100 Ways to PLAY This Summer


Keep smiling all summer long with our list of 100 exciting things you can do with your kids around Orlando!

FAMILY TRADITIONS

Create a Family Tradition

  1. Make a wall chalkboard calendar that the kids can up-date with their favorite summer activities. PLAY tip: Visit tatertotsandjello.com for step-by-step directions on how to create this wall chalkboard calendar.
  2. Dive into the pool fully clothed — shoes and all — as soon as you get home from picking up the kids on their last day of school (you too, parents)!
  3. Make a summer blockbuster movie. Your child can be the star of his or her own short film. Instead of scrolling Instagram, use your cell phone for the forces of good! The kids will have a blast being creative with you.
SWEET SPOTS

Cool down at one of these hot spots for sugary treats! You’ll snag some major cool points with the kids.

  1. Even though Chocolate Kingdom is in the heart of the tourist trap on I-Drive, it’s absolutely fantastic! A guided tour teaches kids the history of chocolate and includes a tasting of the original chocolate drink, a marshmallow catapult, and a visit to the bean-to-bar chocolate factory. The tour ends with a make-your-own-chocolate-bar experience. Each person picks from a whole bunch of ingredients, then the finished bar comes out on a ceiling-high conveyor belt!
  2. Watch donuts being made through the viewing area at the Krispy Kreme store near Mall at Millenia.
  3. Make a trip to Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, everyone’s favorite neighborhood ice cream shop in Audubon Park.
  4. Try the chocolate hurricane at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville Restaurant located at Universal CityWalk.
  5. Toothsome Chocolate Emporium is a steam punk-style eatery that will blow your mind with over-the-top desserts.
  6. Visit Wondermade in downtown historic Sanford for hand-crafted marshmallows once selected for “Oprah’s Favorite Things.”
  7. Insomnia Cookies near UCF — these large, warm, fresh-baked cookies are to die for. They even deliver!
  8. The Sugar Factory boasts sweet treats for kids as well as super creative sweet drinks for parents.
FUN IN THE SUN

Beautiful Florida Beaches
The best five beaches for families:

  1. Canaveral National Seashore: The park’s 24 miles of undeveloped beach is the longest such stretch on the east coast of Florida.
  2. Jetty Park, Cape Canaveral: Parking, concessions, fishing pier, plus a safer beach with no driving on the beach allowed. Admission required.
  3. Sebastian Inlet: A favorite among surfers.15.Winterhaven Park,Ponce Inlet: Great family-friendly beach just north of New Smyrna.
  4. Winterhaven Park, Ponce Inlet: Great family-friendly beach just north of New Smyrna.
  5. New Smyrna Beach: Orlandoan’s go-to beach town with public parking, restrooms, showers and beach lifeguards on duty.

Natural Springs
Five natural swimming areas:

  1. Wekiwa Springs State Park, Apopka
  2. Rock Springs Run/Kelly Park, Apopka
  3. Blue Springs State Park, Orange City
  4. Wekiva Falls Resort, Sorrento
  5. De Leon Springs State Park, De Leon Springs

Best Splash Pads
Our top 10 splash pads:

  1. Dr. Phillips Community Park, Orlando
  2. Fort Mellon Park, Sanford
  3. Disney Springs, Lake Buena Vista
  4. Downtown Splash Pad and Pavilion, Winter Garden
  5. Shady Park, Winter Park
  6. Trailblazer Park, Lake Mary
  7. Center Lake Park, Oviedo
  8. Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground, Central Florida Zoo
  9. Lakefront Park, St. Cloud
  10. Downey Park Splash Pad, Orlando
THE GREAT OUTDOORS
  1. Geocaching at Florida State Parks
    Geocaching — it’s a treasure hunt without the pirates. Geocaching.com says, “Geocaching is a real-world, outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices. Participants navigate to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then attempt to find the hidden geocache (container).”
    1. Go to geocaching.com.
    2. Create an account.
    3. Download a GPS app.
    4. Start looking for treasure!
    It’s that easy. There are a few rules you should follow.

    • If you take something from the geocache, leave something of equal or greater value.
    • Leave a note in the geocache logbook.
    • Log your experience at geocaching.com.

     

  2. Junior Ranger Programs The National Park Service has a program for kids to reflect on and gain more knowledge from their time in nature. All kids who complete the Junior Ranger activities created for each specific park get a badge. They are fun to collect and make your experience memorable. Here are local parks that offer the Junior Ranger Program:
    • Wekiwa Springs State Park, Wekiva Springs
    • De Leon Springs State Park, DeLand
    • Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, St. Augustine
    • Canaveral National Seashore, Titusville
    • Kissimmee Prairie Preserve State Park, Kissimmee
    • Sebastian Inlet State Park, Melbourne Beach
  3. Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter
    Lukas Nursery has slowly and quietly been building to become quite a destination for visitors. This well-planned nursery offers an outdoor plant mecca for families to explore and learn. Experience the chance to feed butterflies from your fingertips at the Butterfly Encounter, one of the largest native butterflies conservatories in the state. The experience also includes an aviary with exotic finches. Because butterflies are “solar-powered” and need to attain a body temperature over 80 degrees before taking flight, their activity is highest during sunny, warm days. Peak season is April through September.

Farmers Markets
Bring the whole family (even your four-legged friends) and experience what makes community farmers markets so special.

  1. Sanford Farmers Market, every Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Magnolia Square in the heart of Downtown Historic Sanford.
  2. Winter Garden Farmers Market, every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., City Pavilion on Tremaine St. in downtown historic Winter Garden.
  3. Oviedo Farmers Market, first Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., Lawton House, 200 W. Broadway St., Oviedo.
  4. Audubon Park Community Market, every Monday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Stardust Video & Coffee parking lot, 1842 E. Winter Park Rd. Known by locals to be the most locally sourced farmers market in the greater Orlando area.
  5. Maitland’s Farmers Market & Bazaar, every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Lake Lily Park.
  6. Orlando Farmers Market, every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Lake Eola Park, Orlando.>
DAY OF PLAY

Spend the day at one of these destinations:

    1. On Tuesdays, try story time from 1-1:30 p.m. at IKEA Orlando, then kids can eat free in the restaurant afterwards. Combine that with free drop-off at Smaland, and you’ve got a fun (and cheap!) day out. Don’t forget your IKEA Family card.
    2. Climb 213 steps to the top of the tallest lighthouse in Florida at Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum. While you’re there, hit up the Marine Science Center right next door. You can even add in a trip to the beach depending on your energy level.
    3. Spend the day at WonderWorks, a super-fun interactive experience for families. Stay for the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show. The crowds don’t just watch the show, they become part of it. The dinner includes unlimited pizza, salad, beer, wine, soda and dessert.
    4. Enjoy an awesome day in downtown Orlando. Start at the huge public library, then take a rickshaw or Uber through downtown, experiencing these great spots: Orange County History Center, Chewy Boba and Hamburger Mary’s. Stay for the evening with a swan boat ride around the fountain during the Lake Eola fountain show. The fountain comes alive with a choreographed show set to music. The colors of the water and the musical themes change with the season. Shows run nightly at approximately 8 and 9:30 p.m., lasting about six minutes. (Wednesday-Saturday swan boat rides are open until 10 p.m.) Have dinner at Relax Grill to complete a great day.
    5. Start your day at De Leon Springs State Park at the Old Spanish Mill by making a pancake breakfast at your table, then hit the Fountain of Youth Eco/History Boat Tour. Afterwards, take a short paved hike, then cool off in the refreshing springs. Kids can try the Junior Ranger program.
    6. There are tons of things to do at the Central Florida Zoo. Start with the ZoomAir ropes course outside the entrance, then head inside for some lunch (for you and the animals). Bring swimsuits so you can cool off at the splash pad. Save some energy for the train ride before you head out.
    7. Get the best view in Central Florida at the top of Orlando’s newest icon, the Orlando Eye located at I-drive 360, a new entertainment complex that includes Skeletons: Animals Unveiled, SEA LIFE Orlando and Madame Tussauds wax museum. Also, check out the Sugar Factory for a treat.
    8. At Disney Springs, parents will enjoy amazing restaurants, great shopping and live street music. The littles will enjoy the mini train, LEGO builds and the splash pad. An afternoon at Splitsville Luxury Lanes is a fun way to pass the time. Enjoy dinner and a show at the dine-in movie theaters.>
    BEAT THE HEAT

    Hands-On Activities
    Take your kids to one of these free (or super cheap) hands-on classes:

    1. Home Depot: Register for the Kids Workshop the first Saturday of the month from 9 a.m. to Noon. All kids get to keep their project and receive a certificate of achievement, workshop apron and commemorative pin.
    2. Michaels: Hit the Kids Club every Saturday from 10 a.m. to Noon. for a $2 craft for ages 3 and up.
    3. Lakeshore Learning: Free crafts for kids every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages 3 and up.
    4. LEGO Store Mini Model Build: Sign up in advance and pick a time to hit the LEGO Store in Disney Springs on the first Tuesday or Wednesday of the month. Every month is a different build, and kids get to take their mini model home for FREE! Registration opens at 9 a.m. on the 15th of the month prior. Participants must be between ages 6-14. Visit shop.LEGO.com/Minibuild-Registration to register.
    5. Oviedo Mall Kids Crew: Free crafts for kids every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for ages 3 and up.

    Go Skating
    Blow the stink off ‘em at these skating venues:

    1. RDV Ice Den, Maitland
    2. Semoran Skateway, Casselberry
    3. Let’s Skate, Winter Garden
    4. Astro Skate Family Fun Center, Orlando
    5. Lake Mary Skate Park, Lake Mary
    6. Rippin’ Riverside Skate Park, Oviedo
    7. Metro Skateboard Academy, Orland
    8. Orlando Skate Park, Orlando

    Go Bowling
    Five bowling alleys you’ll love to visit:

    1. Splitzville, Disney Springs
    2. Kings Bowl, I-Drive
    3. Firkin & Kegler, Waterford
    4. Aloma Bowl, Winter Park
    5. Main Event Entertainment, I-Drive

    Top 5 places to catch a flick:

    1. Aloma Cinema Grill, Winter Park
    2. Enzian Theater, Maitland
    3. AMC Disney Springs Dine-In Theatre, Lake Buena Vista
    4. Cinemark Orlando and XD, Orlando
    5. Orlando Science Center IMAX Theater, Orlando

    Top 5 trampoline parks:

    1. Boing! Fun Center, Oviedo
    2. Rebounderz, Apopka
    3. AirHeads, SoDo
    4. Sky Zone Orlando, I-Drive
    5. Outer Limitz, Orlando

    Climb to new heights at these sky-high activities:

    1. WinterClub Indoor Ski & Snowboard, Winter Park
    2. iFly Orlando, I-Drive area
    3. ZoomAir at Central Florida Zoo, Sanford
    4. Coca Cola Orlando Eye, I-Drive
    5. Characters in Flight, Downtown Disney

    Pampering places for kids:

    1. Sparkled Pink, Avalon Park
    2. Spa Fly Mobile Spa
    3. Pigtails & Crewcuts, Windermere and Winter Springs
    4. Pio-Pio Kids Salon, Oviedo Mall
    ARTSY-FARTSY

    Take an art class at one of these kid-friendly, hands-on art centers:

    1. Casselberry Art House, Casselberry
    2. The Craft Shack, Longwood
    3. Artistic Hand Gallery & Studio, Oviedo
    4. City of Orlando Pottery Studio, Orlando
    5. Super Awesome Cool Pottery, SoDo
    6. Local Color Art Studio, College Park
    7. Art Studio of Lake Mary
    8. Riverhouse Pottery & Art Center, Sanford
    9. Crealdé, Winter Park and Windermere
    10. The Art Room, Windermere
    THRILL RIDES

    We asked our resident roller coaster professionals, Lawton and Lily, to list their top five favorite theme park roller coasters. Here they are:

    1. Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts at Universal Studios
    2. Journey to Atlantis at SeaWorld
    3. Woody Woodpecker’s Nuthouse Coaster at Universal Studios
    4. Dudley Do-Right’s Ripsaw Falls at Islands of Adventure
    5. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train at Magic Kingdom

    Note: Since Lawton is taller (and hits the recommended ride height), he thinks Revenge of the Mummy at Universal Studios is worth an honorable mention too!

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