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The Ultimate Guide to Things to Do With Kids in Lakeland + Polk County

Things to Do with Kids in Lakeland Florida

Are you looking for things to do with kids in Lakeland, Florida? We can help you find family fun! Below you’ll find a HUGE list of family friendly places to go and things to do in Polk County. Indoor places to play, outdoor adventures, free things to do, seasonal activities, and more.

If you’re looking for things to do in Lakeland, Winter Haven, Plant City, Polk County, or Central Florida, you’ll find it all right here.

THINGS TO DO IN LAKELAND + POLK COUNTY

OUTDOOR FUN

Outdoor things to do in Lakeland and Polk County – Whether you prefer hiking, water sports, biking, mini-golf, animal adventures, playgrounds, or just somewhere to get outside, this list has outdoor activities for all ages. With year-round sunshine and plenty of warm days, we have an abundance of things to do outdoors in Florida.

INDOOR FUN

Indoor Fun Guide – Indoor family fun and indoor playgrounds are in high-demand year-round in Florida. When the temperatures are high, we love being in the air conditioning for indoor activities! Use our Indoor Fun Guide for a full list of things to do indoors in Lakeland + Polk County.

FREE FUN

Free Things to Do in Lakeland + Polk County – Making memories and finding family fun doesn’t have to be expensive. Lakeland and Polk County are full of FREE events and family activities.

FUN AT HOME

We’ve put together a list of fun activities you can do at home, and most require little or no preparation.

PARK + PLAYGROUNDS

Playgrounds in Polk County – Get outside and enjoy all of our great playgrounds in Lakeland and Polk County. Let the kids run and play and burn off some of that never-ending energy. In the Florida heat, especially during the summer, we prefer to visit Lakeland’s Shaded Playgrounds.

Parks + Open Fields in Lakeland – Find a place to throw a frisbee, kick the soccer ball, or play a game of catch.

Picnic Spots – Looking for a place to have a picnic? Pick one from our list of 10 Places to Enjoy a Picnic in Lakeland.

POOLS + SPLASH PADS

The Winter Haven Splash Pad and Lakeland Splash Pad are open year round. Get more information as well as a list of other places to play in the water in the Tampa area, in our Splash Pad Guide.

Public pools in Lakeland, Winter Haven, and Lake Eva in Haines City are open for recreational swimming. Some pools are only open seasonally, but others are open year round! Get the details in our Swimming Pools Guide.

The Lake Eva Water Park has something for all ages! Toddlers and younger kids will enjoy the splash pad and water spray park, while older kids will have fun on the large slide and in the zero-depth entry lagoon pool with a water dump bucket. There is also a regular pool with an open swim area and swim lanes.

Lake Eva Water Park Pool Haines City FL
Lake Eva Water Park

CANOE + KAYAK

Floating down a river or exploring the coast of Florida in a kayak is the perfect way to spend a day when the weather is beautiful. With plenty of lakes, rivers, coastlines, and springs only 1-2 hours from Lakeland, we found 15 places to rent a kayak or book a tour, including 3 right here in the Lakeland area.

Canoe Kayak Central Florida

OUTDOOR MURALS + PUBLIC ARTWORK

Go on a Mural Scavenger Hunt – we’ve got a list and map of 19+ amazing murals in Lakeland. Whether you are looking for a selfie wall, an Instagram background, or just enjoy seeing these works of public art, the entire family will have fun trying to pick your favorite mural in Lakeland.

Murals in Lakeland, FL

WATERSPORTS + WATER SKI SHOWS

Elite Cable Park is a wakeboarding and water sports park located in Auburndale. All activities are run on an overhead cable system {instead of behind a boat} and equipment is included in many of their packages. They are open to the public to learn to wakeboard or improve your shredding skills.

Prefer to watch others perform on the water? Check out a local water ski show for free weekend entertainment.

BIKE TRAILS

If you’ve got a bike trailer or a way to transport bikes, we’ve got a list of the best bike trails for families and kids. Our list includes places to learn to ride a bike, paved bike paths, mountain bike trails, AND a list of bike shops in case you’re looking for a new bike or need a repair.

WALK + HIKE

Explore a new trail or visit your favorite shaded hiking spot. We’ve got a list of outdoor hiking trails in Polk County including local favorites spots like Circle B, Holloway Park, Colt Creek State Park, and Lakeland Highlands Scrub.

Are you looking for a place to walk in Lakeland with a stroller or somewhere you can walk on a paved trail? If you prefer to stay on even ground, these paved walking paths and scenic trails are a great place to get some exercise, go for a run, rollerblade, or just take a leisurely stroll to enjoy being outdoors.

BOTANICAL GARDENS

Botanical Gardens – Visiting a local garden is a great way to get outside and enjoy the beauty of nature, plus it is something all ages can do together.

Bok Tower is one of the most beautiful places in Polk County. Kids can explore in Hammock Hollow Children’s Gardenthen take a stroll to see the variety of flowers and vegitation, and be sure to get a photo in front of the Singing Tower.

FIND FREE BOOKS

Find free books at the public library, Little Free Libraries, and other places around town and online.

VISIT A FREE MUSEUM

Free Museums – There are multiple free museums in Polk County, as well as ways to free tickets for museums and science centers for free if you are a Bank of America/Merrill Lynch card holder or EBT/SNAP card holder. Some museums also have free admission days during the month.

SPORTS TEAMS

We are lucky to have multiple minor league teams in Lakeland. Whether you have a favorite sport or just want to cheer on the hometown team, these professional sports teams’ games are fun for the whole family.

The Lakeland Magic – Lakeland’s very own G-League Team of the Orlando Magic (basketball) – play indoors at the RP Funding Center. The schedule typically runs from November through April with a variety of fun theme nights and special ticket deals. Games are family-friendly and always a fun night out!

Lakeland Magic Basketball Lakeland Mom
Lakeland Magic Game

The Florida Tropics, a Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) team, play at the RP Funding Center, and the Florida Tropics USPL play at the Lake Myrtle Sports Complex in Auburndale.

Lakeland Ice Arena is the home arena for the ice hockey team at Florida Southern College. Spectators are welcome.

We also have Detroit Tigers Spring Training and the Lakeland Flying Tigers who play baseball outdoors at Joker Marchant Stadium.

CLASSES + EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES

Our Kids Classes + Lessons Guide can help you find classes, clubs and extracurricular activities you can sign your kids up for after school and on weekends.

Looking for Swim Lessons in the Lakeland area? We’ve got a list of those too.

YOUTH SPORTS

From baseball to wrestling, along with basketball, cheerleading, football, gymnastics, soccer, and everything else in between, we’ve put together a list of all the organizations offering kids sports programs in Lakeland.

U-PICK FARMS

One of our favorite family friendly things to do in Lakeland is visit a U-Pick farm! Find out where you can pick your own Strawberries (January – March), visit a U-Pick Blueberry Farm (March – May), or get fresh-picked Florida Peaches (April – May) right off the trees.

FARMERS MARKETS

Find fresh produce and local goods at one of the weekly Farmers Markets in Polk County. Not just limited to food, many of them also have handmade items and other unique booths to browse. Learn more about the Lakeland Farmer’s Market in Downtown Lakeland or one of the other markets in Bartow, Winter Haven, and Lake Wales.

GO OUT TO EAT

Use our Kids Eat Free Guide to find out where you can get a free kids meal any night of the week.

You can also find the best local fish fry, or check out a local BBQ Festival.

GET SUGARED UP

I scream, U scream, we all scream for ice cream! Cookies! Frozen yogurt! Gelato! Shaved Ice! Cupcakes! Find sweet treats and ice cream in Lakeland and across Polk County.

Whether your favorite flavor is glazed, frosted, jelly filled, old fashioned, or chocolate, we can help you find the best donuts in Lakeland and Polk County.

HAVE A TEA PARTY

What is it about tea parties that makes them so timeless and so much fun, regardless of age? We put together a list of tea rooms in Polk County and Central Florida where you can dress up and enjoy tea, lunch, and desserts.

INDOOR PLAYGROUNDS

An indoor playground will give your kids space to run, climb, slide, and burn off some of that endless energy!

Family Fun Center Funtasia Indoor Playground Lakeland FL
Funtasia Indoor Playground – Lakeland, FL

INDOOR TRAMPOLINE PARKS

Bounce the day away at a Ninja-Warrior style kids indoor trampoline park in Lakeland.

Trampoline parks Lakeland Florida

SKATING RINKS

If you want active indoor fun, check out a local roller skating rink or indoor ice skating rink.

ARCADE GAMES

Whether you prefer retro arcade games, pinball machines, ticket redemption, or love playing games just for fun, these family entertainment center’s and arcades in Lakeland and Winter Haven provide fun for the whole family.

Family Fun Center Lakeland
Family Fun Center – Lakeland, FL

MUSEUMS + PLACES TO LEARN WHILE YOU PLAY  

Looking for a kids indoor play option that combines fun with learning? These hands-on museums, libraries, and discovery centers will give your kids something to do indoors AND stimulate the brain.

{Exploration’s V Children’s Museum is moving to Bonnet Springs Park in 2022 and will become the Florida Children’s Museum!}

Explorations V Children's Museum Lakeland FL
Explorations V Children’s Museum in Lakeland FL

LASER MAZE + LASER TAG

Looking for something the whole family can do? Kids, teenagers, and adults will enjoy a heart-thumping game of lazer tag as you run, dart, and try to find the best hiding place while you defend your team’s base in a laser tag arena.

Laser Tag Lakeland Florida
Laser Tag at Family Fun Center in Lakeland, FL

ESCAPE ROOMS

If your family loves a challenge, head to one of Lakeland’s indoor escape roomsLakeland Escape Room or Escapology Lakeland. You’ll have 1 hour to solve the clues and escape. This is one of my family’s favorite activities, especially if we go with another family. The more thinking power the merrier!

INDOOR BATTING CAGES

Whether you play Little League Baseball or Softball OR are just looking for indoor family fun, check out Lakeland’s indoor batting cages.

ARCHERY + SHOOTING RANGES

Test your aim with a trip to the indoor archery range.

MOVIE THEATERS

We have a variety of movie theater experiences here in Lakeland and Polk County including IMAX, 3-D, D-Box motion seats, comfy reclining chairs, food and drinks during your movie, and more.

If you really want a unique movie going experience, check out Silver Moon Drive-In for an outdoor family movie.

BOWLING ALLEYS

Bowling is a favorite in my house! Bowl a few games at these local bowling alleys – AMF Lakeland, Orange Bowl Lanes, Cypress Lanes in Winter Haven, Fast Frame Bowl in Lake Wales, or Family Bowl in Plant City.

MAKE + TAKE ART STUDIOS

Paint your own pottery, assemble a mosaic, or make jewelry. These arts and crafts studios allow you to create your own masterpiece.

THEATRES + LIVE PERFORMANCES

Take your children to a musical or theater production geared toward kids and watch their imaginations soar. Live music is also a family-friendly activity for all ages.

Check out the theaters and performing arts venues to find an upcoming performance that you and your family are sure to enjoy. Local venues and performance groups include the Imperial Symphony Orchestra, Lakeland Community Theatre, Theatre Winter Haven, RP Funding Center, The Polk Theatre, and more.

{In addition to checking these venues’ websites, we also list many local performances on our Calendar – use the Music, Theater + Live Performances filter}.

EATERTAINMENT

Check out a unique indoor “eatertainment” venue – you can play and eat, all at the same venue. Ax throwing, golf simulators, and more.

LOCAL EVENTS

Event Calendar

Family Friendly Events

Event Calendar – Check our Family-Friendly Event Calendar for a full list of upcoming events in Lakeland and Polk County.

Event Articles – Read more about Lakeland’s favorite Family Friendly Events.

SEASONAL ACTIVITIES

Spring + Easter

Summer Fun

Fall + Halloween

Christmas + Winter

Spring Activities Guide – Since we don’t really have a true winter, “Spring” in Florida runs from January – May. Our list of things to do in Spring includes Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and a calendar full of spring events.

Summer Fun Guide – Once the kids out of school for summer break, we can help you find things to do to keep them entertained. Summer Camps, reading programs, free bowling and skating, free summer movies. and more.

Summer Camp Guide – Use our HUGE list of 100+ Summer Camps to find the best places for kids to spend their summer having fun. Sort by city, camp theme, age group, and more.

Fall + Halloween Activities – Beginning in mid-September, the pumpkins arrive at the pumpkin patch, the corn mazes open, and the kids get excited just thinking about Halloween candy. We can help you find things to do to celebrate Fall and Halloween.

November + Thanksgiving – The month of November gets its own feature on our website. It includes restaurants open on Thanksgiving, things to do in November, volunteer opportunities, and things that open early like Christmas markets.

Christmas + Holiday Guide We’ve got the ultimate guide to family-friendly holiday fun in Lakeland, Polk County, and Central Florida. Our communities are bursting with holiday cheer this time of year, and we can help you and your family make memories as you experience the sights and sounds of the Christmas and holiday season.

MONTHLY HIGHLIGHTS

Top 10 Things to Do in September

Guide to Lakeland + Polk County

Check out our Guide to Lakeland + Polk County for more parenting resources and local information including Things to Do with Kids, Education, Childcare, Healthcare, Classes + Lessons, Youth Sports, Birthdays, and more.