Couples + Family

Beyond Disney: 9 Activities That Orlando Kids Love (and Yours Will, Too)

(Photo: Marcel Janovic/Shutterstock.com)

Orlando is the “happiest place on Earth,” especially for kids. But in addition to the obvious Walt Disney World, Universal Studios Orlando and SeaWorld trifecta, you can find plenty of alternative Orlando attractions that feature magic beyond the mouse. Below, nine favorites of local kids.

  1. Congo River Golf. Adventurous golfers putt their way around waterfalls, cliffs, caves, rain-forests and even live gators. Discover the Congo at Orlando’s best voted miniature golf experience.
  2. Central Florida Zoo. Besides the over 500 animals and Massey Services Insect Zoo, kids can get up close and personal with goats and zebus at the Barnyard Buddies Children’s Zoo. They can even soar through the sky in the Zoom Air Adventure Park when they get older. The Wharton-Smith Tropical Splash Ground is the place to be on hot summer days.
  3. AirHeads Trampoline Arena. The only thing better than a trampoline is an entire room full of them. With unlimited jumping packages, cool accessories like boards and dodge balls along with free Wi-Fi, this spot is sure to be a surprise hit with both kids and parents.
  4. WonderWorks. One look at this upside-down mansion and your kids will be begging you to go inside. A combination of museum and amusement park, the topsy-turvy attraction features more than 100 hands-on exhibits sure to spark imagination in kids of any age.
  5. Fun Spot America – Orlando. As its commercial promises, this place is huge. Coasters, go-karts, thrill rides and an arcade make this hometown fair-style theme park a great place to spend a day without having to wait forever in line.
  6. LEGOLAND Florida. Everything is awesome at this wonderland of plastic bricks. More than 50 rides and even a water park perfect for kids of ages 2-12 (and even older) are just a short drive down the interstate.
  7. Discovery Cove. Where else can kids swim with dolphins and otters outside of the wild? After meeting the marine mammals, families can take an underwater tour through a living reef. No SCUBA certification required!
  8. Kids Fringe Festival. Part of the annual Orlando International Fringe Festival happening each May, this special kids programming is free and features performances, workshops, hands-on art activities like dance and drum classes and storybook character meet and greets.
  9. KidFest Young Filmmakers’ Summer Camp at the Enzian Theater. Making the magic of movies come alive for kids in fifth grade and above, this cinematic symposium helps budding filmmakers have their silver screen debut.