What To Do Around Orlando

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 

Chocolate Kingdom Tour

What to do in Orlando: Chocolate Kingdom

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. 

Making chocolate at Chocolate Kingdom

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. 

Harry P. Leu Gardens

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

Dr Phillips Center

Things to do in Orlando: Dr Phillips Center

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.

Teen girls at Wicked in Dr Phillips Center Orlando

Plus concerts, comedy shows, Orlando Ballet, and a variety of entertainment. Make it a date night, or a family day out. 

Orlando Repertory Theatre

Things to do in Orlando Repertory Theatre

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.

Shakespeare Theatre

What to do in Orlando Shakes Stage

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. 

Orlando Science Center 

Kids playing with interactive exhibit in Orlando Science Center

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. 

family with 3D glasses at Orlando Science Center

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

Apopka

Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

Gator in Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive Orlando

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! 

Anhinga at Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive

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.

Maitland

RDV Sportsplex

Things to do around Orlando: RDV Sportsplex ice rink
Photo Courtesy of RDV Facebook Page

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? 

Ocoee

DEFY Orlando

What to do around Orlando: Defy Orlando

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.

Oviedo

Lukas Nursery Butterfly Experience

Lukas Nursery Butterfly Encounter sign

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.

Girl holding butterfly in Orlando

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

Salt Springs Recreation Area

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. 

Girl underwater at Salt Springs

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.

Winter Garden

Winter Garden Heritage Foundation 

Winter Garden Heritage Museum around Orlando

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. 

Train car outside Winter Garden Museum Orlando

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.  

12 thoughts on “What To Do Around Orlando

  • May 13, 2020 at 4:06 am
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    Julie, I love this recap of great opportunities to enjoy in the Central Florida area. You have so many I had never heard of! I cant wait to try the Butterfly Experience at Lukas, and you know how I feel about our freshwater springs. I haven’t been to Salt Springs in years, so it’s time to go back this summer. Alex took classes with the Shakespeare Festival and we love their vibe. Terrific post – thanks!

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  • May 14, 2020 at 11:02 am
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    These are great! It’s so easy to forget that there is so much more to Orlando than just the theme parks.

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  • May 14, 2020 at 11:26 am
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    We love the Springs, too. But, I have never been to Salt Springs, next time we’ll have to check it out. I forget about all of the fun things Orlando and the surrounding area have to offer. Thank you for the inspiration.

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  • May 14, 2020 at 6:47 pm
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    There really is a lot to do in Orlando beyond the theme parks. These are some I’ve never been to & hopefully could go to soon after this virus.

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  • May 15, 2020 at 8:22 pm
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    We almost never take the time to see anything beyond Disney when we go to Orlando. Definitely going to try and make some time for a couple of these places this year.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 12:04 pm
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    I’m slightly Bias when it comes to visiting the states as the only place I want to go is Disney, but I guess ill have to broaden the mind when it comes to visiting Orlando next time I’m there. Thanks for sharing this great content!

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    • May 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm
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      Haha!! You are not the only one who feels that way. I hear that a lot!

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  • May 17, 2020 at 12:08 pm
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    I would love to visit Orlando every year! There is so much to explore and experience!

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    • May 19, 2020 at 4:22 pm
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      There sure is. So much more than most people know.

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  • May 17, 2020 at 3:47 pm
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    I spent a little bit of time in the Orlando area while getting my Master’s in Gainesville, and only wish we’d known about the Butterfly Experience then! We did get to know a number of the springs, though, which were exceptional.

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  • May 18, 2020 at 8:21 am
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    So many great ideas there! We loved seeing Bold the musical at the Dr Phillips Centre – it was incredible. We also really love the town of Celebration – there is so much to see!

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  • May 18, 2020 at 10:21 am
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    Orlando sounds like a great place to visit. I had no idea it had so much to offer. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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