FOMO: 100 Ways to PLAY in Orlando

Don’t miss out this summer — use this epic list of places to play in Orlando and beyond. These summer boredom busters will help you make the best memories with your kids.

Words by Anna Karasik

Meet Your Nature-Neighbors

Central Florida Zoo’s Children’s Garden

1. Hit up the splash pad and play in the Children’s Garden at the Central Florida Zoo.

2. Take a free, guided Family Fun Hike at Wekiwa Springs State Park on the first Sunday of the month at 10 a.m. or experience Discovery Hour in the Park every Sunday at 2 p.m. to learn about all types of animals, skills and plants.

3. Animal lovers can swim with all manner of sea creatures at Discovery Cove and then dry off among their feathered friends at the aviary.

4. The Exotic Animal Experience is bar-none the most up-close and personal experience you might ever have with creatures like sloths, zebras and kangaroos. Get a chance to pet, feed and learn about animals you might otherwise only see in cages at the zoo!

5. Let your kids channel their inner Steve Irwin at Gatorland with the Rookie Wrestler alligator experience. There are more toothy grins to be had; Gatorland is also home to other reptiles, exotic birds and wild cats.

6. Lukas Nursery’s Butterfly Encounter will make you feel like you’ve entered a real-life fairytale. Kids will be amazed as exotic butterflies land on their fingertips for a snack.

7. Escape the heat at SEA LIFE Orlando, an indoor aquarium that features a water tunnel where fish, rays and sharks from around the world will glide overhead and alongside you. Grab the kids scavenger hunt map to help guide your way. It’s a great take-home gift for the kids!

8. Have a full day of 100% pure Florida fun at The Showcase of Citrus. Pick some Florida oranges, cool down with a yummy creamsicle (orange slush and vanilla ice cream swirl), feed and visit farm animals, find a gem mine treasure and go on an unforgettable Eco Monster Truck tour. Oh, there’s also a playground, and you can try some gator meat here too.

9. Take a surprisingly relaxing airboat ride and enjoy the wildlife park at Wild Florida. Stay to experience the gator park.

Soak Up the Sun

Jetty Park Beach, Port Canaveral

10. Take a trip to our favorite family beach: Jetty Park Beach & Pier. Watch cruise ships and submarines come in and out of the port, enjoy the playground and fish off the pier along the jetty – all while enjoying one of the East Coast’s most beautiful beaches. Jetty Park also has concessions and restrooms (major bonus for families).

11. Families L-O-V-E the Winter Park Community Playground, known as “Castle Park.” Not only does it have an incredible wooden playset, but it also offers plenty of shade for weary parents.

12. Fort Christmas is a unique park that transports you back in time to when pioneers settled Florida. Walk through the fort itself, or get your PLAY on at the “fort” playground.

13. Trek through Disney’s Fort Wilderness. From camping to canoeing, this is a safe place to enjoy Mother Nature.

14. Ride the swan boats around Lake Eola, or take a relaxing stroll around the waterside. Stop by any Sunday for the Orlando Farmers Market!

15. Book a family surf lesson (or two) with Molly Miller’s Surf School.

16. Explore the 5-acre gardens to find the Enchanted Fairy Doors at Leu Gardens. This whimsical exhibit will feature 15 one-of-a-kind fairy doors that will spark your child’s imagination.

17. Marvel at the butterfly gardens, and take a guided enchanted forest hike at Mead Botanical Gardens.

18. Climb Florida’s tallest lighthouse at Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse & Museum to get a stunning view of the Atlantic.

19. Check Disney’s website for “Incredible Summer at Walt Disney World Resort” activities and special events like the H2O Glow Nights at Typhoon Lagoon.

Enjoy the Show

Dr. Phillips Center

20. Appreciate the wonders of the stage at the Dr. Phillips Center, where shows like PAW Patrol Live! will wow your kids.

21. Catch a Sunday matinee at Orange County Regional History Center’s Sun Screens Movie Series.

22. Get up and groove to the beat with local children’s musician Mr. Richard. Visit for his circuit schedule.

23. Take a trip under the sea with The Little Mermaid — you need go no farther than Orlando Shakes!

24. Be entranced by the Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland ballet on the big screen at Enzian Theater.

25. Check out MicheLee Puppets’ back-to-school events in Maitland, including the Back-to-School Bash on Jul. 29 and Bully Prevention Day on Aug. 25.

26. Hit Winter Park Village to grab some lunch, play an outdoor game of giant chess and catch $1 movies all summer long during Regal Cinemas Summer Movie Express on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 10 a.m.

27. Laugh out loud and be WOWED at WonderWorks’ Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, where the audience is a vital part of the act.

28. Reserve your tickets now to check out the live performance of Big Fish at the Orlando Repertory Theatre July 13-29.

Learn Together

Fountain of Youth Eco History Tour

29. Train lovers will go nuts at the Central Florida Rail Museum in Winter Garden, where a volunteer will walk you through our rich railroad history.

30. The Orange County Library Systems’ Libraries Rock Summer Reading Program bumps up the fun with a series of free, hands-on events for the kiddos.

31. Make the most of what the Orlando Museum of Art has to offer throughout the summer. Children ages 2-6 can bring their grown-up to enjoy story time followed by an activity for the Book and a Look program on select Wednesdays.

32. Immerse yourself in the world of super heroes, crime fighters, gadgets and spies at the Hall of Heroes exhibit at the Orlando Science Center through September. You can also explore other family favorites such as KidsTown, CineDome and NatureWorks!

33. Kids with a passion for airplanes will go nuts at the Kissimmee Air Museum, where over 20 aircrafts are on display.

34. Take a ride on the Fountain of Youth Eco History Tour at De Leon Springs State Park. Cool off in the springs afterward, or make your own pancakes on the table at the Old Spanish Sugarmill.

35. Check out Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral, a captivating architectural landmark that provides visitors with seven floors of exhibits and interactive activities.

36. Let the kiddos amaze themselves by learning to sew or craft at a class with Joann Fabrics. Knit a beanbag, crochet some finger puppets, sew a pillowcase or create woodland creature cupcakes!

Work Up a Sweat

Planet Obstacle

37. Climb to new heights at Aiguille Rock Climbing Center in Longwood. Beginners and pros alike will feel right at home here.

38. AirHeads Adventure Arena is an indoor trampoline park where everyone can have a bouncy great time.

39. Take Fido for a run at the super awesome Paw Park in Sanford. Treat your furry child to a DIY bath at the adorable self-service dog wash stations right next door at Paw Park Palace.

40. Jump into action at Outer Limitz Orlando, featuring a trampoline park, foam pit, ropes course and more. When the kids are winded, they can cool off at the arcade and café.

41. At Planet Obstacle in Lake Mary, kids will go nuts flipping on trampolines, zooming down zip lines and taking on a ninja course. Meanwhile, parents can take a load off at the Sky Café.

42. Take a family biking trip down the beautiful West Orange Trail that goes through the center of Historic Downtown Winter Garden.

43. The ZoomAIR ropes course in front of the Central Florida Zoo offers a high-flying adventure with two different skill levels. Young zoomers can be comfortable while big-time climbers can challenge themselves.

44. Let them bounce off the walls at Boing! Fun Center. Hit up Toddler Time on Wednesday at 10 a.m. to ensure the littles don’t get trampled, have an evening of glow-in-the-dark fun during the Illuminights events.

Cool Off

Orlando Cat Café

45. Spy some manatees, and take a swim at Blue Spring State Park.

46. Play with the kitties at Orlando Cat Café while you enjoy a drink and a pastry. They are all available for adoption, so you might leave with a coffee and a cat!

47. Take a visit to The Florida Mall to check out the newest trend in high-tech indoor playgrounds at the Play Park. This smart playground will keep your kids’ bodies and minds exercised with a digital pond, interactive tunnel and giant talking flowers. Make it a full day with a visit to the Crayola Experience, American Girl or M&M’s World.

48. Kick back at the Jewish Community Center’s lovely pool — and don’t forget to stop by for the Summer Sundays Pool Party on July 8 and August 5. It’s only $5 for this super fun soirée!

49. Chill out with a cone at Kelly’s Homemade Ice Cream, then explore the hip Audubon District afterward. Don’t forget the sprinkles!

50. The Pop Parlour offers insanely delicious, dairy-free pops with unique flavors like Arnold Palmer and Cantaloupe Mint.

51. Spend an afternoon at the way-too-cool Oviedo Splash Zone, complete with several slides, a zero-entry pool, aquatic playset and more. There’s even a concession stand!

52. Escape the heat at the RDV Sportsplex Ice Den, a fun and friendly place to learn how to ice skate!

53. The AquaPark is a new inflatable obstacle course at Orlando Watersports Complex. It’s unlike any other water experience in Orlando, and that’s saying something!

54. Ride the new family ride, Ray Rush, at Aquatica!

Get Competitive

Splitsville at Disney Springs

55. Book an evening at Sleuth’s Mystery Dinner Show, where you become the detective and solve the crime! This hilarious comedy mystery is an interactive 2.5-hour experience.

56. Gator Golf Adventure Park is a unique mini-golf experience that surrounds you with reptiles of all kinds!

57. Work together to rack up a bunch of tickets for some old school fun at Happy Days Arcade in Old Town.

58. Take on the realistic laser tag challenges at Hard Knocks, which offers an arsenal of realistic weapons.

59. Kids ages 10 and up can gear up and go nuts at Orlando Paintball.

60. Roll a strike at Disney Springs’ awesome bowling alley, Splitsville.

61. Bring your kids to an unexpected outing at Drive Shack Orlando in Lake Nona. It’s the newest golf-entertainment option teeing up a free game lounge, golf simulators, food and more.

62. Andretti Indoor Karting & Games lets families unleash their wild side with all kinds of thrilling activities: go-karting, laser tag, bowling — plus, food and drinks to help you recharge.

Play Under the Stars

OSC Observatory

63. Scope out the planets and stars from Orlando Science Center’s Crosby Observatory. This vantage point also offers a stunning view of the Orlando city skyline!

64. Take a nighttime bioluminescent kayak tour of the Mosquito Lagoon. It’s like a fairytale come true.

65. You haven’t seen the Disney fireworks until you’ve seen them from the Pirates & Pals Fireworks Dessert Voyage. It’s a super fun pirate-theme dinner boat ride.

66. Enzian Theater’s Popcorn Flicks in the Park is a free monthly movie night at Central Park. See Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on June 12 or Finding Nemo on August 9.

67. Have a true Orlandoan experience and catch the nightly Lake Eola fountain light show.

68. The view from the top of the Coca-Cola Orlando Eye is stunning after dark, when the lights of Orlando and the attractions become a sea of stars.

69. Navigate the night sky at one of Seminole State College’s Planetarium family-friendly shows.

Have an Indoor Adventure

iFly Orlando

70. Get your wiggles out at Millie Moo’s, Central Florida’s newest indoor playground for kids and parents.

71. Get creative at Crayola Experience where your kids bring their art to life with an integration of technology and art.

72. Get your game on (bowling, billiards, laser tag and more) at Main Event Entertainment on I-Drive, where you can get a summer fun pass to play all day for $18.95/person.

73. You can pay to play at the O2B Kids Supercenters in Oviedo and Altamonte Springs any time they’re open! The high-flying indoor playground will keep the kiddos busy for hours.

74. Climb, jump and slide your way into a fun day at Hukoo’s Family Fun, which includes rock climbing, bumper cars, laser tag and more.

75. Experience the thrill of skydiving without the risk at iFly indoor skydiving.

76. Get weirded out (in the best possible way) at Ripley’s Believe It or Not on I-Drive.

77. Need a break? Drop the kids at Mad Science Lab in the Oviedo Mall for the weekly Kid’s Night Out program.

78. Beginning this summer, Madame Tussauds has added your favorite DC Superheroes to their collection.

79. Let your imagination run wild at WonderWorks, a funhouse full of hands-on wonder that will keep your kids playing for hours.

Taste the Finer Things

80. Have you tried a Thai ice cream roll yet? This edible art will be your new favorite treat. Check out Halo Zero in Oviedo.

81. Do a family u-pick or just grab some frozen fruit to go at Bekemeyer Family Farm.

82. Take a tour at the Chocolate Museum and Café on I-Drive, where chocolate literally becomes art.

83. Grab fresh food to cook for the week while enjoying live tunes and a free splash pad at the ever-popular Winter Garden Farmers Market on Saturdays.

84. Science meets ice cream at Frozen Nitrogen Ice Cream. This lab-like experience mixes ice cream, froyo or coconut milk with your fave flavor and flash freezes it with liquid nitrogen to create the creamiest, most delicious ice cream — right in front of your eyes!

85. Every Tuesday at Orlando’s Milk District, it’s the food truck Tasty Takeover! Mix-and-match your meal, and grab something sweet from a dessert truck.

86. Learn how to decorate cute confections at Sugar Divas Cakery classes.

87. Attend Wondermade’s Family Workshop in Sanford. See how marshmallows are made, hear the story of Wondermade, get a tour of the kitchen and become an official marshmallow agent. This kid-friendly workshop lasts an hour and includes a slab of marshmallows.

88. Sign up for the Chef Night cooking workshop at the Edible Education Experience. In addition to preparing a meal, families will also forage in the garden for fresh produce to include in the night’s menu for a true seed-to-table experience.

89. IKEA trips are always a romp — especially on Tuesday afternoons when kids are treated to a free meal and story time!

90. Satisfy your sweet tooth at The Glass Knife, Winter Park’s new sophisticated bakery and dining experience. The food is artistic, and dogs are welcome.

91. Sweeten up your day with a whimsical bubble tea and waffle pops at Boba Babes in historic downtown Sanford.

Free Summer Fun

Apple Camp at The Florida Mall

92. The Mennello Museum’s Free Family Fundays are a can’t-miss event for little artists. Work on a craft that’s themed around the latest exhibit. Then, enjoy a free tour
of the museum.

93. Do free crafts with the Michaels Kids Club every single Saturday morning.

94. Take the kiddos to Lakeshore Learning in Fern Park on Saturday afternoons to make free take-home crafts.

95. Hit up a free kids workshop at Home Depot on Saturday mornings at select locations. Kids (ages 5-12) get to build and keep their project and receive a certificate of achievement, workshop apron and pin.

96. The Aloma Bowling Centers at Airport Lanes in Sanford, Aloma Bowl in Winter Park and Boardwalk Bowl in Orlando are offering free bowling for kids all summer. Kids receive two free games per day during the week (Monday-–Friday). Adults: $3 per game.

97. The Morse Museum in Winter Park is offering two free family programs for kindergarten through 5th graders and their guardians. The Tuesday Family Tours include a take-home activity, and the Friday Family Film Program offers a film screening, tour and an art activity.

98. Kids ages 8-12 can expand their digital creativity through hands-on projects with experts at Apple Camp — and it’s free! Campers choose one of three tracks and spend 90 minutes a day for three days at a local Apple store immersed in the subject of their choice. Register to reserve a spot at

99. Earn a free book through Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading Program for kids in grades 1-6. Visit their website for details and to download the journal.

100. Grab a PB&J, and hit the Peanut Butter Matinee Family Film Series at Enzian Theater on
the fourth Sunday of every month. The film is always family-friendly and free for kids ages 12 and under ($8 for adults). A special kids’ menu is also offered with, you guessed it — PB&Js! Check their website for show schedule.

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