Whether you live in or are just visiting Orlando, there are many things for toddlers to do. Many people who visit spend their entire time at Disney World or Universal Studios, but many activities exist besides these expensive theme parks that a family with toddlers would enjoy. In fact, toddlers would probably enjoy the less-expensive activities more than crowded theme parks. And, of course, mom and dad's wallet will suffer less, with cheaper entertainment! In Orlando, there is something for practically every age group -- even toddlers.
1. Downtown Disney
Downtown Disney (downtowndisney.com) is one of the few Disney properties where you don't need a ticket or reservation to attend. Downtown Disney is a collection of shops, restaurants and walking areas that you can explore. It includes a Lego store, where you can gaze and look at the Legos, as well as the larger Duplos. Toddlers will delight in playing with the ever-fun Duplos -- and Legos, too. The Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique is there, where your 3-year-old toddler can be made up to look like a Disney prince or princess. She'll remember being Snow White or Cinderella for a long time. And he'll just love the cool Dudes package, for boys 3 to 12.
2. Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center (ocs.org) has exhibits for older kids, but entire rooms and programs are dedicated to toddlers and preschoolers. They can do art activities, building or playing with and learning about water. Because the exhibits change every month or so, there's always something new to see.
3. Lake Eola
Lake Eola (cityoforlando.net) (no website; 101 North Rosalind Ave., Orlando; 407-246-4485) is in the heart of Downtown Orlando, and is roughly one mile around, making for a pleasant walk. There is also a playground you can stop at on your way around. Feed the swans or ducks or simply watch the swan boats glide around the water. Take your toddler on a pedal swan boat ride around the lake.
So you've probably taken your toddler to McDonald's, but if you haven't taken him to the World's Largest McDonald's and Play Place (mcfun.com), you haven't been to the biggest and the best. If you didn't go to the one in Orlando, then the answer is no. This McDonald's has over 100 arcade games and an elevator up to a tree-house play area. There is also a special section for toddlers only.
5. Peabody Ducks
The Peabody Duck Parade happens twice a day in the Peabody Orlando hotel (peabodyorlando.com), at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. The ducks are brought down the elevator to the lobby so they can swim in the fountain. Toddlers will love to see the ducks following the Duck Master through the hotel.
6. Pinocchio's Marionette Theater
This theater (pinocchios.net) is located in the Altamonte Mall. It is a full string-puppet show. The shows change every two months, so there's always a new one being produced.The theater seats up to 100 people, so there is plenty of room for everyone.
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