Orlando 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 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 state, but 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.
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 this summer. Here’s our guide to free outdoor summer movies in Orlando.
Cobb Theatres’ Kids Summer Movie Escape
FREE movies every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 10 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. First come, first served. Orlando location: Plaza Cinema Café 12, 155 South Orange Avenue. There’s also a location in Daytona Beach.
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.
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 $5 for kids, $10 for adults and free for 3 and under.
The Orange County Regional History Center
On Mondays, June 3 – August 5, they offer free admission for up to four kids with one paid adult admission. On the third Thursday of every month, admission is free from 6pm – 9pm. Kids 4 and under are always free.
Ride the SunRail
Take the kids on a fun tour of Orlando and surrounding cities. Kids under 6 ride for free with a paying adult.
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.
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 Disney Springs, 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.
Experience the timeless charm of Disney’s BoardWalk, a quarter-mile of shops offering free live entertainment in the evenings.
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.
Located along the shore of spring-fed Wekiva River, this eco-friendly oasis has it all — from recreational activities to a bar that serves beer and wine. Spend the day lounging in adirondack chairs, playing volleyball, swimming in the cool waters and listening to live music. Admission is free during the week, and the charge is only a dollar or two on the weekends.
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
11-mile drive with a chance to view native animals in their natural habitat including 174 bird species. The drive is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Take a relaxing walk along Lake Monroe on the palm tree-lined sidewalk at the Sanford Riverwalk. There’s a fun playground and a splash pad ($2 per person; free on the first Friday of every month) at the Fort Mellon Park. Hop aboard the free trolley that offers multiple stops along the Riverwalk and historic Downtown Sanford.
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.
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.
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.