12 Things To Do With Family in Orlando, Florida

Last Updated on March 4, 2024 by Emily Johnson

Orlando is one of the top family destinations in the United States, attracting millions of visitors each year. Known as the “Theme Park Capital of the World,” Orlando has some of the biggest and best amusement parks around, including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando Resort, and SeaWorld.

But Orlando offers much more for families than just theme parks. With its sunny weather year-round, kid-friendly attractions, family-friendly hotels, and variety of dining options, Orlando caters to vacationing families. Whether you’re looking for outdoor adventures, unique museums, or live entertainment, there’s something to delight travelers of all ages.

From playing with dolphins to riding roller coasters to exploring beyond the theme parks, read on for 12 can’t-miss activities for families visiting Orlando.

Spend a Day at Walt Disney World

No trip to Orlando is complete without a visit to Walt Disney World. Spanning over 40 square miles, this mega-resort features four separate theme parks: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Families could easily spend several days park hopping to experience popular rides like Space Mountain and Soarin’ Around the World. Don’t miss the spectacular nighttime fireworks shows! With hotels, dining, and entertainment also on site, Walt Disney World truly caters to families with something for kids, teens and adults.

Splash Away at Volcano Bay

Cool off from the Florida heat at Universal’s Volcano Bay, Orlando’s top water park filled with thrills for the whole family. Spread across 30 acres, Volcano Bay features wave pools, lazy rivers, splash areas for little tykes, and water slides named after volcanoes like the Ko’okiri Body Plunge that zips riders through a drop door. The centerpiece

Krakatau Aqua Coaster combines the exhilaration of a roller coaster with the fun of a water slide as it weaves through the massive volcano. After making a splash on rides, families can grab a bite at restaurants like the Feasting Frog.

Swim With Dolphins at Discovery Cove

For a once-in-a-lifetime family experience, head to Discovery Cove to swim with dolphins. This all-inclusive day resort limits attendance to ensure a quiet atmosphere where guests can form real encounters with marine life. Families have the rare opportunity to wade into shallow waters for up-close meetings with graceful bottlenose dolphins under the supervision of trained specialists.

Throughout the day, families can also hand-feed exotic birds in a free flight aviary, snorkel a coral reef filled with colorful fish and rays, relax on pristine beaches, and wade through a freshwater oasis. With many educational opportunities, parents will love that kids walk away with a greater appreciation of nature.

Soak Up Some Science at Wonderworks Orlando

Is it an attraction, is it a museum? Wonderworks Orlando is an amusement park for the mind combining education and entertainment. Centered around a four-story building that appears upside down, Wonderworks features over 100 hands-on exhibits to spark creativity and imagination in kids focused on science, technology, engineering, arts, and math.

Families can lie on a bed of 3,500 nails, get lost in illusion rooms that defy logic, make giant bubbles in the Bubble Lab, and feel hurricane-force winds in the Natural Disasters Zone. When brains need a break, kids can expend energy in the physical challenge zone testing their athletic abilities.

View Exotic Animals on Kilimanjaro Safaris

Embark on a wildlife expedition through the African savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Families board open-air vehicles for the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride rumbling through grasslands, muddy banks, and wooded areas filled with exotic animals.

On this 18-minute adventure, sharp-eyed riders may spot massive giraffes nibbling leaves from towering trees, huge hippos bouncing through watering holes, graceful zebras streaking by, large crocodiles dozing with toothy grins, fluffy lions napping in the shade, and wobbly elephant calves sticking close to their mothers. Along with escaping zoo fatigue, children gain an appreciation for vulnerable African species in environments mirroring their natural habitats.

Skyrocket Through Themed Lands at Islands of Adventure

From Marvel Super Heroes to classic cartoon characters, the themed lands bring stories to life at Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park. This imaginative playground provides nonstop action for families, from heart-pounding roller coasters to kid-friendly rides themed after beloved books and movies.

Little thrill-seekers can buzz through Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, sail through Popeye’s chaotic village, train in a martial arts academy with Morph from X-Men, and explore other immersive realms protecting the world from sinister villains alongside Spiderman and the Avengers. When families work up an appetite, the Three Broomsticks tavern and Comic Strip Cafe offer kid-approved menus.

Experience Gatorland

No family trip to Florida is complete without seeing alligators in their natural wetland habitat. Take a walk on the wild side at Gatorland, a 110-acre theme park dedicated to these massive reptiles. Families can get nose-to-nose with hundreds of alligators and crocodiles during shows and exhibits. At the Up Close Encounters area, kids have the spine-tingling chance to stand just feet away from the ENCLOSED reptiles with just a guardrail separating them from tons of teeth.

Those wanting a bird’s eye view can hop on the open-air Gator Gully Splash Park train ride winding around the park’s breeding marsh. Along with gator feeding demonstrations, Gatorland’s Stompin’ Gator Off-Road Adventure drives families through wetlands in monster trucks.

Marvel at Sea Life at SeaWorld

Discover the mysteries of the deep when you explore the ocean realm at SeaWorld Orlando. This top family attraction lets animal lovers come face-to-face with aquatic creatures through shows, rides, and interactive exhibits. Families can clap along to an energetic sea lion concert, be wowed by the splashy acrobatics during a killer whale show, touch stingrays and sharks gliding by in a pop-up pool, ride the wave swinger or flume water coasters, view manatees and sea turtles rehabilitating at the on-site animal rescue facility, and admire playful dolphins through floor-to-ceiling glass windows on an infinity edge walking path. With fun ways to learn about protecting ocean habitats and wildlife, kids come away inspired by the aquatic animal superheroes.

Fly Through Avatar Land in Pandora

Journey deep into the bioluminescent rainforest of Avatar’s alien moon at Pandora – The World of Avatar in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Based on the record-breaking movie, this 12-acre land brings the fantastical world to life through two soaring attractions. On Avatar Flight of Passage thrill ride, families saddle up on a mountain banshee for an exhilarating 3D flight over the awe-inspiring landscape.

Then on the Na’vi River Journey, families gently drift down a sacred river hidden within a glowing jungle dotted with exotic Pandoran creatures. After an action-packed day of exploration, families can grab alien-inspired street food at Satu’li Canteen or relax over a drink at Pongu Pongu with views of the floating mountains.

Dine With Disney Characters

What kid wouldn’t want to share a meal with Mickey Mouse or their favorite Disney princess? Throughout Walt Disney World Resort, various restaurants offer character dining experiences that bring movies to life through themed decor, lively entertainment, silly antics, and up-close magical meetings.

Families can dance at chunky monkey’s jungle-jammin’ celebration at Rainforest Cafe located right outside the Disney parks, devour pizza at Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano with Goofy and pals, sip morning at the Garden Grill revolving restaurant alongside Mickey and the gang, and attend a seaside dinner show spectacular at Ariels’ Grotto. With playful character interactions, creative cuisine, and lively environments, these restaurants offer extra pixie dust to any Disney vacation.

Step Into Harry Potter’s World at Universal Studios

At The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, families are magically transported into scenes straight from the famous books and movies. The incredibly realistic Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade villages feature magical shops stocked with wands, candy, novelty jokes, and wizard robes perfect for dress up. Families can sip frothy butterbeer, munch on cauldron cakes from the Honeydukes sweet shop, tour cursed vaults at Gringotts Bank, wander through the Ministry of Magic, and spot magical creatures like hippogriffs and dragons.

The lands’ groundbreaking rides place families at the heart of the fantasy aboard Hogwarts Express train, inside enchanted benches, and on pulse-pounding broomsticks and roller coasters. Between magical meals, souvenir shopping, and photos ops galore, Harry Potter fans won’t want to leave!

Enjoy a Show at Orlando REP Theatre

No need to give up the performing arts while on a family vacation! The Orlando Repertory Theatre delivers award-winning professional productions perfect for entertaining kids and adults. As Central Florida’s only professional theatre for young audiences, Orlando REP stages imaginative shows based on beloved children’s stories like Ella Enchanted along with original productions that tackle relevant topics affecting families today.

Past kid-approved shows cover themes like going green, standing up to bullies, coping with loss, and resolving conflicts. Providing an artistic outlet for local youth, the theatre also hosts acting classes and summer camps. With affordable ticket prices, Orlando REP makes culture accessible for vacationing families.

Conclusion

Families visiting Orlando have no shortage of amusement with world-famous theme parks, outdoor adventures, educational attractions, unique entertainment, and dining delights fitting for all ages.

From conquering thrills at the wizarding world of Harry Potter to connecting with dolphins at Discovery Cove, Orlando offers incredible experiences that bond families through awe, laughter, and joy. With the year-round sunny weather, families can easily mix and match activities for an unforgettable vacation dedicated to making magical memories together.

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