Orlando is well known for amazing theme parks, but there are also many inexpensive ways to entertain your kids in Central Florida. 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 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
On the first Monday of the month, Leu Gardens offers free entry and a special story time event 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. Regular ticket price is $2 for kids and $7 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.
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.
LEGO Imagination Center
Located in downtown Disney Marketplace, the LEGO Imagination Center lets kids explore their creativity by building with colorful bricks — and it’s free. Plus, on the first Tuesday of the month, the Lego Store offers a free Mini-Model Build. There’s a limit of one free mini-model set per child while supplies last, and the event is open to children ages 6-14.
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 October, November, April & May).
Sing-a-long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness
Roast marshmallows in front of the campfire, meet Chip n’ Dale and cozy up for an outdoor movie at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. This experience is free to all Disney guests.
Experience the timeless charm of Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile of shops offering free live entertainment in the evenings.
Old Town Car Cruises
Hot rods, street rods, antiques and muscle cars roll down the street at Old Town in Kissimmee every Friday night starting at 4 p.m.
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 Kids’ Clinics
Twice a month, Lowe’s offers free Kids’ Clinics. You will need to RSVP to guarantee that your child will receive a kit, but walk-ups are allowed if extras are available. The Kids Clinics start at 10 a.m. 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.
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.
10 things to do under $10