Laura

Jun 282016
 

City of Orlando FireworksThere’s no need to shell out a ton of cash to buy your own fireworks for Independence Day in Orlando. You can experience magnificent fireworks displays without spending a penny. Nothing compares to the amazing fireworks shows that will burst all around Central Florida for the 4th of July. Most Central Florida cities are hosting an afternoon of old fashion fun, games, food, and vendors with a fireworks finale. Bring along chairs, a blanket and picnic…and be prepared for the crowds. We’ve rounded up 10 free fireworks shows & 4th of July events near Orlando:

Fireworks at the Fountain
Lake Eola Park in downtown Orlando
Monday, July 4 live entertainment starts at 5 p.m. (fireworks at 9 p.m.)

Red Hot & Boom
Cranes Roost in Altamonte Springs
Sunday, July 3 from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. (fireworks at 9:30 p.m.)

Star Spangled Sanford
Fort Mellon Park on Sanford Riverwalk
Monday, July 4 from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Mount Dora Freedom on the Waterfront
Downtown Mount Dora, Elizabeth Evans Park
Sunday, July 3 at 4 p.m. (fireworks at dusk)

The City of Oviedo Independence Day Celebration
Oviedo Mall
Monday, July 4 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (fireworks at 9 p.m.)

Winter Garden Party in the Park
Newton Park
Monday, July 4 starting at 5:30 p.m. (fireworks at 9:15 p.m.)

Celebration All-American 4th of July
Celebration Town Center
Monday, July 4 starting at 4 p.m. (fireworks at 9:15 p.m.)

Kissimmee’s Monumental July 4th Celebration
Kissimmee Lakefront Park
Monday, July 4 from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. (fireworks at 9:30)

Baldwin Park Independence Day Bash
Village Center of Baldwin Park
Sunday, July 3 from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. (fireworks at 9:15 p.m.)

4th of July Celebration at Avalon Park
Downtown Avalon Park
Saturday, July 4th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. (fireworks at dusk)

Jun 222016
 

Orlando Summer free things to doSummer in Central Florida brings free or cheap kids’ movies, free days at museums and a chance for kids to bowl free. All of the summer things to do in Orlando we’ve listed below are free or inexpensive (less than $20 each). And if it’s in the budget, we’ve added in water parks that are offering special Florida Resident discounts. Whether you are looking to cool off at the Central Florida springs or chill out ice-skating at RDV Sportsplex, we have plenty of ideas for a fun and inexpensive summer in Orlando.

Here are 32 free or cheap things for kids to do in Orlando this summer:

MOVIES

  • Free outdoor movies. Round up the crew for a cozy evening of family-friendly flicks Enzian Popcorn Flicks in the Parkunder the stars. There are many free movie options in Orlando throughout the year. Movieola at Lake Eola offers a free family-friendly outdoor movie on the last Friday of the month through August.
  • Free and cheap summer movies at the theater. There’s nothing better than an air-conditioned theater with a family-friendly flick on the big screen, especially if it’s free or just a $1.
  • Cobb Theatres’ Summer Kids Shows: Free movies every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Orlando location: Plaza Cinema Café 12, 155 South Orange Avenue, 407-982-5444.
  • Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express: $1 movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. throughout the summer.
  • Picture Show at Altamonte: $1 movies every Tuesday and $1.75 movies every day.
  • Catch a family-friendly flick for the cost of milk money – just $2. Garden Theatre’s Milk Money Movies features kids’ favorites on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. in June and July. Admission includes a snack pack with a kids’ sized popcorn and juice.

BOWLING

Kids can sign up to bowl free this summer through these two programs:

  • Summer Games Program at participating AMF Lanes now through September 5 allows kids to bowl three free games per day (Monday – Friday before 8 p.m. and Saturday & Sunday before 4 p.m.) at participating AMF Bowling Centers with a Summer Games Pass registration.
  • Kids Bowl Free is offering two free bowling games for kids, every day, now through August 31, 2016. The participating Orlando location is Colonial Lanes, 400 N. Primrose Drive, 407-894-0361.

ATTRACTIONS

  • Gatorland provides affordable-priced family fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, an Gatorlandaviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs and more. Florida Residents can enjoy 50% off through June 30, 2016.
  • Central Florida Zoo is home to more than 500 animals and has a splash pad for your little ones to cool off. Tickets: $19.50 for adults, $13.75 for kids.
  • RDV Sportsplex Ice Den in Maitland is a family-friendly ice rink that is open for public skating seven days a week. Admission is $6.99 plus tax and $9.81 for Friday or Saturday night.
  • Indoor play areas.On rainy days, take your little kids to Gymboree in Orlando, Amaya Papaya in Casselberry or Lucky Monkey in Altamonte Springs.
  • Hawaiian Rumble Adventure Golf challenges golfers with a Hawaiian-themed course featuring a waterfall, volcano and musical fountain. The course costs $9.95 per person.
  • LEGO Imagination Center lets kids explore their creativity by building with colorful bricks. Plus, on select days throughout the month, the Lego Store offers free special events for the LEGO fanatic in your family.
  • Free Disney experiences. Disney Springs is fun-filled escape, brimming with unique boutiques, culinary surprises and lively entertainment. Parking is free, and it’s free to walk around and explore. Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile of shops offering free live entertainment in the evenings. Gather around Fort Wildernessas the sun goes down for old-fashioned fun at Disney Resorts. Roast marshmallows next to a crackling fire and then cozy up for an outdoor family-friendly movie. This experience is free to all Disney guests.
  • Old Town Car Cruises. Hot rods, street rods, antiques and muscle cars roll down the street at Old Town in Kissimmee a few nights every week.

ARTS & CULTURE

  • Ride the SunRail for a fun tour of Orlando and it’s surrounding cities. Kids under 6 ride for free with a paying adult.
  • Mennello Museum offers free admission to the galleries, craft stations and mini-tours every second Sunday of the month.
  • The Orange County Regional History Center offers a wide variety of creative exhibits and programs designed for children. Tickets are $6 for kids and $8 for adults.
  • Free entry to Orlando museums. Take the kids on a cultural journey for free withOrlando Science Center the Museums On Us program. Just show your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card the first weekend of every month and you’ll get free admission to the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of American Art and Orange County Regional History Center.
  • The Orange County Library System hosts fun events, interactive presentations and free story time for various age groups from babies to 5 years old.
  • Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Triathlon rewards kids (grades one through six) with a free book, after they’ve answered three questions in the Triathlon journal.

PARKS & NATURE

  • Central Florida Springs, Florida’s natural cooling system, is a fun place to visit year round. Wekiva Springs State ParkIn the summer, take a dip in the refreshing water. In the winter, go on a picnic or a canoe trip. Admission is around $6 per person or $2 per person, depending on the park.
  • Bok Tower Gardens, a picturesque park atop one of Florida’s tallest hills, is crowned with a Gothic bell tower that rings daily with carillon music. Guests can enjoy the tranquil and expansive gardens, museum and Pine Ridge Trail. Entry is $3 for kids and $12 for adults.
  • Big Tree Park in Sanford features 11 acres of natural vegetation, wetlands and is the home to a 2,000-year-old Bald Cypress Tree, “Lady Liberty.” Entry is free.
  • Leu Gardens offers free entry and a special story time event for little ones starting at 10 a.m. on the first Monday of the month (next one is August 1st). Stroll through the lush gardens or bring a blanket to relax in the shade while the kids play. Regular ticket price is $3 for kids and $10 for adults.
  • Lake Eola Park is a 43-acre recreational area in the heart of downtown Orlando. The kids will love the large playground with activities for every age. Picnic along the shore, feed the resident swans and take a stroll around the lake. Head down to the lake with this handy guide detailing the different types of swans and see if you can tell what kind of swan each is.
  • Bike and nature trails. It’s free to journey through the trails of Central Florida: Seminole Seminole County TrailsCounty trails, Orange County trails, Lake County trails and Volusia County trails.
  • The Beach. We are located in the middle of Florida, but the beach is just a 45-minute drive away. Pack the car with toys, an umbrella and a cooler of snacks for a day trip to Cocoa or New Smyrna Beach.
  • Central Florida is home to many beautiful parks and recreational facilities. One of the easiest ways to find parks closet to you is to log on to Yelp to explore your options and read reviews. You can also search on Seminole or Orange counties’ websites.
  • Splash pads and pools. Cool off at one of Central Florida’s free (or small-fee)splash pads. Or take a dip in one of the City of Orlando’s four year-round pools: College Park Pool, Dover Shores Pool, James R. Smith Pool or Wadeview Pool.
  • Black Hammock Adventures on Lake Jessup offers free live alligator and bird exhibits and free live music every weekend.

WATER PARK & THEME PARK DISCOUNTS

READ MORE:

Jun 102016
 

Thumbnail for 21230During the summer, parents are always looking for ways to keep the kids entertained on a budget. And, on a hot day, there’s nothing better than an air-conditioned theater with a family-friendly flick on the big screen, especially if it’s free or just $1. Enjoy these free & cheap summer movies for kids in Orlando:

  • Cobb Theatres’ Summer Kids Shows: Free movies every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Orlando location: Plaza Cinema Café 12, 155 South Orange Avenue, 407-982-5444.
  • Regal Cinemas’ Summer Movie Express: $1 movies every Tuesday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. throughout the summer.
  • Picture Show at Altamonte: $1 movies every Tuesday and $1.75 movies every day.
  • Catch a family-friendly flick for the cost of milk money – just $2. Garden Theatre’s Milk Money Movies features kids’ favorites on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. in June and July. Admission includes a snack pack with a kids’ sized popcorn and juice. Kid-friendly titles include Curious George, Home Alone, Minions and Happy Feet 2.

If you are looking for free outdoor family-friendly movie options, go to Lake Eola’s Movieola on the last Friday of the month through August. Or you can also check our list of outdoor movies in Orlando.

Jun 082016
 

Fort WildernessOrlando is well known for amazing theme parks, but there are also many free kids’ activities in Orlando. You don’t need a ton of money for a fun weekend with the family or a play date adventure. We’ve found plenty of free and cheap things to do with your kids in Orlando.

Free things to do with kids in Orlando:

Lake Eola
Lake Eola Park is a 43-acre recreational area in the heart of downtown Orlando. The kids will love the large playground with activities for every age. Picnic along the shore, feed the resident swans, catch a free concert at the amphitheater and take a stroll around the lake. Enjoy spectacular views of Orlando’s skyline and marvel at iconic fountain, which comes to life with dancing bright lights accompanied by jazz music every night at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

Bike and nature trails
Seminole County’s award-winning recreational trail system is a Central Florida best kept secret with more than 60 miles of paved and natural trails. Whatever adventure you choose, it’s free to journey through the trails of Central Florida. Explore Central Florida’s trails:

The Beach
We might be in the middle of Florida, but the beach is still only a 45-minute drive away. Pack the car with toys, an umbrella and a cooler of snacks for a day trip to Cocoa or New Smyrna Beach.

Parks
Central Florida is home to many beautiful parks and recreational facilities. One of the easiest ways to find parks closet to you is to log on to Yelp to explore your options and read reviews. You can also search on Seminole or Orange counties’ websites.

Splash Pads
Cool off when it’s hot outside at one of Central Florida’s free (or small-fee) splash pads.

Free outdoor movies
Round up the crew for a cozy evening of family-friendly flicks under the stars. There are many free movie options in Orlando throughout the year.

Mennello Museum
Every second Sunday of the month, Mennello Museum offers free admission to the galleries, craft stations and mini-tours for kids from noon to 2:30 p.m. And then it’s open house to all the galleries until 4 p.m.

Leu Gardens
On the first Monday of the month, Leu Gardens offers a free story time event indoors for little ones starting at 10 a.m. After story time, stroll through the lush gardens or bring a blanket to relax in the shade while the kids play. Entry to the gardens is free on the first Monday of the month (except in Spring, check website before going). Regular ticket price is $3 for kids and $10 for adults.

Free entry to Orlando museums
Take the kids on a cultural journey for free with the Museums On Us program. Just show your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card the first weekend of every month and you’ll get free admission to the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of American Art and Orange County Regional History Center. Check out this list of free museum days in Orlando and museums that are always free.

Library
The Orange County Library System hosts free story time for various age groups from babies to 5 years old. The library also schedules fun events and interactive presentations. Remind your kids why the library is cool (if “cool” is still a cool word). Get your card today. For a fun playdate, go to storytime at the downtown Orlando library and then head to Lake Eola to enjoy the playground and picnic on the shore of Lake Eola.

LEGO Imagination Center
Located in downtown Disney Marketplace, the LEGO Imagination Center lets kids explore their creativity by building with colorful bricks. Plus, on select days throughout the month, the Lego Store offers free special events for the LEGO fanatic in your family.

Central Florida Zoo
Take your young kids to the Central Florida Zoo to meet the animals they’ve learned about in books at a special free story time event. Storytime at the Zoo is held on Wednesday mornings a few months out of the year (usually in November & April). Visit the zoo afterward ($19.50 for adults and $13.75 for kids) to explore animal habitats and play in the Tropical Splash Ground.

Campfires & Movies Under the Stars at Walt Disney World Resort
Gather around as the sun goes down for old-fashioned fun at Disney Resorts. Roast marshmallows next to a crackling fire and then cozy up for an outdoor family-friendly movie. This experience is free to all Disney guests.

Disney’s BoardWalk
Experience the timeless charm of Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile of shops offering free live entertainment in the evenings.

Disney Springs
Disney Springs is fun-filled escape, brimming with unique boutiques, culinary surprises and lively entertainment. Parking is free, and it’s free to walk around and explore.

Old Town Car Cruises
Hot rods, street rods, antiques and muscle cars roll down the street at Old Town in Kissimmee a few nights every week.

Home Depot Kids’ Workshops
On the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to noon, Home Depot offers free Kids’ Workshops. Your kids will leave with their own craft, an orange kid’s workshop apron, a commemorative pin and a certificate of achievement.

Lowe’s Build & Grow
Lowe’s offers free Kids’ Clinics every month. You will need to RSVP to guarantee that your child will receive a kit. Participants get their craft, an apron, goggles and a patch.

Bass Pro Shops
Bass Pro Shops offers a mix of free crafts and workshops during select time throughout the year.

Michaels Crafts
Each month, Michaels offers a variety of free and cheap crafts for kids. The month’s crafts often share a theme, and you’ll find creations that are perfect for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day gifts, spring decorations and more. Some events are free, and others are free with purchase.

Lakeshore Learning Store
Lakeshore Learning offers free crafts for kids every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Most of the activities are very simple to complete, making them perfect for preschoolers.

Pottery Barn story time
Every Tuesday at 11 a.m., kids can enjoy a free story time at Pottery Barn Kids.

Read more:
10 things to do under $10

Jun 072016
 

Mennello MuseumEvery second Sunday of the month, Mennello Museum offers free admission to the galleries. From noon to 2 p.m., families can enjoy make-and-take craft stations and mini-tours of the museum. The galleries are open for you to explore until 4:30 p.m.

Tucked away on a picturesque shore of Lake Formosa in Loch Haven Park, just north of downtown Orlando, is the elegantly appointed Mennello Museum of American Art. The treasure of the Mennello Museum is the permanent collection of paintings by self-taught or “primitive” artist Earl Cunningham and a beautiful lakeside sculpture garden.

The Mennello Museum of American Art
900 East Princeton Street
Orlando, FL 32803
407.246.4278

Jun 022016
 

Magic Kingdom Although ticket prices keep increasing for Walt Disney World theme parks in Orlando, you can still find a reasonable deal if you are a Florida Resident. Florida Residents can save by purchasing a pass for multiple days with the Florida Resident Disney Select Ticket. A one-day ticket costs $97, but you can buy a 3-day ticket for $68 per day or a 4-day ticket for $56 per day.

The pass is good for 6 months or through December 17, 2017 (whichever comes first) and blockout dates apply. The Florida Resident deal gives you access to these Disney Theme Parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

 

May 272016
 

GatorlandGatorland is one of those must-see, unique Florida attractions. Chomp down on a limited time Florida Resident deal of 50% off admission. Now through June 30, 2016, admission is just $13.50 for Florida Residents ($9.50 for kids).

The 110-acre theme park and wildlife preserve, combines “Old Florida” charm with exciting new exhibits and entertainment.  The park opened as a roadside attraction in 1949.  Today, it provides affordable-priced family fun with thousands of alligators, crocodiles, an aviary, breeding marsh with observation tower, petting zoo, nature walk, educational wildlife programs and more.

14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail
Orlando, FL 32837
800-393-5297

May 272016
 

Daytona Beach BandshellThere isn’t a better place to spend your summer nights than on the beach with friends and family. Every Friday and Saturday evening this summer, the Daytona Beach Bandshell turns up the volume with a free concerts. The lineup includes original acts and tribute bands such as U2, Elton John, and Bon Jovi. Most of the performances start around 7 p.m. and most are free, but check the schedule before making your plans. Plus, every Saturday night, you can also enjoy fireworks over the Atlantic Ocean.

This scenic amphitheater is located in Oceanfront Park on the north end of the Boardwalk amusement area and overlooks the Atlantic Ocean. It hosts regular free concerts for the residents of Daytona Beach and its visitors. For more information, call the Daytona Beach Cultural Services Division at 386-671-8250.

May 262016
 

MovieolaOn the last Friday of the month through August, enjoy an evening of family-friendly entertainment and a free outdoor movie at Lake Eola’s Movieola. Bring the entire family to downtown Orlando for games like croquet and cornhole followed by an outdoor movie on the East Lawn between Washington St. and Central Blvd. right next to the playground. The fun begins at 6 p.m. with the movie starting at 8:15 p.m.

Movieola Schedule
Friday, May 27: Goosebumps
Friday, June 24: Cinderella
Friday, July 29: Jurassic World
Friday, August 26: Minions

May 252016
 

Blue Spring_Suzanne-Ridenour The Central Florida Springs, Florida’s natural cooling system, is one of those must-see destinations. With water temperatures in the low 70s, a dip in the Central Florida Springs is incredibly refreshing. A day at the springs is also cheap with entry starting at $2 for a Florida State Park. For an inexpensive fun day in the sun, check out one of these beautiful parks near Orlando.

Rainbow SpringsRainbow Springs
Archaeological evidence indicates that people have been using this spring for nearly 10,000 years…and it continues to be a popular spot for swimming, snorkeling, canoeing and kayaking. $2 per person at the headsprings entrance and $5 per vehicle, up to eight people, at the tube entrance. Children under six years old are free.

19158 S.W. 81st Place Road
Dunnellon, FL
(352) 465-8555

Blue Spring
Blue Spring State Park covers more than 2,600 acres, including the largest spring on the St. John’s River. Blue Spring is a designated Manatee Refuge and the winter home to a growing population of West Indian Manatees. $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

2100 W. French Avenue
Orange City, FL
(386) 775-3663

Wekiwa SpringsWekiva Springs State Park
Just one hour from most central Florida attractions, Wekiwa Springs offers visitors the opportunity to relax in a natural setting, enjoy a picnic, or take a swim in the cool spring. $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

1800 Wekiwa Circle
Apopka, FL
(407) 884-2008

De Leon Springs
Go in the morning to cook your own pancakes at the Sugar Mill Restaurant, and then stay for the day to take a dip in the swimming area or rent canoes. $6 per vehicle. Limit 2-8 people per vehicle.

601 Ponce de Leon Boulevard
De Leon Springs, FL
(386) 985-4212

Kelly Park/Rock Springs RunRock-Springs-Run
A favorite park for tubing, Kelly Park features a free-flowing natural spring and Rock Springs a clear, swift creek. $3 per vehicle. Use the honor box to pay fees. Correct change is required. Limit 8 people per vehicle.

30601 CR 433
Sorrento, FL
(407) 884-2008

Wekiva Island
Play volleyball, corn toss, enjoy live music and swim in the refreshing Wekiva River. This eco-recreation destination has an old Florida feel, a bar that serves beer and wine, riverside cabanas and a dog-friendly policy. The park usually fills to capacity around noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Entry is $1 per person.

1014 Miami Springs Road
Longwood, FL 32779
(407) 862-1500