5 Great Things To Do In Orlando Beyond Theme Parks

This post was created in partnership with TripAdvisor as a TripAdvisor Ambassador. However, all opinions are sincere and are my own.

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. 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.

I wanted to share with you some of the best activities to do in Orlando for families, beyond the parks. 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 weather in the 50’s and 40s is very cold and we would rather be indoors, don’t judge!

Rather than going to each attraction’s website we used Tripadvisor to buy tickets for all of these attractions. I really love that you can book tours, activities, and attractions TripAdvisor. I have the app on my phone and use it throughout all planning stages of every trip from choosing the hotel weeks in advance to looking for a restaurant near me while I explore. With more than 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide, there is always so much to choose from. Through Tripadvisor, you can book everything from walking tours, skip-the-line access and theatre tickets to hot air balloon rides. I usually book right from the app and it’s so useful to be able to see reviews and photos from other travelers which really helps in making an informed decision and choosing the right experience for me with the right company.

SeaLife Aquarium Orlando

SeaLife Aquarium

We are huge fans of aquariums and my kids were 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 great number of interactive opportunities for visitors.

Sea Life Aquarium

You can 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 you can get a Orlando Explorer Pass on Tripadvisor for only $69 and choose four attractions from a list of over 15 options which include Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World, Madame Tussauds Orlando, The Orlando Eye, Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Odditorium, SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando, Skeletons: Animals Unveiled! and so many other options!

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 on 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 were engaged and entertained with creative activities for hours.

Crayola Experience Orlando
You can get tickets online on Tripadvisor here and there are often special sales!

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

CoCo Key Water Park

My kids love waterparks but sometimes we don’t want to spend all day at a big waterpark theme park or we’re just looking for a more affordable option. At CoCo Key Resort you can get a day pass for their water park and enjoy the waterslides and water fun for a few hours or for the entire day.

CoCo Key Water ParkThey also have an indoor area so you can even enjoy waterpark fun on a rainy day. You can get an Orlando Explorer Pass on Tripadvisor and with it, you have access to 3, 4 or 5 of the best Orlando attractions for one low price. You can choose from over 15 Orlando attractions including CoCo Key Water Park!

CoCo Key Water Park

Booking Experiences With TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor is the world’s largest provider of tours, activities, and attractions, with more than 56,000 bookable experiences in 2,500 destinations worldwide, which means you’ll be able to book everything from walking tours, skip-the-line access and theatre tickets to day trips and food tours. And the best thing is that all of your options are consolidated in one place so it’s easy to choose, compare and make the best decisions based on real reviews and photos from people who have experienced these activities and tours before. Booking is so easy too; no need to wait for the concierge at the hotel lobby or for someone to answer an email or phone call: just click and book online.

In the past, I’ve tried booking tours and experiences directly once I’m in the destination which in a few occasions has resulted in a bad experience as I was going in blind and was unable to read reviews. I’ve also overspent on tickets, attractions, and tours before and that is why I always book directly on TripAdvisor now. Did you know that TripAdvisor has a low price guarantee? If you find a lower price for the same tour or activity within 72 hours of booking, or if you arrive in your destination and find your activity offered at a lower price by their operator you can contact TripAdvisor and get a refund for the difference! You can’t beat that!

5 great things to do in Orlando beyond the theme parks

17 thoughts on “5 Great Things To Do In Orlando Beyond Theme Parks

  1. 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.

  2. 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!

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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