It’s no secret Orlando is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US. Millions of tourists flock here all year round to spend time in the theme parks, and on the beaches. But people often want to know what to do around Orlando outside the theme parks. Thankfully we’ve had the opportunity to experience a lot of what Orlando area has to offer with our homeschooling schedule. Hoping this will give you some inspiration to see more of Central Florida beyond the theme parks.
What to do in Orlando
Not far from Sea World, you can find Chocolate Kingdom. A fun, interactive experience about chocolate. Follow the journey of young Herman Bar, and his family. From Germany, to Switzerland, then Argentina, and finally Orlando.
A walk through exhibit, and a chance to create your own chocolate bar. This was a fun field trip we did a couple years ago with our homeschool friends.
This 50 acre botanical sanctuary has been on my bucket list for far too long. The grounds also include the historic home of Harry P. & Mary Jane Leu, and were donated to the city of Orlando in 1961.
See A Show in Orlando
In the heart of Downtown Orlando, you’ll find the Dr Phillips Center for Performing Arts. You can find popular shows on tour with Broadway Across America.
Plus concerts, comedy shows, Orlando Ballet, and a variety of entertainment. Make it a date night, or a family day out.
Roots going back to 1925, the Orlando Rep offers family friendly entertainment. Over the years we’ve seen many great performances. Also, a more affordable option for families. Theatres are smaller, with better views. You can even stick around to meet the cast. Most shows are geared toward the younger crowd.
Those with teens can find options aimed at a more mature audience. Typically performing a Shakespeare writing, but you may catch other shows too. One of the funniest shows I’ve ever seen, was here. Every Christmas Story Ever Told was so hilarious, if you get the chance, go see it.
As a homeschool family, we’ve enjoyed being members of OSC over the years. Full of interactive labs, halls, and workshops, the kids can keep busy for hours. Like some physics challenges of lifting each other up.
You have your choice of three different theaters. The Cinedome, a 3-D theater and movie theater. Offering up many options, we’ve loved watching things like National Parks in the Cinedome. Also, you can always count on OSC hosting some fun traveling exhibits, such as the Hall of Heroes. Which was one of our favorites, and you can read about it HERE.
What to do Around Orlando
Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive
Florida is well known for it’s unique wildlife, and most notably, gators. The Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive is a short 15 minute drive from Disney. Perk…. It’s FREE!
Drive through this 11 mile wildlife preserve at your own pace, and take in the sites. You can get our tips for this gem HERE.
When you think of Florida, I’m sure winter sports is not something that comes to mind. But, if you are looking for some indoor fun, and want a break from the heat, how about ice skating?
Another indoor option to get some relief from Florida heat. Although you may still get a little sweaty. Challenge yourself to these obstacles. Trampolines, obstacle courses, and more, all under one roof. You can see our full review HERE.
Lukas Nursery Butterfly Experience
For those who love nature, Lukas Nursery Butterfly Experience is a quick trip from Orlando and Disney. Walk through the grounds, learn about gardening, farming, and butterflies.
Also, get a chance to encounter butterflies. We took a field trip a couple years ago, and you can read all about our time HERE.
Take A Dip In The Springs
Salt Springs National Forest Park
Springs in Central Florida are what I would consider, extremely underrated. We had been to several of the state parks with springs in them, but never took the time to truly enjoy them……until spring of 2019.
Now we’ve visited several springs in Ocala National Forest, and you can say we are addicted!! All unique in their own way, it’s a perfect way to spend the day in Florida’s natural beauty! You can read all about Salt Springs HERE.
In Downtown Winter Garden, just north of Disney, get a glimpse of what Central Florida life was like in the beginning. The Heritage Foundation includes the Heritage Museum, History Research and Eduction Center, and the Central Florida Railroad Museum.
Winter Garden was essential to transporting goods across Florida. Take a walking tour of the city, and learn about the historic buildings still standing today. Including the Edgewater Hotel. Is it haunted?? You can decide.
What Else Is There To Do Around Orlando?
I’m sure you know there are plenty more attractions around Orlando. I mean it is a top vacation destination in the US. But I hope this gives you a little more inspiration to see what else Florida has to offer outside the theme parks.