Orlando, Florida is a top vacation destination for families all across America. There are amazing things to do in Orlando, like Disney World, but there are also plenty of free things to do in Orlando with kids. Trust me, you don’t need to break the bank in order to have a good time with your family in the Sunny State.
Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids

Free Things to Do in Orlando with Kids

1) Universal Orlando Resort’s CityWalk is a great place to spend time with friends and family, and admission is absolutely free day or night. Fantastic shopping and dining are always available. Kids especially love cooling off in the splash pads, while adults enjoy the festive atmosphere and free entertainment.

2) Visit Disney Springs, a unique area that is home to more than 70 shops, eateries and Disney-centric entertainment. It’s free to walk around the lively entertainment center, but the main destination kids care about is LEGO imagination center. Here, they can let their creativity free at building block zones. Free events  are offered throughout the year, too, for the LEGO lover in your family.

4) Tour the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. The museum celebrates the Floridians contributions to the arts, as well as the material culture of people of African descent.

5) Stroll the streets of Celebration, Disney’s town that is as close to perfection as a town can get. Admire the old-fashioned properties and let the kids play in the interactive fountain. Experience the pleasant atmosphere and beauty of a town only Disney could create.

6) The Harry P. Leu Gardens features three miles of paved scenic walkways that take you through fifty acres of southern styled gardens. FREE admission is offered the first Monday of every month. In addition, kids four and under are always free.

8) Visit Lake Eola Park in Downtown Orlando. This 43 acre park offers spectacular views of the city as well as free events throughout the year. Watch a free movie in the park, feed the geese, catch the fountain show–these are just a few of the things to do in Orlando with kids at Lake Eola Park.

9) Explore the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum, home to the world’s largest collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany items. Everything from lamps, to pottery, to stained glass windows to dining sets is displayed. Visitors are free Fridays November – April from 4pm-8pm. Keep in mind kids 12 and under are always free, while regular adult admission is $6.

10) Take a walk in Big Tree Park, the home of “The Senator,” a 118 ft. tall, 3,500 year old Bald Cypress tree.

11) Every second Sunday of the month, the Mennello Museum offers free admission. All galleries are free to the public from noon-4pm, while galleries, craft stations and mini-tours for kids occur from noon-2:30pm.

12) If your kid loves hot wheels, take them to Old Town. This amusement park has free car shows featuring hot rods and muscle cars. Car cruises are held Friday and Saturday nights.

13) To get a little Disney during your stay, take advantage of the free Walt Disney World monorail. No ticket is required to ride, and you can cruises pass sights like Spaceship Earth. Make the ride even better by watching the Magic Kingdom fireworks afterwards. The Ticket and Transportation center for the monorail offers excellent views, with magical music even piped in.

14) Your vacation headquarters may be Orlando, but the beach is only 45-minutes away. So, really, why not make a day of it on the shores of Cocoa Beach. The kids will love the sand and surf, and best of all–it’s free!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Orlando, Florida is a world renowned vacation destination, welcoming more than 50 million visitors each year. There are fun things to do in Orlando, like visit Walt Disney World Resorts and Universal Studios, but there are also plenty of free things to do in Orlando. With so many free activities in Orlando, it’s easy to see why travelers choose to visit year after year.

Orlando is known for its first class attractions, but there are also plenty of natural attractions for visitors to explore. Directly located in central Florida, Orlando has the great advantage of being immersed in beautiful natural surroundings that are waiting to be explored.

Free Things to Do in Orlando

Harry P. Leu Gardens/Facebook

1. Harry P. Leu Gardens

Guests can enjoy three miles of walkways, rose gardens, a butterfly garden, ancient oak trees, and more at Harry P. Leu Gardens. Admission is free on the first Monday of every month. Normal admission is $10 for adults and $3 for children.

 

2. Cornell Fine Arts Museum

This free admission museum showcases over 6,000 art pieces ranging from the Renaissance to the Baroque period. Art lovers of all ages will not want to miss one of the oldest collections in all of Florida.

 

Disney Springs

Disney Springs

3. Disney Springs

Free things to do in Orlando and Disney are two words you don’t see together very often. However, at Disney Springs there are several fun and free options at your disposal. You can explore the World of Disney store, which is an experience in and of itself. Also, visit the Lego Imagination Center, where your kids can enjoy the free Lego building stations and nearby playground. Plus, there are events throughout the year like Festival of the Masters, an award-winning arts & crafts event.

 

4. Ocala National Forest

Just north of Orlando, you’ll find Ocala National Forest. This is the largest national forest east of the Mississippi, at which you can hike, canoe and bike. Bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a day of nature.

 

Charles Hosmer Morse Facebook

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum/Facebook

5. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Home to the most comprehensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany, including the chapel interior Charles Hosmer Morse designed for the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. There is also an extensive American Pottery collection, as well as 19th and 20th century paintings collection. November through April, admission is free from 4pm-8pm on Fridays. Regular admission is $5 for adults, $1 for students and children (12 and under) are free.

 

6. The Town of Celebration

Visit this Disney-made town where you can admire the gorgeous houses, well-groomed yards and magic of Disney living. Admire the Rockwellian-atmosphere, let the kids play in the interactive fountain or stop by the farmers market on Sundays. During winter months, visitors can even see (fake) snow falling.

 

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Disney’s Boardwalk

7. Disney’s Boardwalk

For free things to do in Orlando, you can’t beat the charm of Disney’s Boardwalk. Stroll along Disney’s boardwalk, a re-creation of a 1930s-style Atlantic coastal village. The boardwalk is home to nightclubs and entertainment, but visitors can enjoy the street musicians, water views and street entertainers for free.

 

8. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts

This museum celebrates the famous Floridian best known for her novel Their Eyes Were Watching God. The culture of people of African descent is celebrated at this Zora Neale Hurston Museum, and in late January, they present Zora Festival. Admission is free.

 

Grand Bohemian Gallery Facebook

Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando/Facebook

9. Grand Bohemian Gallery

Even if you’re not staying at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, stopping by for a free tour of the Grand Bohemian Gallery is worth the time. The gallery has everything from local contemporary art glass and jewelry to European paintings from the 19th and 20th centuries.

 

10. Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida

An informative center dedicated to remembering the millions of people that were lost during the rule of Nazi Germany. Displays include local survivor testimonies. Admission to the Holocaust Memorial is always free. Closed Saturdays.

 

Albin Polasek Facebook

Albin Polaske Museum/Facebook

11. Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens

This Winter Park museum is home to the 20th century works of Albin Polasek. Exhibits change throughout the year, but admission to the sculpture gardens is always free. Museum admission is also cheap, with adults priced at $5, seniors at $4, students at $3 and children (12 and under) are always free.

 

12. Fort Christmas Historical Museum & Park

Fort Christmas is easily the one of the best free things to do in Orlando for history buffs. Visit the full size replica of Fort Christmas, which was originally built for the Second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842). Included are seven restored pioneer homes and exhibits showing pioneer life from the 1870s through the 1930s. Key themes are homesteading, cattle, citrus, hunting, fishing and trapping.

 

Free Things to Do in Orlando

Lake Eola

13. Lake Eola Park

This downtown Orlando centerpiece offers 43 acres for exploration and recreation, including fountains, a walking path, playgrounds, concerts, swans to feed and swan shaped paddle boats and gondolas (for a slight fee).

 

14. University of Central Florida Arboretum

Opened in 1983, this arboretum is home to over 600 plant species and at least 8 ecosystems and is located on 80 acres, where visitors can walk, or bike along a 9-acre lake.

 

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Gaylord Palms

15. Gaylord Palms

Tour the 4.5 acre atrium of the Gaylord Palms Hotel, home to three distinctive regions modeled after the Florida Keys, Saint Augustine and the Everglades. It’s a sight to see and strolling through the unique atriums is absolutely free.

16. Orlando Brewing Company

This is Orlando’s only certified organic brewery. They offer free tours Monday-Saturday at 6pm.

 

Almost Free Things to Do in Orlando

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Universal CityWalk

17. Universal Orlando® Resort

Parking is discounted  to $5 at Universal CityWalk® after 6pm and free after 10pm. This makes it super easy to visit the Universal CityWalk entertainment hotspot.  (Note that this excludes New Year’s Eve, Mardi Gras event nights, July 4th and Halloween Horror Nights event nights).

 

18. Kelly Park – Rock Springs

This Park offers over 248 acres of outdoor fun and excitement! A crystal clear spring is the focus of this park, with tubing down the meandering stream a favorite activity of guests. Admission to the park is per vehicle.  $3 for 1-2 people, $5 for 3-8 people.

With 18 free things to do in Orlando, Florida, a money-saving vacation at this destination is easy to accomplish. Visit today and see how exciting a trip to Orlando can be.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

The word free doesn’t exactly spring to mind when one thinks of Disney World. Disney World tickets aren’t cheap, but they are worth the one-of-a-kind experiences found inside park gates. Luckily, there are free things to do at Disney World that will help keep your budget intact.

Lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge

Lobby of Animal Kingdom Lodge

1) Free Disney Tours
Many Disney World resorts offer free tours open to the public. Wonders of Lodge is a one-hour tour of the art and architecture of Wilderness Lodge. During your visit, be sure to catch Disney’s version of Old Faithful, erupting every hour. (You can’t get that kind of timing at Yellowstone!) Over at the Animal Kingdom Lodge there are three tours: Sanaa Cultural Tour, a restaurant tour with menu sampling; Disney-Designed, a cultural-representative led tour of the design of the African-inspired hotel; and the Culinary Tour, featuring the restaurants Boma and Jiko. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn has a daily 45-mintue tour at 9am, “Showplace of the Shore,” discussing the story behind the architecture, artifacts, and artwork that graces the restaurants, buildings, and detailed recreations of the Boardwalk. A free one-hour tour starts in the lobby of the Art of Animation Resort each day, providing behind-the-scenes details about the planning, design, and creation of the resort.

Electrical Water Pageant Flickr

Electrical Water Pageant
Photo Credit: Jeff Kern/flickr

2) Electrical Water Pageant
At the resorts surrounding the Magic Kingdom, you can see a 150minute nightly presentation known as the Electrical Water Pageant. Watch as charming sea creatures ranging from real to lore light up the lagoon, with a bright green sea monster leading the way. Set to a variety of Disney tunes, this production is similar to the Main Street Electrical Parade in style. Toward the end of the show, a patriotic tone takes over with flashing American flags and patriotic songs.

3) Disney World Fireworks
As someone who has seen countless Disney World firework shows, I can attest they are some of the best. Fortunately, you don’t have to be inside the parks to see the shows. Preferred outside viewing locations include the Ticket and Transportation Center at the Magic Kingdom, beaches at Polynesian Village or Grand Floridian Resort, and the bridge between Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower. Disney’s Boardwalk Inn has a limited view of Epcot’s Illumination. Basically, you won’t see the lower level fireworks and lasers but the big pyrotechnics are still stunning.

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

Magic Kingdom Fireworks

4) Boat Rides
One of the most relaxing things to do at Disney World is to go for a boat ride. There are free water taxis connecting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot and nearby hotels like Disney’s Beach Club, and Downtown Disney has service to and from resorts like Old Key West Resort and Saratoga Springs. Other boat cruises at Disney World are available at the Grand Floridian Resort, Polynesian Village, and Wilderness Lodge, among others.

5) Disney Wilderness Preserve
Technically, this isn’t on Disney property but it’s free and fantastic. At The Disney Wilderness Preserve, visitors can hike, bird watch, and enjoy old Florida’s natural beauty. The Preserve is home to birds such as bald eagle, red-cockaded woodpecker, wood stork, sandhill crane, northern harrier and crested caracara. The preserve is also home to the southeastern big-eared bat, Sherman’s fox squirrel, eastern indigo snake and gopher tortoise. The Florida panther has even been documented crossing the terrain. Plant life that can be seen features cypress swamp, freshwater marsh, scrub, flatwoods and oak hammocks. Key flowers include the fall-flowering ixia, Catesby’s lily and terrestrial orchids.

Add these five free things to do at Disney World to make your vacation a budget-friendly one.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Orlando, Florida offers unique experiences for every visitor, from vacations for families to couple getaways. There are so many things to do in Orlando you’re sure to have an unforgettable vacation no matter which activities make your agenda. Whether that means spending a week at area theme parks or want to spend a relaxing weekend shopping and at the spa, a vacation in the Sunshine State can be whatever you want it to be. Ready to find out more about all Orlando offers? Read on.

359Orlando Theme Parks

The most renowned attractions in Orlando are the world-famous theme parks encapsulating timeless experiences. Explore the four parks of Disney World Resort, from the enchanting Magic Kingdom to the paradise of Animal Kingdom, then go behind the scenes of pop culture at Universal Orlando Resort. Build memories with your family at LEGOLAND or dive into aquatic adventure at SeaWorld, Aquatica, and Wet ‘n Wild.  At Busch Gardens, theme park thrills and animal encounters combine for a one-of-a-king theme park. With tickets to Orlando theme parks, you’re guaranteed a day of fun in the Orlando sun.

Gatorland DSC00919Orlando Attractions

Outside of first-class theme parks, you can fill your days with attractions featuring interactive exhibits, entertaining shows and the immersive outdoor adventures. Amuse your mind at WonderWorks, explore wildlife at Gatorland, soar through the skies and countryside of Forever Florida or cruise the wetlands on an Orlando airboat ride. Line-up your nights with engaging shows like Blue Man Group or Medieval Times, or choose to spend the day on the space coast exploring Kennedy Space Center. In Orlando, the attraction options are endless!

shopping_86502314Shopping

Another great thing about Orlando are excellent shopping opportunities. You can save on your favorite brands at retail malls like Orlando Premium Outlets, or splurge on luxury labels at the Mall at Millenia. Plenty of unique goods are available at local boutiques too, and souvenir shops are located on every block so you can pick up that signature shirt or kitschy photo frame for your keepsakes. Of course, you can score some of the best shopping at stores inside Universal CityWalk and Downtown Disney.

VIII International Jazz Festival "Usadba Jazz"Arts, Culture and History

Orlando has a thriving cultural scene showcasing live music, galleries, festivals and museums. Stroll through the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and Charles Hosmer Morse American Museum of American Art, then take in a play at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Engaging festivals such as the Fringe Festival or Florida Film Festival highlight various art forms, while theme parks often host holiday specific celebrations centered on Christmas and Halloween. Discover the history of Orlando at places like Orange County Regional History Center or the historic park of Lake Eola.

Florida_EcoSafaris_at_Forever_Florida_(007)Outdoor Activities

Immerse yourself in the nature appeal of Orlando. Harry P. Leu Gardens, Bok Tower Gardens and the Albin Polasek Sculpture Garden are elegant, landscaped sanctuaries. For a more adventurous outdoor activity, try ziplining or horseback riding at Forever Florida. Catch a ride with an Orlando airboat tour company to cruise through the Florida wetlands, or charter a boat to try your hand at ocean fishing. Need more ideas? Simply hit the beach for fun in the sun!

Massage of shuolderSpas

Pamper yourself at Orlando spas to really relax and rejuvenate on vacation. Whether you need a quick back massage or a full body makeover, award-winning spa options have you covered. Opt for a solo retreat or go with a friend.  Feeling amorous?  Treat yourself to a couple’s day at the spa to feel totally refreshed with a side of romance. Some of the best spas in Orlando include the Waldorf Astoria Spa and Ritz Carlton Spa. World-class services and treatments are the main event at these spas, and the star is you!

Golf_iStock_000008692572XSmallGolf

Orlando is one of the world’s largest gold destinations, with more than 170 golf courses and 20 gold academies calling the area home. Hit the greens on one of the outstanding courses designed by premier golf courses designed by the likes of Nicklaus, Dye, Palmer and Fazio. A few recommended Orlando golf courses include Shingle Creek Golf Club, Grand Cypress Golf Club and Legends at Orange Lake Resort. Tee up and see why Orlando is a true golfer’s paradise.

Dining_78717430Restaurants

There is an eclectic mic of eateries in Orlando. From upscale, award-winning restaurants featuring famous chefs to local mom and pop cafes, you can find a variety of places to dine. A variety of flavors and price points are on the menu, too, so you’re to satisfy every craving and every budget. You’ll find plenty of culinary adventures of International Drive and Sand Lake Road, which is also known as Restaurant Row. A few of my favorite fine dining options are Ocean Prime and The Capital Grille, while Café Tu Tu Tango and Rocco’s Tacos serve tasty cuisine in a festive atmosphere. Looking for cheap eats? Try Mediterranean Blue, Pom Pom’s Teahouse & Sandwicheria, Adobe Gila’s and Crave. Of course, culinary adventures await at Orlando Theme Parks too. Make reservations to dine at the Be Our Guest Restaurant or Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom, try exotic creations at Epcot’s World Showcase or choose from themed dining featured at Universal Orlando Resort. One recommendation remains true for all – come hungry!

Before you visit, read about the free things to do in Orlando to make the most of your vacation!