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Visiting the theme parks in Orlando can make a trip to the entertainment capital of the world very expensive. However, there are a vast number of other attractions and entertainment options in and around the city that are budget-friendly and suitable for the whole family.
Having visited Orlando more than ten times in the past eight years alone, it’s safe to say that we’ve had to think a lot about how we’re going to keep everyone entertained while still sticking to a budget, and as a result, have compiled a comprehensive list of our favourite options which have been ordered from the cheapest to the most expensive for your convenience.
1. Disney Springs
💵 Price: $0
Disney Springs is an entertainment district within the Walt Disney World Resort that offers both free admission and free parking. However, spending zero money here is going to be difficult as this place is home to a number of stores, including the largest Disney Store in the world as well as several budget-friendly and luxury restaurants.
Free concerts and live music are held on the main stage here (just across from The World of Disney) regularly. Alternatively, the AMC movie theatre and the Splitsville Luxury Lanes offer a fantastic paid entertainment experience.
If you’re based in the UK I recommend AttractionTix for Walt Disney World tickets. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Walt Disney World tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
2. Universal CityWalk
💵 Price: $0
Universal CityWalk is the free entertainment district at the Universal Orlando Resort. Located just outside of Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Much like Disney Springs, Universal CityWalk has free admission, however, you will have to pay to park here.
The format of Universal CityWalk is similar to Disney Springs in that you’ll find a combination of stores, restaurants and entertainment options here. However, Disney Springs is significantly bigger and subsequently may keep you entertained for longer. Some of our favourite things to do at Universal CityWalk include;
- Shopping at the Universal Studios Store
- Dining at The Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen
- Watching films at the Universal Cinemark Cinema
- Playing mini-golf at Hollywood Drive-In Golf
There are also a number of free concerts and special events that take place at Universal’s CityWalk throughout the year.
If you’re based in the UK I recommend buying your Universal Studios Orlando park tickets from AttractionTix. They have the most competitive prices and incredible customer service.
If you’re based in the US or Canada I recommend Klook for your Universal Studios Orlando tickets. They have the most competitive prices and a range of different ticket options to suit all budgets and requirements.
3. Rollins Museum of Art
💵 Price: $0
Formerly known as the Cornell Fine Arts Museum, is the Rollins Museum of Art. Situated within the stunning Rollins College campus in Winter Park this museum houses an impressive collection of over 5,500 artworks, spanning various periods and styles.
Set across carefully curated galleries, you’ll find an extensive range of European and American fine art pieces here along with a significant collection of contemporary art. The pieces are rotated regularly and additional programs, workshops, and lectures are also available which allow visitors to delve deeper into the artworks and their cultural significance.
4. Central Florida Railroad Museum
💵 Price: $0
The Central Florida Railroad Museum in the nearby city of Winter Garden is a free museum that offers a glimpse into the significant role that railroads played in shaping Central Florida’s growth and development.
Situated within a beautifully restored depot, visitors can explore exhibits featuring artefacts, photographs, and interactive displays, gaining insights into the construction of rail lines, the impact on the local economy, and the experiences of workers and passengers.
Alongside this the museum also boasts a collection of vintage locomotives and train cars, allowing adults and kids alike an opportunity to get up close and personal with these magnificent machines.
Deciding how much spending money to bring to Florida can be overwhelming and difficult. However, you can severely cut costs by visiting the many free attractions across the state.
5. Old Town Car Show
💵 Price: $0
In the popular tourist town of Kissimmee, you’ll find the Old Town. This place is fantastic to visit at any time and offers an incredible nostalgic throwback to a bygone era with its historic buildings, unique shops, and a plethora of dining options.
However, on Saturday nights the Classic Car Show makes this place a must-visit location. This weekly event has been taking place for over 30 years and features a parade of custom, exotic, and special interest vehicles that are sure to delight adults and kids alike.
6. Lake Eola Park
💵 Price: $0
At the heart of downtown Orlando lies the serene Lake Eola Park, a beloved city park that offers an array of budget-friendly activities in a picturesque setting. This park has a fantastic 1.8km walking trail on flat ground around the lake. Alternatively, visitors can rent one of the swan pedal boats for just $15 for 30 minutes.
Adding to the allure of Lake Eola Park is the weekly farmers market that takes place every Sunday. Entry is free and you can browse through a wide array of stalls offering fresh produce, handmade crafts, and scrumptious street food. It’s an excellent spot to pick up some local goodies or simply enjoy the vibrant community spirit.
7. Lakeridge Winery
💵 Price: $0
Tucked away in the rolling hills of Clermont just a 30-minute drive from Orlando is the Lakeridge Winery. This is the largest winery in Florida and offers complimentary guided tours and tastings daily.
Tours run roughly every 30 to 40 minutes between 10:00am and 4:00pm daily, and last around 45 minutes in total. The tour includes a 10-minute video presentation that provides an in-depth look at the winemaking process and the rich history of Florida wine and offers you the opportunity to look inside the winemaking area, revealing the intricate process of transforming grapes into their award-winning wines.
The highlight of the tour, however, is the guided wine tasting. This tasting offers a selection of Lakeridge Winery’s finest creations, ranging from dry to sweet, and even includes their sparkling wine. Each wine is expertly crafted and bound to leave a memorable impression on your palate.
8. Mead Botanical Garden
💵 Price: $0
Nestled in the heart of Winter Park, is the 47.6-acre Mead Botanical Garden. This free-to-enter botanical garden is home to several distinct ecosystems, including a tropical stream garden, a butterfly garden, and a native beach plant display.
These varied habitats make Mead Botanical Garden a haven for wildlife, with many species of birds, butterflies, and other critters calling it home. While you can certainly enjoy the serenity and beauty of the gardens at your leisure, Mead Botanical Garden also offers numerous activities and programs throughout the year. These include guided nature walks, birdwatching outings, educational workshops, and gardening classes.
9. Kraft Azalea Garden
💵 Price: $0
Around 15 miles north of Orlando, in Winter Park lies the Kraft Azalea Garden. This hidden treasure, often referred to as the “secret garden,” provides a serene oasis that is open to the public every day of the year from 8:00am until dusk.
Sprawling over 5.22 acres, Kraft Azalea Garden is home to a stunning array of azaleas, towering cypress trees, and other local flora. Situated on the shores of Lake Maitland, this park benefits from a host of picnic spots and benches for reading and relaxing.
10. Little Big Econ State Forest
💵 Price: $2
Nestled to the northeast of Orlando, roughly a 30-minute drive from the city centre is the Little Big Econ State Forest. This sprawling nature preserve, spanning over 10,279 acres, offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in Florida’s captivating natural environment.
The Little Big Econ State Forest gets its unique name from combining the names of the Little Econlockhatchee River and the Big Econlockhatchee River that run through the forest, creating stunning riverfront views and providing a home for a wealth of local wildlife.
One of the forest’s highlights is its extensive trail system that caters to hikers, mountain bikers, and horseback riders alike. For those interested in hiking, the Kolokee Loop Trail is a particular favourite. This 4.7-mile trail offers stunning views of the Econ River and the surrounding wilderness. Alternatively, the forest’s river offers opportunities for canoeing and kayaking for those looking to explore the area from the water.
11. Kelly Park
💵 Price: $3 for one to two people and $5 for three to eight people
A favourite among locals and tourists alike, Kelly Park is situated in Apopka, about a 30-minute drive from Orlando’s city centre. The main attraction of this park is its natural spring, Rock Springs which you’ve likely seen on Instagram or photos of in Florida-based magazines.
The springs maintain a consistent temperature of around 68 degrees Fahrenheit all year round and feed into a crystal-clear creek ideal for tubing, creating a gentle one-mile-long natural water ride that is both refreshing and exciting. Tubes can be rented from vendors outside the park or you can bring your own to glide down the spring run, surrounded by lush subtropical foliage.
12. Mennello Museum of American Art
💵 Price: $5
The Mennello Museum of American Art is a captivating cultural institution that celebrates the richness and diversity of American art. Housed in a beautiful lakeside setting, this museum offers a unique and immersive experience for visitors of all backgrounds and ages.
As you step into the museum, you’ll be greeted by a carefully curated selection of artworks that span a wide range of styles and periods. From traditional to contemporary, the exhibits offer a comprehensive view of American art, featuring paintings, sculptures, and mixed-media creations. The museum’s collection includes works by renowned artists, as well as emerging talents, providing a dynamic and thought-provoking experience for art enthusiasts.
13. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
💵 Price: $6
Located in the charming city of Winter Park, just a short drive from downtown Orlando is The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, more commonly known as The Morse Museum. This museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including Tiffany jewellery, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps, and windows.
Tiffany, son of the famous jeweller Charles Lewis Tiffany, was one of America’s most acclaimed artists during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, noted for his contributions to the Art Nouveau and Aesthetic movements. Meanwhile, the highlight of the museum’s Tiffany collection is the restored Byzantine-Romanesque chapel interior that Tiffany had exhibited at the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago.
14. Blue Spring State Park
💵 Price: $6 per vehicle (two to eight people)
Blue Spring State Park is located about an hour’s drive north of Orlando and offers an array of outdoor activities suitable for the whole family. This park is best known for being a winter refuge for West Indian manatees, making it one of the best places in Florida to observe these gentle giants in their natural habitat between mid-November and March.
Aside from manatees, Blue Spring State Park offers plenty of activities for visitors. The spring itself is a popular spot for swimming, snorkelling, and scuba diving during the warmer months when manatees are not present. Meanwhile, canoeing and kayaking are also available year-round on the spring run and the adjoining St. Johns River.
15. Orange County Regional History Center
💵 Price: $8 (under 4s are free)
The Orange County Regional History Center in downtown Orlando is a captivating museum that takes visitors on a journey through the rich history of Orange County. Housed in a historic courthouse, the museum showcases exhibits that cover a wide range of topics, including social history, regional developments, and significant events.
From the early Native American inhabitants to the modern era, the displays, artefacts, and interactive experiences bring the area’s unique cultural heritage to life. As you explore the museum, you’ll gain a deeper understanding of Orange County’s past, from the influences that shaped its architecture and landscapes to the pivotal moments in its history, such as the Civil Rights movement and the impact of World War II.
In addition to its permanent exhibits, the museum hosts temporary displays and offers educational programs, workshops, and guided tours, allowing visitors to delve further into Orange County’s history.
16. Orlando Starflyer
💵 Price: $12.21
Located within the popular ICON Park just off International Drive is the Orlando Starflyer. Standing at an incredible 450 feet tall, this is the tallest swing ride in the world and gives you a bird’s eye view of the city of Orlando.
As you swing around the top at speeds of up to 45 miles per hour, you’ll get a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding cityscape. On clear days, riders can see all the way to the Space Coast.
The ride is around four minutes in total and operates day and night. Riding at night offers a different experience, with the lights of the city and the illuminated Starflyer adding to the spectacle.
17. Harry P. Leu Gardens
💵 Price: $15
Harry P. Leu Gardens is a 50-acre garden that’s known for its impressive collection of camellias, roses, and tropical plants. The gardens were first established by Mr. Harry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane, who travelled the world collecting unique plants and seeds.
The garden is divided into various sections including The Rose Garden which boasts over 200 varieties of roses that bloom throughout the year and the Butterfly Garden which is home to various species of native butterflies.
You can explore these gardens at your own pace throughout the day, or choose to take a guided tour. Alternatively, the park hosts several special events, shows and performances throughout the year that are designed to further enhance your visit.
18. Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour
💵 Price: $15 (under 2s are free)
Just a short drive from the bustling heart of Orlando lies the tranquil town of Winter Park. Known for its tree-lined avenues, sprawling parks, and lavish estates, this serene suburb is the perfect escape from the chaos of the nearby theme parks.
During our most recent visit to Orlando (July 2023) we visited Winter Park and opted to learn more about the area on a guided Winter Park Scenic Boat Tour. Having been established back in 1938, this is one of Florida’s oldest tourist attractions and the guided journey through three of the Winter Park chain of lakes (Lake Osceola, Lake Virginia, and Lake Maitland) is the perfect way to immerse yourself in the stunning natural surroundings and laid-back lifestyle this suburb offers.
19. Orlando Museum of Art
💵 Price: $20.00 (under 5s are free)
The Orlando Museum of Art is the perfect place to immerse yourself in the world of art and culture. Located in Loch Haven Cultural Park, this renowned museum showcases a diverse collection of artworks from various periods.
The museum has an extensive range of carefully curated exhibitions that span a wide range of artistic styles and mediums. From contemporary pieces to traditional artworks, you’ll encounter paintings, sculptures, photography, and more, each telling a unique story and inviting contemplation.
20. Sak Comedy Lab
💵 Price: $20
For those looking for a unique night out full of laughs, look no further than the SAK Comedy Lab. Located in the heart of downtown Orlando, this 250-seat improvisational comedy theatre has been entertaining audiences with hilarious and witty performances for over 40 years.
The exact price you pay for a ticket to a show here will vary depending on the event. You’ll be able to find the timetable of shows and associated prices on the Sak Comedy Lab website and social media channels.
21. Central Florida Zoo
💵 Price: $20.95 (under 2s are free)
Located in Sanford, just a 30-minute drive from downtown Orlando, the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens provides an exciting day out for the whole family. With more than 350 animals representing over 100 species, there’s plenty to see and do here.
The zoo is home to a vast array of wildlife, from big cats like leopards and cheetahs to reptiles like the formidable Komodo dragon and vibrant poison dart frogs. Meanwhile, the zoo offers a number of interactive experiences including a giraffe feeding station and a petting zoo that adults and kids alike are sure to love.
22. The Orlando Science Center
💵 Price: $24.00 (under 2s are free)
The Orlando Science Center is an interactive museum that provides a hands-on learning environment so good that it removes any preconceptions you ever had about museums. With a plethora of exhibitions and activities designed to foster a love of science and discovery, it is a must-visit attraction for families seeking an enriching and educational experience.
Set across four floors, the interactive exhibits here include; space, dinosaurs and the human body making it the perfect place for curious minds, both young and old. Alongside the standard museum exhibits, you’ll find several one-off events taking place throughout the year which are advertised months in advance on the museum’s website and social media channels.
23. Museum of Illusions
💵 Price: $24.99 (under 3s are free)
The Orlando Museum of Illusions is one of several indoor attractions located at ICON Park. Here you’ll have the opportunity to take photos with a vast number of murals that create an illusion of reality.
The novelty of this museum is fantastic. However, we personally found the process a little repetitive after seven or eight murals. As such we’d only recommend this visiting this attraction with older children who may be interested in the photos for social media and / or have a longer attention span.
24. Treasure Cove Water Park
💵 Price: $25.00 (under 3s are free)
Treasure Cove water park is part of the Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa and is open for hotel guests and the general public. Spanning 20 acres, this pirate-themed park offers a unique blend of adventure and relaxation in a family-friendly environment.
Treasure Cove is one of the smallest water parks in Orlando, and subsequently one of the cheapest to visit. However, this water park still has several thrilling rides including Blackbeard’s Revenge as well as an area specifically for toddlers and young children, filled with miniature slides, water cannons, and a large tipping bucket.
In terms of safety and facilities, Treasure Cove sails smoothly. Lifeguards are consistently on duty across the park, maintaining a safe environment for all visitors. Plus, the park’s amenities including locker rentals, changing areas, and a variety of food options ensure a comfortable experience.
25. Crayola Experience
💵 Price: $25.99 (under 3s are free)
Located inside the Florida Mall, Crayola Experience offers a day filled with creative activities and exploring the magic of colour. We had the pleasure of visiting the Crayola Experience during our most recent trip to Orlando (July 2023) and spent our time drawing in the digital design studio, moulding a crayon into a car and even creating crayons of our very own.
There are two large soft play areas inside the Crayola Experience, one suitable for toddlers and younger children and a taller more expansive one for older children. Alongside this, you’ll find a small café and a large gift store located at the exit.
26. Ripley’s Believe It or Not!
💵 Price: $27.99 (under 3s are free)
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is an ‘odditorium’ where you’ll encounter a mesmerising collection of oddities and curiosities from around the globe. Making this a haven for the curious and the adventurous.
During your visit, you’ll be able to explore interactive exhibits that challenge your perception of reality and defy explanation. From astonishing artefacts to mind-boggling illusions, a trip to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! is something that kids talk about weeks and even months later.
27. Andretti Indoor Karting
💵 Price: $29.95
Andretti Indoor Karting is one of the most popular indoor karting facilities in Orlando. This entertainment centre is home to a wide range of entertainment options including laser tag, a ropes course, arcade games and virtual reality experiences in addition to go-karting.
Of course, this makes Andretti Indoor Karting a fantastic place to visit if you’re travelling with kids with different interests or looking to spend your day in Orlando indoors. However, it can also be very expensive since each of the attractions within the complex is paid for separately.
At the time of writing a single adult race on the karting track is $29.95. While the VIP experience that costs $89.95 includes;
- 1 Adult Race
- 1 Hologate VR
- 1 Hyperdeck VR
- 1 7D Xperience Motion Theater
- 1 Laser Tag Experience
- 1 Racing Simulator Experience
- $10 Game Card
28. Madame Tussauds Orlando
💵 Price: $34.99 (under 3s are free)
Also situated within ICON Park is the popular Madame Tussauds wax museum. This museum is home to more than 200 wax figures including historical figures such as Albert Einstein and Walt Disney, athletes such as Serena Williams and Lionel Messi, and even musicians such as Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus.
If you’re looking to visit both Madame Tussauds and the Sea Life Center then you’ll save money by purchasing a combo ticket.
Unlike some of the other attractions on this list Madame Tussauds isn’t going to be an entire day experience, but instead is a great way to spend a couple of hours indoors while in Orlando.
29. SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
💵 Price: $34.99 (under 3s are free)
Situated within the popular ICON Park you’ll find the relatively new Sea Life Center. This aquarium offers an immersive journey into the diverse marine life that thrives beneath the surface of our oceans. Here, kids can come face-to-face with everything from colourful tropical fish to mesmerising jellyfish, all while gaining a better understanding of the marine ecosystem.
We visited the Sea Life Center as a family during our most recent trip to Orlando (July 2023) and had an incredible couple of hours learning about marine life and the efforts the centre is making in marine conservation. What was really great about the Sea Life Center is that we, as parents, were just as excited and entertained throughout our visit.
💵 Price: $36.99 (under 3s are free)
WonderWorks is an incredible attraction in the heart of the city, located just next door to the popular Pointe Orlando. Housed in its iconic upside-down building, WonderWorks offers an unforgettable and educational adventure that is sure to captivate kids and adults alike with its myriad of interactive exhibits and fun-filled activities.
WonderWorks features more than 100 hands-on exhibits designed to challenge the mind and inspire the imagination. From feeling the effects of a Category 1 hurricane to experiencing the sensation of floating in space, your little ones can immerse themselves in an array of unique scientific wonders.
31. Escape Game Escape Room
💵 Price: $39.99
The Escape Game is one of the best Escape Rooms in all of Orlando. Situated just off International Drive, this fantastic complex has six different rooms for you to choose from including “Gold Rush” and “Mission Mars”.
Each room requires you to work together as a team of between 2 and 8 to solve puzzles before the 60-minute timer runs out. While each room provides a distinct challenge, all share an exceptional level of attention to detail, creating a fully immersive experience.
32. Fun Spot
💵 Price: $64 (under 3s are free)
Fun Spot is a theme park brand with two convenient locations in Orlando and Kissimmee. This theme park isn’t as modern or high-end as the likes of Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World or Universal Studios Florida but is significantly more affordable.
Admission into the Fun Spot theme park allows you to go on any of the rides inside the park as many times as you would like (excluding the SkyCoaster). Meanwhile, both locations also feature large, multi-level go-kart tracks, where you can compete with friends and family in a high-octane race.
33. SeaWorld Orlando
💵 Price: $69.99 (under 3s are free)
SeaWorld Orlando is one of the cheapest theme parks to visit in Orlando. This park provides a unique blend of thrilling rides, fascinating animal encounters, and captivating shows that are designed to keep the entire family entertained all day long.
The SeaWorld park is home to a variety of marine animals, including killer whales, dolphins, sea lions, and more while interactive exhibits allow you to get up close with some of these creatures.
In addition to its animal encounters, SeaWorld boasts a range of thrilling rides. From the adrenaline-pumping Mako, the tallest, fastest, and longest roller coaster in Orlando, to the Journey to Atlantis water ride, there’s something to satisfy thrill-seekers of all ages.
34. Kennedy Space Center
💵 Price: $75 (under 3s are free)
Located around an hour’s drive from Orlando on the Space Coast you’ll find the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. This incredible attraction is a tribute to the missions past and present that the US has made into outer space.
While the attraction itself is situated outdoors, you’ll spend the majority of your day inside one of several buildings learning about space missions through interactive and immersive presentations and displays.
As a family, we’re not that into space (although our son is still only 19 months old, so there’s definitely time) and therefore never made the drive over to the Kennedy Space Center in all the years we’ve been visiting Orlando.
That was until our most recent trip (July 2023) when we grew tired of friends and family members telling us how we were missing out on an incredible day out and as it turns out they were right. This attraction is incredible, thought-provoking and provides great value for money.