Orlando is known for its huge theme parks such as Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. But unfortunately, tickets to these attractions don’t come cheap and if you're paying for your whole family the cost will quickly add up.
However, just because you're on a budget doesn't mean you can't still enjoy yourself in Orlando as there are in fact a host of great and low-cost things to do in and around the city, starting with finding Orlando villa rentals that won't break your budget. Furthermore, many of these are likely to be much more appealing to older holidaymakers than the kid-oriented theme parks, while there's also plenty to do to keep the little ones entertained.
Even hiring a car can be surprisingly low cost and offers a great way to get around and see all the various attractions. Meanwhile, below are a few of the top low-cost things to see and do in the city.
Museums and galleries
Orlando is home to a number of top museums and galleries, many of which offer free admission at least some if not all of the time. These include the CityArts Factory - an eclectic collection of art galleries in downtown Orlando showcasing local and international artists, admission to which is free each week from Tuesday to Saturday.
There is also the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, located out in Winter Park, which is home to one of the world's best collections of works by famed artist Louis Comfort Tiffany and is free on Friday between 4pm and 8pm from November to April.
Another good choice is the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the campus of Rollins College. It houses a collection that includes works by Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso and Thomas Moran. Usually the museum is free only to those with a student ID, but to celebrate its 35th anniversary all admission fees are being waived throughout the whole of 2013.
The great outdoors
One of the best ways to enjoy a trip to Orlando without spending vast sums on tourist traps is to make use of the region's natural attractions, which you can’t be charged a penny for. You don't even need to go outside the city - just head to Lake Eola Park, a 43-acre recreational area in the heart of downtown Orlando. Here you can enjoy a picnic by the lake, listen to a free concert at the amphitheatre or check out the goods on offer at the farmer's market on Sundays.
Other great outdoor locations include the University of Central Florida's Arboretum, which is home to more than 600 plant species, and the 5.22-acre Kraft Azalea Gardens located on the shore of Lake Maitland and often referred to as Florida's 'secret garden'.
Keeping the little ones entertained
Finding things to keep your kids occupied while on a family holiday can be a challenge at the best of times, particularly if you have a strict budget to stick to. In Orlando, however, there is a selection of free attractions that could come to your aid. These include the LEGO Imagination Center, at downtown Disney Marketplace, where kids can build every conceivable object out of lego to their hearts' content, and Disney's Boardwalk, where you'll find a wealth of free street entertainment from magicians to comedians and fire shows.
Kids will also love the Fort Christmas Historical Park, located just outside of Orlando, where old-time Florida comes to life through the faithful recreation of a 19th century pioneer town and fort, entrance to which is free.
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