in interactive exhibits designed to encourage imagination and creativity. Some of the activities offered include a fossil dig in a stocked pit area, a gem excavation for real minerals, arrowheads, gems, and a boneyard excavation.
Additionally, the interactive shows give you a chance to explore caves and test your dinosaur knowledge at the Triviasaurus Rex Game Show. Dinosaur World also has a Prehistoric Museum with motion-activated displays to bring your favorite dinosaurs to life and answer all of your dinosaur-related questions. Dinosaur World will give your family a perfect chance to experience the Prehistoric era and learn more about dinosaurs than one could have imagined.
Old Town – Kissimmee
Old Town in Kissimmee gives you a chance to take a step back in time and offers many attractions for an afternoon of fun for everyone. It is a recreation of a classic town with historical architecture and shops. Old Town is an 18-acre area with 70 unique stores, restaurants, bars, rides, and other attractions. More than just shopping, Old Town offers weekly events like car shows and cruises.
If you’re looking for hands-on experiences, you can mine for gold, play classic arcade games at the Amusement Center, and face your fears through the Mortem Manor Haunted Attraction. Old Town also has plenty of family-friendly rides for the thrill everyone loves. After all of the events, activities, and fun of the day, you can relax, unwind, and relive the day with the whole family at one of the many different restaurants throughout Old Town.
Orlando Sporting Events
- The Florida Cup is an international soccer tournament that takes place during the summer. Although it takes place every year, dates change slightly each year. The most up-to-date information can be found on the Florida Cup website. The Florida Cup is held at Camping World Stadium and has a fan fest and other events that go along with it. Since 2015, the Florida Cup has taken place in Orlando and has hosted soccer teams from around the world.
- Orlando City Soccer provides the perfect opportunity to catch a professional soccer game. They have been bringing excitement to the Orlando area since its formation in 2010. The Exploria Stadium, home of the Orlando City SC, opened in 2017 right near downtown Orlando and hosts more than 25,000 fans in the stadium. The soccer club provides the perfect opportunity for the family to enjoy the Florida weather and watch a professional soccer team play for a few hours.
- Orlando Magic Basketball gives you the chance to experience the magic of live NBA games, one you won’t want to miss! Not only do the Orlando Magic have action-packed games, but they also offer in-game features and experiences for the whole family to make memories that nobody will forget. So take the opportunity to watch your favorite NBA players, catch an exciting halftime show, and enjoy the different bars and restaurants around the arena.
- If you need a break from the Florida heat, you can swap sun and sand for ice and catch an Orlando Solar Bears Hockey game. If you’re looking for a fast-paced and high-action sport, hockey is the one for you. With spirited players and lots of energy from the fans, hockey will keep you on the edge of your seat for the entire game. The Solar Bears will keep your energy and excitement up for all three periods.
Relaxing Activities in Orlando
Orlando has multiple outdoor parks, museums, and a botanical garden to tour if you’re looking for a break from the hustle and bustle of things. A few popular options include:
- Bok Tower Gardens
- Harry P. Leu Gardens
- Lake Eola Park
- Central Florida Zoo
- Florida mall
- Morse Museum
- Altamonte Springs
- Winter Garden
- Winter Park
Events in the city also rotate constantly. You may be able to catch a cheap or free concert, magic shows, and more. Finally, if you’re craving a day of relaxation, don’t forget about beaches and lakes! A local favorite is nearby historical New Smyrna Beach. Though a varying short drive away, family members can choose to lay on the beach and relax, participate in water skiing, or even go fishing for the day. At the end of it all, choose to relish in medieval times with a dinner at the Medieval Times Dinner Theater where you can enjoy dinner while watching knights fight to become champions. The Orlando area has everything, so feel free to choose what feels best for you and your family!
With attractions, events, and activities that appeal to everyone in the family, Orlando is an exciting place for families coming in for vacation, those who just moved to town, or Floridian natives. With experiences opening back up and events, theme parks, water parks, and adventures becoming operational again, there is no better time to explore Orlando than now! All of these attractions are great for families and kids, whether new to town, coming for a vacation, or seasoned locals. And for anyone who is looking for things to do besides theme parks, we have a ton of ideas for you too!