5 Things to Do in Orlando that ARE NOT Theme Parks | Wanderlust Wednesday | Family Fun | Family Photographer | Jacksonville Fl Photographer
Orlando is a major destination for families every year. Disney World, Universal Studios, Legoland and all the hotels and restaurants that cater theme. Experiences that call out to children. That make memories.
But what if you don't want a theme park? What if, you would rather spend $1000 on multiple days of fun instead of one day at Disney? Now, don't hate. I love Disney, I grew up not far from Disneyland and could see the fireworks each summer from the slide at my pool. This December we are taking my oldest to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I'm not knocking the theme park awesomeness. But, I know it's not for everyone.
So, as my family loves mini vacays and Orlando isn't a far spot for sure, I wanted to tell you about a few places my girls LOVE that do not involve a theme park. Check them out while you plan your own family weekend.
1. American Girl Store
website: American Girl Orlando
If you only have boys you can skip this one, but I have girls. One girl especially who has succumb to the American Girl doll craze. She has gone for her birthday 3 years in a row, loves when the catalog shows up and plans Christmas and her next birthday wish lists months in advance.
Located at the Florida Mall, but possibly not cheaper than Disney, this store is pretty awesome. Neat displays, a fun atmosphere, photo spots and a restaurant that provides dolls for those without and chairs for your doll for the table. The napkin rings are ponytail holders, and your meal comes with a plate and cup for your doll. (and yes, there are adult beverages as well)
You can get lunch, dinner or just a snack, but every girl loves it. It is definitely an experience.
2. Orlando Science Center
website:Orlando Science Center
My girls are lovers of Science Museums. We have visited Children's Museums and Science Museums in almost every city we have ever vacationed too. I'm a big fan of learning.
The Orlando Science Center is amazing. You can easily spend a whole day here and your kids will love it! STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) areas and activities, animals, a play area and TONS of hands on learning. While not let your kids learn while having fun. (It's actually the best way for them to learn and remember the information) You have to check it out! Check out www.groupon.comGroupon or Local Flavor for discounts before you go!
3. SeaLife Orlando Aquarium
website: SeaLife Orlando
Ok. So yes, I'm all about teaching my girls while we do family fun stuff. It's the teacher in me. And I love the ocean, so Aquariums....often another must visit for us as we travel.
SeaLife Aquarium is located right off International Drive in Orlando near the Orlando Eye. The Madam Tussaud's Wax Museum is also there. When we got our ticket I wasn't sure what to think. But seriously, this place was awesome. Walk thru tunnel, so many different kids of sea life, touch tanks, and of course a play area. Definitely worth the visit and an easy add on to the Orlando Eye (see next recommendation). You may be able to find discounts on Groupon or Local Flavor as well so check before you go!
4. Orlando Eye
website: Coca Cola Orlando Eye
So, it's fast so not an all day activity, but the Orlando Eye should be a at least once in your life experience. We visited during the day (before SeaLife), but I would think at night it would be awesome.
Probably not for those with fear of heights, but being able to see Universal, and so many parts of Orlando is pretty awesome. It's a large room and they have packages for all different things they offer as well. Could be a date night activity if the grandparents came and are watching the kiddos, or fun for the whole family!
5. Crayola Experience
website: Crayola Experience
First, Kylie (my little artist) was super excited I had won tickets to here from Fun4FirstCoastKids (thank you!!!).
When we first walked in, I wasn't sure my girls would even stay 30 minutes. Because at first, it looked like it was toddler oriented (which is awesome for moms of toddlers). But as we walked in, walked around, I realized, I was wrong. So wrong. My girls LOVED it. We spent over 2 hours exploring, playing, making crayons, naming crayons, melting crayons, the Adventure Lab, dancing drawings and more. It was pretty awesome.
If I lived in Orlando, we would 100% get a pass. The play area is great (one for toddlers and another for big kids), the activities are interesting to the kids and it's air conditioned! (round of applause for this mother of a summer baby) So, yes, go. Especially if you have a little artist. Note: The wax hand is not free. But my girls actually held hands to make it, so worth it!