Summer in Orlando brings many free things to do with kids like outdoor movies and free days at museums. We’ve rounded up a ton of ideas for families in Orlando. Consider this your summer bucket list for Central Florida! All of the summer activities in Orlando we’ve listed below are free or inexpensive (less than $20 each). And if happens to be in the budget, we’ve added in water parks and theme parks that are offering special Florida Resident discounts. Whether you are looking to cool off at the natural springs or chill out ice-skating at the RDV Sportsplex, we have plenty of ideas for a fun and inexpensive summer in Orlando.Here are 40+ free or cheap things for kids to do in Orlando this summer:
- Free outdoor movies. Round up the crew for a cozy evening of family-friendly flicks under the stars. There are many free summer outdoor movies throughout the year.
- Free and cheap 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 few dollars.
- Cobb Theatres’ Kids Summer Movie Escape: FREE movies every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Orlando location: Plaza Cinema Café 12, 155 South Orange Avenue, 407-982-5444.
- Summer Movie Express with Regal Entertainment Group offers G- or PG-rated movies at 10 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday morning for just $1.
- Garden Theatre’s Milk Money Movies features kids’ favorites for $3 on Tuesdays at 10 a.m., June 12 – July 31, at the theatre in Winter Garden. Admission includes kids’ sized popcorn and juice combo.
- AmStar Cinemas in Lake Mary is showing Summer Kids’ Flicks every Tuesday & Wednesday at 10 a.m. $4 includes entry, popcorn and drink.
- Picture Show at Altamonte offers movies for $1 every Tuesday and $1.75 every day.
- Enzian Theater screens family-friendly films during its Peanut Butter Matinee on the fourth Sunday of the month. FREE for kids 12 and under. $8 for everyone else.
- Gatorland 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.
- Central Florida Zoo is home to more than 500 animals and has a splash pad for your little ones to cool off after a day of animal adventures.
- Crayola Experience Orlando has more than 70,000 square feet of colorful hands-on activities for your kids to explore. You can save a few dollars on admission if you purchase your tickets in advance online.
- Indoor play areas. On rainy days, check out Gymboree in Orlando, Amaya Papaya in Casselberry, Lucky Monkey in Altamonte Springs or RebounderZ, an indoor trampoline center in Apopka.
- Planet Obstacle Lake Mary is an indoor park with a Ninja Warrior Course, zip line, rock climbing, trampolines and more.
- Open gym. Many local gymnastics venues offer Open Gym days. Call one of your local gyms for more information or check out Orlando Metro in Baldwin Park or Gymnastics USA.
- RDV Sportsplex Ice Den in Maitland is a family-friendly ice rink that is open for public skating seven days a week.
- Aloma Bowling offers two free games per day.
- Miniature golf. Hawaiian Rumble Adventure Golf challenges golfers with a Hawaiian-themed course featuring a waterfall, volcano and musical fountain. Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf has two swash-buckling 18-hole miniature golf courses with price varying by location.
- 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.
- SeaLife Aquarium Orlando features a 360-degree ocean tunnel, more than 5,000 creatures, a hands-on touch pool experience and more. Check out Toddler Tuesdays if you have a little one.
- The Orlando Eye towers above the entire I-Drive 360 complex for amazing views.
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando Odditorium invites visitors to explore the weirder side of things, from art to interactive exhibits in 16 galleries of the odd and unusual from around the world.
- WonderWorks is a fun amusement park for the mind featuring more than 100 interactive exhibits for all ages.
- 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 is a quarter-mile of shops offering free live entertainment in the evenings. As the sun goes down, gather around 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. They also have free outdoor movies for families on Sunday evenings.
ARTS & CULTURE
- Orlando Science Center features dynamic zones with hands-on exhibits that present little learners with iconic experiences, exciting discoveries and opportunities for creativity, collaboration and problem solving. Your kids will spend hours exploring the brand new KidsTown.
- 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. On Mondays, up four kids can get in free with one paid adult admission (June 4 – August 6).
- Art & History Museums of Maitland is hosting Family Summer Saturdays in June and July. $10 admission in advance.
- Orlando Repertory Theater presents performances based on classical and contemporary children’s literature.
- Free entry to Orlando museums. Take the kids on a cultural journey for free with the Museums On Us program at Orlando Science Center, Orlando Museum of Art, Mennello Museum of American Art and Orange County Regional History Center. Show your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card the first weekend of every month for free entry.
- The Orange County Library System hosts fun events, interactive presentations and free story time for various age groups.
- Music with Mar visits a few locations throughout Central Florida to introduce music and movement to little ones.
- Barnes & Noble’s summer reading program rewards kids (grades one through six) with a free book after they’ve completed a few tasks.
- Stop by your local farmers’ market and pick out fresh veggies with your kids. Two of our favorite markets are Winter Park on Saturday mornings and downtown Orlando on Sundays.
PARKS & NATURE
- Central Florida Springs, Florida’s natural cooling system, is always refreshing, especially during the summer. Admission is around $6 per person or $2 per person, depending on the park. At De Leon Springs, you can 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.
- Wekiva Island offers free admission during the week. Wekiva Falls is is giving free admission to kids Monday – Thursday this summer.
- 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. Enjoy the tranquil and expansive gardens, museum and Pine Ridge Trail.
- 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.”
- 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 through the summer (July 2, August 6, September 3).
- 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: Orange County trails, Seminole County trails, Lake County trails and Volusia County trails.
- The beach. Some of the best beaches in Florida are just a day trip away. Pack the car with toys, an umbrella and a cooler of snacks for a day trip to Cocoa or New Smyrna Beach.
- Find a park near you. 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 has free live gator and bird exhibits, free live music every weekend and one of the best locations for the sunset in Central Florida. You can also sign up for an airboat tour of Lake Jessup, which boasts the densest population of alligators in the state of Florida.
- Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter is home to one of the largest native butterfly conservatories in the state of Florida. Peak season for an up-close experience is April – Sept.
- Winter Park Boat Tour takes you on a tour through the beautiful canals and lush landscape of Winter Park’s waterways on a tranquil Scenic Boat Tour.
FLORIDA RESIDENT THEME PARK DISCOUNTS
- Walt Disney World is $45 per day for Florida Residents with a 4-day pass
- Disney Water Park After 2 p.m. Annual Pass for $79 plus tax, Florida Residents can enjoy admission after 2 p.m. (during normal operating hours) for an entire year at Disney Water Parks
- Universal Orlando is offering Florida Residents a BOGO deal
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