Although school started a few weeks ago, Labor Day is the unofficial goodbye to summer and a great opportunity to squeeze in some family fun around Lakeland. Whether you’re ready to explore new places in Lakeland OR hit up some of your favorite spots, we’ve got a list of ideas for you.

If you’re heading somewhere that might have different hours for Labor Day OR somewhere that might be closed due to Hurricane Dorian, please be sure to call first – we aren’t able to verify the hours for each place on our list but have provided links so you can easily call before you go.

We can confirm the following for Labor Day from the City of Lakeland Parks & Recreation:

The following locations will be OPEN on Labor Day, September 2: All Parks, Gandy Pool, and the Cleveland Heights Golf Course (Openings will be weather dependent. Please check back here, call Gandy Pool (863-834-3157), or the Cleveland Heights Golf Course (863-834-2377) to confirm the day of status)

The following locations will be CLOSED: All Libraries, Recreation Centers, and Administrative offices

**EDITORS NOTE – we are carefully watching Hurricane Dorian and as of pubishing on 8/28 recognize its potential impact on Lakeland and Polk County is unknown. We put together a great list of Hurricane Prep tips including links to stay informed with local government Facebook & Twitter pages, things to get your house ready to ride out a storm, and much more.

A few of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means we will receive a small commission when you make a purchase by clicking through our links. Thank you for supporting Lakeland Mom! 

Labor Day Weekend Events

Only upcoming events show below. These events feed from our master calendar and are single day special events. Visit our calendar page for ALL upcoming activities.

Aug
30
8-30-19 FREE Home School Fair at Explorations V-page-001
Homeschool Parent Resource Fair
Explorations V Children’s Museum
10:00 am
Aug
31
Kids Fishing Clinic Colt Creek 2019
CANCELED – Kids Fishing Clinic
Colt Creek State Park – Lakeland
9:00 am

Indoor Fun 

  • Play on the pirate ships in Funtasia at Family Fun Center – while you’re there you can play Miniature Golf, Lazer Tag, Funtasia soft play, Redemption Games, Arcade Games, Vault Assault Lazer Maze, and much more! Fun for all ages.
  • Bowling is always a hit with my kids – we’ve got AMF Lanes and Orange Bowl Lanes in Lakeland, and Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven 

⇒ Get a deal for AMF Lakeland ⇐
⇒ Get a deal for Cypress Lanes Winter Haven ⇐

⇒ Get a deal for Defy Lakeland ⇐

summer movies in lakeland winter haven

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Water Fun

  • Cool off at the Splash Pad at Barnett Park
  • Put on your flippy floppys to visit Gandy Pool and go swimming! Open Swim is M-F from 8AM – 5:30PM; Sat 10AM – 5PM, Sun 11AM-5PM. Cost is $4/person.*Open on Labor Day pending weather*
  • Simpson Pool is also open this weekend (weather pending) – Saturday & Sunday 12 pm – 5 pm
  • Head to Winter Haven to play at the Splash Pad at Trailhead Park– open 10am – 7pm daily (FREE)
  • Make a day trip to Haines City Aquatics Center – open Noon-6pm on Saturday & Sunday only, cost is $5/person
  • Check out our Guide to Swimming Pools & Splash Pads for a full list (remember all are outdoors and may close due to weather, a phone call or Facebook is usually the best place to find last minute updates)
public pools in Lakeland

Get Creative

  • Sign up for a paint-along class at Art Centric Studio
  • Visit Picassoz Art Cafe to paint a piece of pottery or Breakables Mosaic Studio to create a mosaic or candle, and grab a drink or a treat at Tea Largo while you’re there.
  • Paint Lakeland Rocks and then hide them around town! You can also go rock hunting. Read the FB page for details.
lakeland things to do with kids

Sweet Treats & Good Eats

  • Find the Best Ice Cream, Cookies, Yogurt & Cupcakes in Lakeland – we’ve got a list to get you started!
  • Go out to eat as a family – check out our list of places where KIDS EAT FREE!
  • Head to Hole in One Donuts, Dunkin Donuts, or Krispy Kreme for a sugar filled breakfast treat!
  • Pick up fresh local produce at a local Farmers Market – there are 5 across Polk County (Downtown Lakeland’s Market reopens Sept. 7)
  • Go on a picnic. One of our favorite locations is Peterson Park and then we walk the nature trails and boardwalks afterwards.
best ice cream in lakeland

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Outdoor Fun

  • Feed the ducks at Lake Morton (Not bread! Feeders are stationed around the lake, other good choices are corn, lettuce, peas, oats. Learn why)
  • 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. Open dawn – dusk daily. The Nature Discovery Center is open 9am-4pm Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm-4pm Sunday, and closed on Monday.
  • Check out Se7en Wetlands Park
  • Hike, bike, picnic, canoe, kayak, or fish at Colt Creek State Park in the heart of the Green Swamp Wilderness area north of Lakeland. There is a Kids Fishing Clinic on Saturday, August 31.
  • Visit Lake Crago Dog Park or Dog Leg Woods Dog Park on Cleveland Heights (fun to watch even if you don’t have a dog)
  • Stroll through Hollis Garden and learn about the variety of flowers and plants there. Opens at 10am, closed Mondays.
  • Let your kids get out their energy at a local playground like Common Ground or Barnett & Sunflower Playground
  • Check out a new playground– we bet you can find a new one to explore from the 15 listed in our directory. Prefer a shaded playground? We have a list of the best Shaded Playgrounds in the Lakeland area.
  • Walk around Lake Hollingsworth (only if your kiddos can handle the 3 miles!)
  • Dig for sharks teeth and fossils at the Mulberry Phosphate MuseumMake 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.
  • 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
  • Find a Little Free Library around town where you can take a book and/or leave a book – for FREE! Clean out your bookshelves and leave a few at each location, and hopefully you’ll find something to take with you. Use the map at littlefreelibrary.org to find one near you.
Little Free Library Lakeland

Explore Polk County

⇒ Get a Groupon Deal for Bok Tower – $15 for admission for 2 ⇐

LEGOLAND Florida Lakeland Winter Haven Things to Do

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Deals in Central Florida

⇒ CLICK HERE TO SEE THE DEAL ⇐

  • Check out our full list of deals on Central Florida Attractions. {note that this post was written in June and some deals have expired}
  • Pirates Dinner Adventure in Orlando – Full 3 course dinner is included. Promotional value expires 90 days after purchase. Reservation required, 24 hour advance notice required. Save 30-50% on Groupon.
  • I-Drive NASCAR Indoor Kart Racing – Orlando – Packages starting at $25 per person. Includes two go-kart races for each person, 30-credit arcade card for each person.  All racers must be at least 55” to race and wear closed toe shoes.
  • Orlando Explorer Pass: Admission to 3 or 5 Attractions – Save up to 35% off vs. purchasing tickets individually. All passes include the free I-Ride Trolley Pass add-on. Choose 3 or 5 of these attractions:
    •  ICON Orlando (formerly Coca-Cola Orlando Eye)
    •  SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando
    •  Madame Tussauds Orlando
    •  Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World
    •  Boggy Creek Airboat Tour
    •  WonderWorks All-Access Pass – Includes Lazer Tag
    •  The 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
    •  Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
    •  CoCo Key Water Park
    •  Forever Florida Trail Buggy Adventure
    •  SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology
    •  Skycoaster

Check Groupon listing to verify current list of eligible attractions. Pass is valid for 30 days from your first attraction visit.

  • Go Orlando Card: 2-Day OR 3-Day Unlimited Admission – Get 2 or 3 days of unlimited admission to over 30 top Orlando area attractions. Your 2 or 3 days must be within 14 day period, but do not have to be consecutive. Choose as you go from a selection of attractions, museums, aquariums, tours, cruises, and more located from Tampa to Orlando. This pass requires advance planning to be worth it! If you can make a schedule to hit multiple 2-3 hour attractions each day this will pay for itself. Unlimited Admission Attractions include:
    •  LEGOLAND® Florida
    •  Florida Aquarium
    •  ZooTampa at Lowry Park
    •  Boggy Creek Airboat Tour
    •  Gator Park Airboat Tours
    •  Congo River Adventure Golf
    •  Gatorland: The Alligator Capital of the World
    •  Fun Spot America Theme Park – 4 Ride Sampler
    •  WonderWorks All-Access Pass Now includes laser tag!
    •  Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition
    •  The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show
    •  SEA LIFE Aquarium Orlando
    •  Madame Tussauds Orlando
    •  The Wheel at ICON Park
    •  Kennedy Space Center
    • Daytona Speedway All Access Track Tour
    • and more (including attractions in Miami)

Fun at Home

Play Like a Kid Again

  • Play indoor hide & seek. Play at night and turn off the lights and use flashlights.
  • Build with LegosLast 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)
  • Create a timed obstacle course out of cushions and furniture
  • Have a No TV / No Electronics day
  • Have a dance partyGet 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
  • Build a fort – Grab some old blankets and sheets and spend the afternoon creating a super cool hideout, or check out the tents and forts on Amazon that you can leave up all summer
  • Teach your kids a new card game like Rummy, Solitaire, or Spoons
  • Work on a puzzle. Find a spot to leave it out and make it a weeks long project.
  • 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
  • Have a “King/Queen for the Day” and let that child choose what to do. Really get into it with a crown they can wear.
  • 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)
  • Let the kids play in the bathtub. Optional bath accessories include bath bombs with a toy inside, bath color tabs, bubbles, bath crayons, bath finger paint, shaving cream, glowsticks, or the animal sponge capsules you can get at Dollar Tree.

Quiet Time – Books & Movies

  • Sign up for a Summer Reading Program through the local library or check out one of the online programs that allow kids to earn prizes and rewards!
  • 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
  • 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.

Get Crafty

  • 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 paintingFinger 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 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.

Food Fun

  • 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 or get an indoor s’mores maker
  • Eat breakfast for dinner
  • Plant an herb garden to use for cooking
  • 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.

Go Outdoors

  • 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 (Amazon has a 4 person tent for under $50)
  • 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
  • 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.
  • Fly a kite on a windy day
  • Bubbles!
  • 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!

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What are your favorite activities and places to visit in Lakeland & Polk County?
Leave us a comment below and we’ll add it to our list!