Free Fun in Central Florida
MUSEUMS AND ART
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848–1933), including the artist and designer’s jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leaded-glass lamps and windows; his chapel interior from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; and art and architectural objects from his Long Island country estate, Laurelton Hall. The Museum’s holdings also include American art pottery, late 19th- and early 20th-century American painting, graphics, decorative art. All visitors free 4:00 pm–8:00 pm Fridays (November through April).
The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts
For 26 years, we’ve provided gallery space for artists of African descent, right in the heart of the community. The museum is the only place within 400 miles that showcases the work of artists from the continent and/or the Diaspora. This dream was started by Eatonville Community, Inc. who gave a voice to these artists; we strive to continue and expand upon that legacy. Paintings, sculpture, ﬁlms and photography of all eras are included in our ﬁne displays. Shows usually last between three and four months. For each exhibition, we hold an opening reception and a gallery talk presented by the artists, guest scholars, or a curator. These events are free of charge and open to the public. There is no set admission fee for visitors, but donations are greatly appreciated.
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida
The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida is an organization dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism, and prejudice with the ultimate goal of developing a moral and just community through its extensive outreach of educational and cultural programs. Using the lessons of the Holocaust as a tool, the Center teaches the principles of good citizenship to thousands of people of all ages, religions, and backgrounds each year. Our Center is one of the oldest facilities of its kind in the nation. It is a nonprofit organization supported by tax-exempt donations and is open to the public free of charge. Donations are welcome.
CityArts Factory is Downtown’s largest collective of art galleries which showcases an infusion of local and international works of art, rotated on a monthly basis. City Arts Factory is a regional multi-use destination. This facility houses six separate art galleries, a classroom, an artist’s studio and an 8,000 square-foot events and performance space on the second level. Free admission Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
HISTORY AND NATURE
The Winter Park Farmer’s Market
The Winter Park Farmers’ Market is held at the old train depot, located at 200 West New England Avenue, that has been restored into an historical landmark that hosts this NUMBER ONE produce and plant market in Central Florida. The market takes place every Saturday morning from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is a popular community gathering place that provides fine produce, plants, baked goods and so much more.
Lake Eola Park
Lake Eola Park is located in the heart of Downtown Orlando. The sidewalk that circles the lake is .9 miles in length, making it easy for visitors to keep track of their walking or running distances. Other activities available to park visitors include renting swan-shaped paddle boats, feeding the live swans and other birds inhabiting the park, seeing a concert or a play in the Walt Disney Amphitheater, grabbing a bite to eat at Relax Grill on Lake Eola or relaxing amid beautiful flower beds and a spectacular view of Orlando’s skyline.
Fort Christmas Historical Park
On December 25, 1837, a force of 2,000 U.S. Army Soldiers and Alabama Volunteers arrived near this spot to construct a fort which was aptly named, Fort Christmas. This fort was only one of over 200 forts built during the Second Seminole Indian War, 1835 – 1842. The fort houses exhibits and a video presentation on the Seminole Indian Wars. Visit the full size replica of Fort Christmas. Seven restored historical homes preserve the ‘Cracker’ architecture of East Orange County. The houses are interpreted to show pioneer life from the 1870s through the 1930s. Key themes are homesteading, cattle, citrus, hunting, fishing and trapping. The Park has three picnic pavilions. There is a playground with swings, slide, a fort looking jungle gym, and an area for small children, as well as a basketball court, tennis court and a small baseball field.
FOOD AND DRINK
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards
Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards opened its doors in February 1989 in Clermont, Florida and sits on a 127-acre estate in gently rolling countryside some 25 miles west of downtown Orlando. This area was once the center of the State’s grape industry. The winery overlooks 80+ acres of planted vineyards, pioneering the production of native muscadine grapes. Complimentary Winery tours and wine tasting are offered 7 days a week.
The Orlando Brewing Company
Orlando Brewing’s taproom is an oasis for locals and beer-loving travelers alike. Our taproom sports 24 taps, most reserved for a fantastic selection of our freshly brewed, organic craft beer. Brewery Tours are FREE, and offered Monday – Saturday at 6 PM.
Although the theme parks are anything but free, did you know that you can enjoy some freebies on theme park property without actually crossing those pricey admission gates? Visit Disney’s Boardwalk for live street entertainers every evening, including jugglers, musicians, comedians, acrobats, and more – as well as great fireworks viewing opportunities! Join Chip and Dale for a singalong at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds at dusk as you roast marshmallows around a campfire before the nightly “movie under the stars”! Disney Springs is home to live street musicians, relaxing boat rides, window shopping, and the LEGO Imagination Center. Take advantage of Walt Disney World’s free transportation system to get to Boardwalk and Fort Wilderness from the Disney Springs parking garage! Of course, if you want to go “next level” with your fun, splurge for a copy of the Hidden Mickeys Guide Book at almost any Walt Disney World Resort gift shop, and discover the underground fandom of Mickey-loving scavenger hunters who have found a fabulous FREE way to put a fresh spin on your Walt Disney World visit.
These are just a very few of the free things you can do in the Orlando area to explore a little differently. If a break from the crowds, chaos and spending sound good to you, consider changing it up a bit and finding new ways to LOVE Orlando! Have you found other freebies to take advantage of? We would love to hear about them!