25 Things We Are Excited to Do with Orlando Kids This Winter
After a rough 2020, start 2021 by creating some special memories with your family with the help of this guide to fun things to do this winter in Orlando.
From manatee sightings and strawberry picking, to a theme park festival and Disney movie nights, no matter where you are around Central Florida there is no shortage of fun things to do in the winter. Don't forget to subscribe to our FREE newsletter as well for the best events, ideas, and happenings in the area delivered right to your inbox.
Not quite ready to go out in public yet? Make memories at home with these indoor activities to do as a family.
Read on for the best things to do this winter in Orlando with your kids.
While we try to promote safe activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, keep your family and others safe by wearing a mask and maintaining appropriate distance. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our event calendar to find something else to do.
Great Things to Do in Orlando this Winter with Kids
1. Take in a Dinner Show
Enjoy family entertainment and a delicious meal at the same time with a dinner show. Travel back to the time of castles and knights at Medieval Times or set sail on a nautical experience at Pirate’s Dinner Adventure.
See if your kids can spot the manatees in Central Florida. Photo by Charlotte Blanton
2. See the Manatees
During the winter months, these gentle giants congregate by the hundreds in spring waters to stay warm. For all the details about local manatee sightings, check out our guide to the best places to see manatees near Orlando.
3. Ice Skating
4. Visit Florida’s Only Snow Park
Go snow tubing and build a snowman in an Arctic igloo at Snowcat Ridge, Florida’s first and only snow park. There is also an Alpine Village with vendors and a nightly choreographed light show.
5. Epcot International Festival of the Arts
From January 8 to February 22, 2021, head over to Epcot for the annual International Festival of the Arts, which features a variety of culinary arts, performing arts, visual arts, and art activities for all ages to enjoy. Make sure to book a park reservation in advance. All guests ages 2 and older are required to wear face coverings.
6. Strawberry Picking
December through March are prime strawberry picking months in Central Florida. Find information about all the u-pick strawberry farms near Orlando in our Strawberry Picking Guide.
7. Visit a Playground
Enjoy the cooler weather outdoors and let the kids expel some energy at a local playground. Central Florida has so many great playgrounds to choose from. I suggest mapping out a few great ones and packing a picnic lunch to make for a full day of family fun.
Local heron among the mangroves, Lake Apopka Wildlife Drive. Photo courtesy of St. Johns River Water Management District
8. Wildlife Drives and Drive-Thru Safaris
Spot natural Florida wildlife from the safety of your car at these 10 wildlife drives around Orlando.
9. Cheer on the Orlando Solar Bears
Watch a live hockey game with the ECHL's Orlando Solar Bears at the Amway Center. Kids are sure to love Shades, the Solar Bears mascot.
10. Play a Game of Miniature Golf
Make some memories on the green and practice your putt with a family game of mini golf. We’ve rounded up a list of miniature golf courses around Central Florida.
11. Take a Ride on the SunRail
Hop on the train to explore many fun destinations around Orlando. There are several stops along the route with fun things to do within walking distance. My family enjoys boarding at the Sanford station and riding to the AdventHealth Orlando station. From there it’s a five-minute walk to the Orlando Science Center, which houses many fun exhibits and activities for all ages.
Leu Gardens. Photo by Charlotte Blanton
12. Stroll Through a Botanical Garden
There are some beautiful outdoor gardens to experience around Central Florida, including Leu Gardens in Orlando, Mead Garden in Winter Park and Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales (this one is a bit of a drive from Orlando, but kids can spend hours playing at the interactive Hammock Hollow Children's Garden).
13. Visit a Farmers’ Market
Support local growers and artisans at one of the many area farmers’ markets. On Saturdays, try out the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, Winter Garden Farmers’ Market, or Lake Mary Farmers’ Market. On Sundays, you can visit the Maitland Farmers’ Market, Mount Dora Village Market, or the City of Longwood Farmers’ Market. There are also a couple of indoor markets open daily, including Plant Street Market in Winter Garden and East End Market in Orlando.
14. Ride a Swan Boat at Lake Eola
Tour downtown Orlando’s Lake Eola on a pedal-powered swan boat. Boats are available daily for rental on a first-come, first-served basis.
15. Take a Scenic Bike Ride
Get fresh air and exercise while enjoying the sights in your community on a family bike ride. Popular paved bike trails around Central Florida include the West Orange Trail, the Cross Seminole Trail, the Seminole Wekiva Trail and the Spring to Spring Trail.
16. Visit Animals at the Zoo
Get a front-row view of bears, rhinos, giraffes, and more at the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens. Guests can purchase tickets in advance online, and face coverings are required for guests age 13 and older.
17. Showcase of Citrus
Take a famous monster truck tour and pick fresh citrus at Clermont’s Showcase of Citrus. Kids can also visit with the resident farm animals and pan for gemstones at the Gem Mine.
Thrill to the gators and more at Gatorland. Photo courtesy of Gatorland
Visit the alligator capital of the world. Gatorland’s 110-acre theme park is home to more than 2,000 american alligators, as well as crocodiles, wild cats, birds, and snakes. Note that face masks are a county requirement, and will be enforced by the mascot “social distancing skunk ape.”
19. Dr. Phillips Center Frontyard Festival
20. Plan a Staycation
Orlando is famous for family-friendly hotels and resorts. Plan a winter weekend staycation and enjoy all the amenities they have to offer. Check out our guide of some of the best Orlando hotels for families.
21. Visit a Nature Preserve
Take the kids on a nature walk at a local nature preserve: You can even paint some rocks ahead of time to bring and hide for others to find. Tibet-Butler Preserve in Orlando has a loop hiking trail, boardwalk, environmental center, and butterfly garden. Little ones will love the NaturePlay trail at Oakland Nature Preserve, which also has an environmental education center complete with animal exhibits. Trout Lake Nature Center in Eustis has walking trails, a boardwalk, a museum, and an education center with displays and an interactive touch table for hands-on learning.
22. Enjoy a Drive-In Movie
There are a handful of drive-in movie theaters near Central Florida for families. Enjoy a night out taking in a flick from the comfort of your own car.
23. Boat Trips
When temps are on the warmer side (yes, even during the winter months), it’s a great time to take a boat trip to enjoy the scenic Florida waterways. Visit our list of six boating destinations around Central Florida to experience with your family.
24. Popcorn Flicks in the Park
The City of Winter Park and Enzian Theater team up to host this FREE monthly outdoor movie event in Central Park.
25. The Villages Balloon Festival
Awe at dozens of hot air balloons hovering during this winter festival in The Villages, just a short drive north of Orlando. Kids are also sure to love the free fun zone complete with inflatables and more.
Places featured in this article:
Pirate's Dinner Adventure
Blue Spring State Park
Three Sisters Springs
RDV Sportsplex Ice Den
The Ice Factory of Central Florida
Walt Disney World - Epcot
Pappy's Patch U-Pick
Bekemeyer Family Farm
Mead Botanical Garden
Bok Tower Gardens
Winter Park Farmers Market
Winter Garden Farmers Market
Lake Mary Farmers Market
Maitland Farmers Market
Mount Dora Village Market
City Of Longwood Farmers Market
Plant Street Market
East End Market
Oakland Nature Preserve
Trout Lake Nature Center
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The Villages Polo Club