Although Orlando is known for its world class theme parks including Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld, there are so many family friendly things to do outside of the theme parks itself.
With high crowd levels and theme park prices now exceeding $100 per day, its nice to take a break and do something else in the Orlando here. To give you an idea of what other fun things to do that are available in the greater Orlando area, check out our list below.
Family Friendly Things to do in Orlando Besides Theme Parks for 2021
- ICON Park
- Fun Spot Orlando / Kissimmee
- Crayola Experience
- Dave & Busters International Drive
- Ride a Go-Kart
- Escape Rooms
- Outer Limitz Trampoline Arena
- iFly Orlando SkyDiving
- Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex
- Private Helicopter Tour
ICON Park is a 20-acre entertainment complex located along International Drive just north of the convention center. This complex hosts more than 40 different bars, restaurants, shops, attractions and things to do.
Located at 8375 International Drive, Orlando, ICON Park is rated by Forbes Magazine as one of “The 7 Best Attractions in Orlando” and some of its unique attractions include:
The Wheel at ICON Park
A 400-foot observation wheel that gives you breathtaking views across all of the Orlando area.
Madame Tussauds Wax Museum
From celebrities to athletes, Madame Tussauds features dozens of lifelike wax figures including Selena Gomez, Jennifer Aniston, Pitbull, Taylor Swift and Oprah Winfrey.
SeaLife Orlando Aquarium
Check out sharks, rays, turtles as well as touch starfish in this amazing attraction. There is even a 360 degree walk through aquarium.
Other highlighted attractions include the “The StarFlyer” which is a 450-foot swing ride (said to be the world tallest) and “Skeletons: Museum of Osteology” which is a great place to explore all types of skeletons.
In addition to those attractions shown above, under construction is the World’s Tallest Slingshot Ride and Drop Tower. This will be a 400-foot drop tower with a 300-foot tall slingshoot ride. Additionally, a 500-seat restaurant and country music theater called Ole Red is also in process of being constructed.
The Fun Spot (Orlando & Kissimmee)
The Fun Spot is an old school carnival type attraction that features two locations in the greater Orlando area. With one location near Universal Orlando along International Drive (5700 Fun Spot Way, Orlando) and another south of Walt Disney World on US 192 (2850 Florida Plaza Boulevard, Kissimmee), The Fun Spot offers a theme park experience without the massive crowds and at an affordable price.
The two parks have everything to offer from roller coasters, a fun house, multiple go cart tracks, classic carnival rides (Tilt-a-Whirl, Carousel, Rip Curl & Ferris Wheels), bumper cars & bumper boats, kid rides (typically for kids 36 inches and up), carnival games and an arcade.
Typically opening at 10:AM and running until midnight and t less that than $50 per person with free parking, The Fun Spot is one of the best family-friendly affordable things to do in Orlando.
Located on the eastern side of Orlando at 14501 S. Orange Blossom Trail, Gatorland is a 110-acre private wildlife preserve that was originally founded in 1949 by Owen Godwin. This amazing place features a number of animal encounters highlighted by a number of alligator shows. You can even get up close and personal with the alligators in a behind the scenes tour. There is also a petting zoo where you can feed a variety of friendly animals and birds.
If animal encounters are not your thing then try “Screamin’ Gator Zipline” where you will zip along around 30 miles per hour up to 65 feet above a pit of alligators and crocodiles. There are five individual zip lines ranging in length from 230 to more than 500 feet.
The Crayola Experience is one of the most family-friendly places to visit in Orlando and perfect for the little ones that want to bring out their creative side. Located at 8001 S. Orange Blossom Trail in the Florida Mall off Sand Lake Road, the Crayola Experience consists of 70,000 square feet to interactive games, shows, experiences, adventures and more.
There are 27 “hands-on attractions” which range from making your own crayon to starring in your own coloring page. There is also a multi-level playground and snack bar for when your children are ready to take a break from all the creativity. Depending on how many experiences your child wants to do as well as the crowd levels, the Crayola Experience typically takes around three to four hours.
Dave & Buster’s
Is Dave & Buster’s a restaurant or an arcade? Well it’s both actually. Located at 8986 International Drive, just north of the convention center, this amazing place has something for everyone. Mom and dad can grab a cocktail or enjoy a meal while the kids play from any of the 150+ games on the 40,000 square foot floor. Accumulate enough points during your visit and you get to take home a prize.
This is a great place to spend a few hours out of the hot Florida sun but make sure to get their early as parking spots are tough to come by.
The greater Orlando area has some of the best fresh water lakes and places to enjoy all types of water sports. From water skiing to boat rental, paddleboarding, parasailing, wake boarding, jet skiing and more, Orlando has it all.
Some of our favorite places for water sports in Orlando include:
The Orlando Watersports Complex
The Orlando Watersports Complex (OWC) is one of our favorite places to visit and its where a number of the Endless Summer Florida family first learned to wakeboard. Located at 8645 Flroia Rock Road near the Florida Mall, this place is not that easy to find. Just keep your eyes out for the large billboard on Landstreet Road and it will be your guide.
The OWC features two cable systems (a beginner and an advanced) for wakeboard, wake skate and kneeboarding; a floating “Aquapark” which is a massive playground / jungle gym on the lake; a boating area for all types of towable water sports; and a single cable for training and lessons.
Their “Get Up Guarantee” is one of the best deals going as they guarantee you will get up on a wakeboard. And once your training is complete, you get a 4-hour cable pass with all the equipment. In addition to the water sports activities, there is a full pro shop and snack bar with plenty of shaded seating.
Buena Vista Watersports
Originally opened back in 1993 on the shores of Lake Bryan at 13245 Lake Bryan Drive, Orlando (off Apopka Vineland Road), this amazing facility has all kinds of watersports activities including:
- Jet ski rentals
- Waterskiing, wakeboarding, tubing and pontoon boat rentals
In addition to the watersports, the facility has been hosting private events for more than 30 years. So if you want to have a party or event along the shores of Lake Bryan.
Ride a Go-Kart
I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing
I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing is one of the fastest indoor Go-Kart tracks in the Orlando area. Located at 5228 Vanguard Street, Orlando, this attraction is just off International Drive. Each race is eight-minutes in length on the quarter-mile track which features 8 turns, 3 hairpins, 1 chicane and “The Sienna S”.
Racers must be at least 10 years of age and at least 55 inches in height. The karts were indicated to be silent and non-polluting with a patented safety system for full body protection.
In addition to its go-kart track, there is a number of other fun things to do here including:
- Pool Tables
- The Grandstand Bar & Grille
There even is a place to hold your next part or corporate event at I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing. The facility has a 5,000 square foot event center which can be fully catered to your specifications.
Andretti Indoor Karting & Games
Located at 9299 Universal Boulevard within walking distance to the convention center, Andretti Indoor Karting & Games is one of most exciting go-kart and entertainment attractions in all of Orlando.
Andretti features the world’s longest indoor track features elevation changes and banked turns. There are adult races, intermediate races (minimum 12 years old) and junior races (minimum seven years old). Helmets and head socks are provided and there is a “SODI wraparound protection” system to keep drivers safe. There is also a “Mini Mario Karts” race for children five-years of age and up. Riders must be at least 36 inches tall with a maximum weight of 90 pounds.
In addition to the go-karts there is a number of other things to do including:
- Ropes course with zip line
- Virtual reality games and an XD dark ride
- Laser tag
- Boutique bowling
- A full service restaurant and lounge
There is no lack of escape rooms throughout the greater Orlando area, each having their own theme and design. Here are some of the ones we have found to be among the most popular and well rates.
Located in Pointe Orlando at 9067 International Drive, Orlando, WonderWorks is an indoor, 35,000+ square foot amusement and entertainment venue that has more than 100 interactive exhibits as well as a ropes course, 6D motion simulator and a laser tag area.
You just can’t miss this place as it is a huge upside down building directly on International Drive just down the street from the convention center.
In addition to all the amazing things to do at WonderWorks, there is a magic comedy dinner show that features all you can eat pizza, salad, beer, wine, soda and dessert.
Outer Limitz Indoor Trampoline Arena
If the Florida rains come through, Outer Limitz Trampoline Arena is a great place to spend a few hours out of the weather. There are a number of trampoline features including:
- A large trampoline arena
- Trampoline dodge-ball arena
- Trampoline basketball court
- Trampoline foam pit
- Popes Obstacle Course
- Spider Tower
- Trampoline Cage Ball
iFly Orlando SkyDiving
Did you ever want to skydive but never had a courage to do so? iFly Orlando is the perfect place to do so without ever getting on a plane. Located at 8969 International Drive just north of the conventional center, guests from ages 3 to 103 “fly on a cushion of air” alongside a certified instructor.
Powered by 1,600 combined horsepower of giant fans, you will experience the thrill of flight. All the training and gear in included but make sure you get a reservation in advance as due to limited capacity, iFly Orlando gets booked up quickly.
NASA Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex
Located at nearby Cape Canaveral approximately one hour from Orlando, there is so much to see and do at the Kennedy Space Center Visitors Complex.
- Touch moon rock
- See the space shuttle Atlantis
- Trour a NASA spaceflight facility
- See a Saturn V moon rocket.
Admission costs around $60 per person and the facility is perfect for guests of all ages.
Private Helicopter Tour
There are a number of helicopter operators throughout the Orlando area that provide tours of many of the local area attractions including:
- The Disney parks (from a distance due to FAA flight restrictions)
- Universal Orlando
- SeaWorld Orlando
- International Drive, the Orlando Eye
- Kissimmee / Old Town area
Private helicopter tours typically run from about 10 minutes to 30 minutes and cost from around $50 to more than $100. This is a very fun experience for guests of all ages.
What’s your favorite thing to do in Orlando besides visit a theme park?
Orlando has so much to see and do that we could not cover all the amazing things to do outside of visiting Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. If your favorite thing to do is not on our list, let us know.