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5 Great Things To Do In Orlando Beyond Theme Parks

The Orlando Eye

The Orlando Eye. Photo: Paula Bendfeldt Diaz, all rights reserved.

We go to Orlando at least a few times a year, usually lured by the magic and excitement of the Disney parks but this time we wanted to check out other fun things to do in Orlando beyond the parks and as we discovered Orlando has lots of fantastic options when it comes to family friendly attractions. Going to the big parks is fun but it’s also hectic and tiring: the crowds, the long lines, walking long distances under the hot Florida sun. On this trip we were meeting with friends and we just wanted to take it easy and do some fun activities with the kids. All of these activities make great options for those days when you want to take it slower or take a break from the parks. Many of these options are also great ideas for things to do in Orlando when it’s raining or when it’s a bit cold. Yes for us Floridians 40s is very cold and we would rather be indoors, don’t judge!

SeaLife Aquarium Orlando

SeaLife Aquarium

We are huge fans of aquariums and my kids where thrilled to visit the Sea Life Aquarium. Home to over 5,000 underwater creatures from the three oceans of the world the Sealife aquarium provides countless opportunities for kids and adults to interact with the exhibits from getting inside the aquariums through glass domes and changing the color of the lights in some of the aquariums to touch screen interactive exhibits where they provide many learning opportunities.

SeaLife Aquarium Orlando

The 360° Underwater Tunnel was a pretty cool experience for the whole family and my kids loved touching rays and countless starfish at the touch tank. The aquarium is small but it makes up for it with the fun and colorful exhibits and the amount of interactive opportunities for visitors.

Sea Life Aquarium

When you buy online adult admission tickets are $20 and $15 for kids 3-12 years old. Purchase a discounted combo ticket to visit The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds Orlando and Sea Life Aquarium for savings of more than $20. For even more savings combine all three attractions with a Legoland ticket and save over $50.

Orlando Science Center

The Orlando Science Center is a real gem and a must do for families visiting Orlando. With countless interactive exhibits where kids can discover and learn through touching exploring and experimenting the Orlando Science Center gives kids the opportunity to learn about everything from electricity and engineering concepts to dinosaurs and local wildlife.

Orlando Science Center

We have gone to many science and children’s museums and the Orlando Science Center is now one of our favorites. All of the exhibits really captured my children’s attention sparking their curiosity and creativity. We spent hours here and the kids did not want to leave and we didn’t even get to do it all. We focused in the exhibits but the Orlando Science Center also has 3D movie theaters that offer an array of awe inspiring educational documentaries and Hollywood blockbuster movies.

Orlando Science Center

We can’t wait to go back and next time we will sure to take plan our visit so that we can check out the Crosby Observatory. Atop Orlando Science Center the observatory houses Florida’s largest publicly accessible refractor telescope along with several smaller scopes which available at selected times for solar and night sky viewing.

Orlando Science Center

The Crayola Experience

The Crayola Experience is located in the Florida Mall and offers kids 70,000 square ft of hands on colorful attractions. Focusing on fostering creativity the 25 interactive attractions combine color, chemistry and digital technology to create a one-of-a-kind family attraction.

crayola experience orlando

My kids really enjoyed melting their own crayons to create colorful masterpieces and melting and molding their favorite Crayola crayon colors into a fun shaped keepsake. They saw their creations come alive by digitalizing them in the Art Alive and Color Magic areas and where engaged and entertained with creative activities for hours.

Crayola Experience Orlando
Regular admission is $18.99 online for adults and kids 3 and up and for only $29.99 you can get an annual pass!

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye

The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye is a 400-foot-tall observation wheel providing breathtaking panoramic views of Central Florida within fully enclosed, air-conditioned glass capsules. Before entering the 20-minute ride, guests will enter a 4D theatre and watch a short film about Florida. Although I am usually a bit afraid of heights I felt completely secure and you get truly amazing views of Orlando and the theme parks.

  Orlando Eye

There are interactive screens on each capsule so that you can find out exactly what you are looking out. The kids had a great time trying to guess what everything was and trying to locate the parks and other Orlando major attractions. Being able to get a bird’s eye view of all their favorite Orlando attractions what a lot of fun!

The Orlando Eye

Putting Edge

Putting Edge is glow in the dark mini golf course is like nothing we had ever seen. The kids just loved the whimsical neon designs and the glow in the dark balls and bracelets. This 18 hole mini golf course was perfect for our family, not too hard for the kids yet fun enough for the adults. Located at the Artegon Marketplace, which in itself is worth a visit with it’s artisan marketplace and eclectic ambiance that does not make it feel like a mall at all.

Putting Edge Orlando glow in the dark mini golf

About the author

Paula Bendfeldt-Diaz

Paula moved from her native Guatemala to SW Florida with her husband and two children and together they are discovering what it means to live life between two languages.

Paula studied architecture who now makes a living as a freelance writer, traveler and amateur photographer. She started her writing & publishing career as the editor of Bebé y Mamá, the first parenting magazine in Guatemala. She is the founder of www.GrowingUpBilingual.com and www.365thingsswfl.com and writes articles in Spanish and English for both magazines and the web on travel, food and bicultural and bilingual parenting .

When she is not on a plane or road trip she likes to create recipes inspired in the flavors of her native Guatemala.

Permanent link to this article: http://growingupbilingual.com/2017/latino-parenting/5-great-things-orlando-beyond-major-theme-parks/


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  1. Alli Smith

    The glow-in-the-dark mini golf looks like so much fun! These are great things to do when you want a break from all the theme parks. We visit Orlando often and I’ll keep these things in mind. I know the grandkids will love them all.
    Alli Smith recently posted…White Chocolate Covered Popcorn with Pecans and PretzelsMy Profile

  2. Christy Maurer

    These look like so much fun! I have not done anything in Orlando other than the “big” stuff. The Aquarium would be top on my list of things to do!
    Christy Maurer recently posted…Delicious Buckeye BrowniesMy Profile

  3. valmg @ Mom Knows It All

    I love aquariums, that’s a good suggestion. I have heard of the Crayola experience, and that it was great for the kids.
    valmg @ Mom Knows It All recently posted…Things to Consider when Planning a MoveMy Profile

  4. candy

    If I ever get down to Orlando we will know where to go to have a great time.
    candy recently posted…Kiwi DehydratedMy Profile

  5. Dawn McAlexander

    Orlando has so much to offer for every age. It is really a great place to vacation. It may be the best vacation destination in the US.

  6. Jasmine Eclipse

    All of this talk about Florida is making me so jealous of all the sunshine! I’m up here in Canada and freezing!

  7. NYC Single Mom

    We never ever leave the Disney or Universal property so I wish we had checked out these other attractions. I am a big fan of attractions like The Coca-Cola Orlando Eye, such an amazing the world from up on high

  8. Katie Kinsley

    I had no idea that Sea Life Aquarium was a chain! I had one of my posts in January cover the one in Grapevine, Texas – that’s funny!
    Katie Kinsley recently posted…FRIDAY FIVE | FIVEMy Profile

  9. Annemarie LeBlanc

    These places you featured here are just as awesome as the theme parks, maybe more! I love the Sea Life Aquarium. I would alike to experience being in the Orlando Eye too.

  10. Stephanie Jeannot

    Wow! I never considered the educational locations that Orlando may have to offer because when you think about Orlando, your mind would normally float to Disney or Universal studios. Both the aquarium and the science center sound like nice places to visit.

  11. Rebecca Swenor

    These are all great things to do in Orlando besides the theme parks. The Orlando Science Center and Sealife aquarium would be to great places indeed to visit with the kids. Thanks for sharing these awesome places.

  12. Chubskulit Rose

    The Crayola Express must be an exciting one to go to especially with kids. It’s been years since we went to Orlando.
    Chubskulit Rose recently posted…Father & SonMy Profile

  13. Anosa

    Thanks for these ideas! I personally like and want to try the Glow in the dark mini golf course! First time i heard about that.
    Anosa recently posted…Home Improvements: Different Types of FlooringMy Profile

  14. ricci

    These photos make me want to go to a theme park!! I need to get to Orlando!!
    ricci recently posted…Treat Yo Self to an Oh So Sweet Treat from McDonald’s!My Profile

  15. Emily

    That aquarium looks amazing! We have traveled to a lot of different places and when we do we like to visit the aquarium at the place. This is one we have not been to yet and it looks like a place I need to add to my families list!
    Emily recently posted…What makes a house a home series – week 1My Profile

  16. rika

    Thanks for sharing these recommendations!! I have never been to Orlando Theme Park, sounds like a fun place!

  17. Agnes

    This looks like so much fun! I would really love to visit Florida soon

  18. Dawn Gibson-Thigpen

    i that time i went to an awesome theme park was legoland in orlando. my mom and i went and we had so much fun

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