Staying local for Spring Break? We guarantee you’ll find plenty of kid friendly fun on our list of over 100 events & activities in Lakeland, Polk County & even a few day trip ideas! Most events and activities listed below are FREE – those that have a cost are under $10/person OR would depend on items purchased.
Thank you to the Lakeland Magic for sponsoring this post!
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- Pick Strawberries at one of the farms listed in our U-Pick Strawberry Guide
- For an experience unique to Florida, visit the TECO Manatee Viewing Center in Apollo Beach, just South of Brandon/Tampa. Only open through April 15.
- Check out a Detroit Tigers Spring Training Game – they have 3 home games in Lakeland the week of Spring Break, all with a kid friendly first pitch at 1:05pm.
- Saturday, March 23
- Sunday, March 24
- Monday, March 25 – Tigers’ Futures pre-game begins at 11 am and features the Ice Princesses, Cinderella, Belle, Spiderman, Live DJ, Photo Booth, Bouncy Houses, and a post game autograph session with minor leaguers.
- Feel like making a day of it? There are 14 other Major League teams that have Spring Training in Florida, all less than 3 hours from Lakeland, with some just 45 minutes away. You can head towards the east coast and catch the Braves at Disney/Lake Buena Vista, the Astros in Kissimmee, the Nationals in Viera, the Mets in Port St. Lucie, and in Jupiter you’ll find both the Cardinals and the Marlins. Head west to see the Yankees in Tampa, the Blue Jays in Dunedin, the Phillies in Clearwater, the Pirates in Bradenton, the Orioles in Sarasota, the Rays in Port Charlotte, and in Fort Myers you’ll find the Twins and Red Sox.
- The RussMatt Central Florida Baseball Invitational is happening in Auburndale and Winter Haven, you can catch baseball teams from around the country playing here in Polk County.
The Great Outdoors
- Feed the ducks at Lake Morton
- Go on a bike ride (City of Lakeland has a great bike trail map)
- Look for alligators, eagles, and other amazing wildlife at Circle B Bar Reserve – named one of the “Top 51 Places in the US to See Wildlife” by USA Today! Entry is FREE.
- Hike, bike, picnic, canoe, kayak, or fish at Colt Creek State Park in the heart of the Green Swamp Wilderness area north of Lakeland.
- Let your kids get out their energy at a favorite local playground like The Rotary Playground in Hernando’s Landing at Lake Parker, Common Ground or Barnett & Sunflower Playground.
- Pick out a new playground from our list of Lakeland’s Best Shaded Playgrounds or one of the playgrounds listed in our Directory
- Take a self-guided walk around the Florida Southern College campus and learn about Frank Lloyd Wright’s unique architecture style. (Paid tours are available as well)
- Try out geocaching an outdoor treasure hunt where you use GPS coordinates to find hidden containers
- Stroll through Hollis Garden and learn about the variety of flowers and plants there. Opens at 10am, closed Mondays.
- Dig for sharks teeth and fossils at the Mulberry Phosphate Museum. Make sure you bring a small shovel or other item to dig through the rock pile, and something to sit on – you won’t want to kneel.
- Have kids old enough for paintball? Off the Wall Paintball has a GREAT deal on Groupon right now – only $19.50 for a paintball package for 4 people (other deals available at link)
- Put on your flippy floppys to visit Gandy Pool and go swimming! The pool has open swim M-F from 8AM – 5PM; Sat 10AM – 5PM. Cost is $4/person.
- Head to Winter Haven to play at the Splash Pad at Trailhead Park – open 10am – 7pm daily
- “Rowdy” Gaines Olympic Pool in Winter Haven is heated and open Mon-Fri from 12pm – 2pm for Open Swim (closed Sat & Sun until Spring)
- Head to Family Fun Center Miniature Golf, Lazer Tag, Funtasia soft play, Redemption Games, Arcade Games, Vault Assault Lazer Maze, and much more! Fun for all ages. Don’t miss their newly renovated Lazer Tag arena!
- Have everyone find their favorite artwork at the Polk Museum of Art – FREE every day! (Closed on Monday) Looking for more discussion starters? Check out this list from www.artcuratorforkids.com.
- Check out a movie or a book at the Lakeland Public Library. Getting a library card is quick, easy, and FREE! There are also lots of great kids activities happening at the Library during Spring Break, check out our calendar for the entire list.
- Play the day away at Explorations V Children’s Museum or sign up for Spring Break Camp. Kids ages 5-12 can sign up for a 1/2 day or full day of hands on activities, and anywhere from 1-5 days during Spring Break.
- Let your kids enjoy the indoor play area at Chick-fil-A or McDonalds at lunchtime.
- Visit a local pet store and explore all the different kinds of animals you can have as a pet. Just don’t blame us if you end up taking one home!
- Plan a trip to the Movies – there are 7 theaters in Polk County!
- Skate the day away at Skate World Lakeland – Spring Break Skate Sessions from 12pm-4pm Mon-Fri in addition to regular hours (sign up this week for Kids Skate Free – valid year round!)
- Bowling is always a hit with my kids, AMF Lanes and Orange Bowl Lanes in Lakeland, and Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven are in our Fun Around Lakeland Directory
Sweet Treats & Good Eats
- Pick a place to enjoy a sweet treat or frozen treat from our list of The Best Ice Cream, Cookies, Yogurt & Cupcakes in Lakeland
- Go out to eat as a family – check out our list of places where KIDS EAT FREE!
- Head to Charlie’s Donuts, Hole in One Donuts, Dunkin Donuts, or Krispy Kreme for a sugar filled spring break breakfast treat!
- Craving strawberry goodness? Head to Brandon Farms or Parkesdale Farm Market for strawberry shortcake, strawberry milkshakes, and an assortment of other strawberry creations.
Fun Around Polk
- Visit Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales to see the azaleas blooming, hear the carillon playing, and enjoy nature. Don’t miss our recent review of Hammock Hollow Children’s Garden at Bok Tower Gardens
- Head to River Ranch for the Saturday Night Rodeo, pony rides, petting zoo, archery range, rock climbing, zip lines, mini golf, horseback riding and MORE!
- See candy being made at Davidson of Dundee or Webb’s Candy Shop.
- Have a day of fun at LEGOLAND Florida Resort – the waterpark is open for the season!
- Learn more about the history of citrus and orange juice in Polk County at Florida’s Natural Growers Grove House in Lake Wales. Make sure you get a sample from the juice machines!
Day Trips in Central Florida
Looking for a full day of fun? We are lucky enough to live in the middle of one of the top vacation destinations in the country, and you can experience all the same spring break fun as the millions of people traveling to Florida this week, and yet sleep in your own bed! We’ve put together just a few places worthy of a day trip. ***MANY OF THESE COST MORE THAN OUR $10 LIMIT MENTIONED ABOVE***
- Go to the beach
- Head to Busch Gardens or Sea World – Kids ages 5 & younger get into both parks for FREE in 2019. There is also a Groupon Deal active right now, admission to 2 parks for $105.99 per person. (Great deal if you aren’t looking for an annual pass)
- Head to I-Drive 360 for the Orlando Eye giant observation wheel, Madam Tussaud’s and SEALIFE Aquarium.
- Have an animal lover in the family? In Tampa you’ll find Big Cat Rescue, Lowry Park Zoo, Old Mickey’s Farm, Giraffe Ranch, and more. Head towards Orlando to check out the Central Florida Zoo, or Gatorland.
- Feel the need for speed at I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing
- Prefer animals of the underwater variety? We’re surrounded by incredible aquariums – The Florida Aquarium in Tampa, Clearwater Marine Aquarium, and Mote Marine in Sarasota.
- Parents of little pirates rejoice – you can set sail on Captain Memo’s Pirate Cruise out of Clearwater Beach
- Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex has thousands of interactive space exhibits and a full-sized shuttle on display, Space Shuttle Atlantis
If you’re staying local but looking for a deal on Tampa & Orlando Attractions, check out these discount passes.
Your Tamp Bay City Pass includes admission to:
- Busch Gardens Tampa Bay
- The Florida Aquarium
- ZooTampa at Lowry Park
- Clearwater Marine Aquarium
- MOSI OR Chihuly Collection
Only $109 for Adults / Age 10+ and $99 for Ages 3 – 9
Get Unlimited admission to Central Florida attractions for one low price with the Go Orlando Card. Save up to 55% off vs. purchasing tickets individually. Pay nothing at the gate. Use your pass to get into as many included attractions as you want for 2 OR 3 calendar days over a two-week period. (Does not have to be 2 or 3 days in a row!!) Attractions on the list stretch from Clearwater to Cocoa Beach.
Attractions include – LEGOLAND Florida, Kennedy Space Center, ZooTampa, WonderWorks, SEALIFE Aquarium Orlando, Madam Tussaud’s, Titanic The Exhibition, Florida Aquarium, Boggy Creek Airboat Tours, and more.
Visit 3 or 5 top Orlando attractions with the Orlando Explorer Pass and save up to 35% off admission versus purchasing individual attraction tickets at the gate. Your pass is valid for 30 days from your first attraction visit. Choose from over 15 options including:
- ICON Orlando
- SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando
- Madame Tussauds Orlando
- Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World
- Boggy Creek Airboat Tour
- WonderWorks All-Access Pass
- Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show
- Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Orlando
- Fun Spot America Theme Park – 4 Ride Sampler
- Congo River Adventure Golf
- And more!
- Build a fort – Grab some old blankets and sheets and spend the afternoon creating a super cool hideout
- Create a timed obstacle course out of cushions and furniture
- Play indoor hide & seek. Play at night and turn off the lights and use flashlights.
- Build with Legos. Last summer we spent a day (or two) building every single Lego set we own. (I am a Lego lover at heart and am perfectly happy to sit and build them on my own, kids or no kids)
- Have a No TV / No Electronics day
- Have a dance party. Get wild and turn off the lights and add glowsticks, glow jewelry, or flashing/light-up toys to the mix.
- Learn a new dance via YouTube
- Play Board or Card Games – my kids are 6 & 8 and our current favorites include:
- Teach your kids a new card game like Rummy, Solitaire, or Spoons
- Work on a puzzle.
- Have a puzzle race – pick 100 piece or less puzzles and see who can finish each one first (Dollar Tree is a great place for these)
- Play rock paper scissors
- Play Simon Says or Red Light, Green Light
- Play Charades
- Let the kids play in the bathtub. Optional bath accessories include bubbles, shaving cream, glowsticks, or the animal sponge capsules you can get at Dollar Tree.
- Have a “King/Queen for the Day” and let that child choose what to do
- Let the kids do your hair (yes, I’m talking to you moms!)
- Have a family slumber party complete with sleeping bags for mom and dad (or snag the couch)
- Set aside some quiet time to read each day (mom included!)
- Looking for new books to explore? Read our review of Epic! – an ebook subscription for kids with over 10,000 books to choose from. Kids can read anytime, anywhere on a laptop, tablet or mobile device.
- Have kids listen to books read aloud – our Summer Reading List has lots of online resources (has not been updated for Summer 2018)
- Read aloud to your kids
- Take a NAP!
- Stay in pajamas ALL DAY
- Clean out closets and old toys and donate them
- Movie Night – My boys LOVE to have movie night. We get all the sleeping bags, blankets, & pillows in the whole house and get comfy on the floor, then pop popcorn (and add M&M’s), make chocolate milk or hot chocolate, and settle in to watch their movie of choice
- Show the kids one of your childhood favorites. My kids already love Back to the Future, Goonies, Sandlot, and Big. (Note that PG ratings in the 70’s, 80’s & 90’s were a little more lenient – if you haven’t seen the movie as a parent, visit Common Sense Media for details on anything that might be inappropriate.)
- Rent a movie from Redbox.
- Make cereal jewelry – perfect for a snack while reading or having movie night
- Create sock puppets and put on a puppet show
- Make paper airplanes – have a contest to see which one goes farthest
- Color together – find online printable coloring sheets in your child’s favorite theme.
- Get out the paint and paintbrushes. Pick up an inexpensive canvas at the store for a true masterpiece! Pull up a picture and try and recreate a famous painting. Finger paint. Paint on rocks or shells.
- Create art projects using “found” objects, glue and a canvas. Add a unique twist by adding a coat of spray paint to the entire thing when you’re done.
- Have kids write and illustrate their own book. If they can’t write yet, have them tell you a story to write down, and then hand it over to be illustrated.
- Learn a new skill or do a science experiment (check out our Online Summer camp list list for some great ideas to get you started)
- Play dress up with old Halloween costumes or make your own
- Have a fashion show where everyone puts on the craziest outfit they can find
- Have the kids create their own skit and perform it for the adults
- Make miniature boats – sail them in the bathtub, sink, or plastic bin
- Find a large cardboard box and create a car, castle or other playspace
- Make musical instruments out of household objects or recycled bottles
- Make homemade play doh (I LOVE this stuff – it doesn’t dry out like the stuff you buy at the store, AND you can easily make a huge batch!) I don’t remember which recipe we used, but this one is no-cook, just mix dry ingredients and add hot water.
- Bake Cookies
- Freeze your own popsicles
- Eat dinner outside on the porch, in the treehouse, or in the backyard
- Make homemade lemonade or limeade
- Make Jello or pudding
- Whip up some homemade ice cream
- Make indoor s’mores in the oven
- Eat breakfast for dinner
- Pick up some icing and store bought cookies and have a cookie decorating contest
- Play restaurant and let the kids make and serve lunch
- Let the kids make a dinner plan and fix as much as they can do on their own
- Eat ice cream or popsicles. Daily.
- Play hide & seek
- Go for a bike ride around the neighborhood
- Have a picnic in the backyard, driveway, or in the garage (the garage is especially fun if it is raining)
- Go for a walk around the neighborhood
- Play I Spy
- Camp out in the backyard
- Scavenger hunt around the house or the neighborhood. Click here for our Google image search “neighborhood scavenger hunt” and find one that works for your neighborhood. Make it a competition by splitting into two teams and taking photos as you go! Meet back at home at a certain time and see what each team found.
- Make art with sidewalk chalk
- Play sports – baseball, basketball, soccer, football. For old school fun play a game of trash can football.
- Make your own frisbee golf course with targets found around the yard.
- Plant an herb garden, flowers, or other type of plant
- Fly a kite on a windy day
- Play in the rain, splash in puddles, make mud pies (just not in a thunderstorm)
- Have a super soaker squirt gun war in the yard
- Set up a slip n slide
- If you have a pool, create pool games – my kids love to do “themed” jumps and have me rank them. (Air guitar, fly like a bird, cannonball, hit a baseball, etc)
- Wash the car
- Have a water balloon fight. Check out these awesome self-sealing water balloons (can also be found at Target and WalMart). Yes, they are more expensive than a normal pack, but worth every penny to save my fingers from water balloon tying misery!