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Outdoor Adventures

Get outside this fall and winter with these ideas for safe, family-friendly activities.

With the weather turning cool and the coronavirus pandemic still a concern, families are looking for ways to enjoy the fall and winter season safely. Because social distancing is best achieved in the open air, we’ve rounded up a list of some of the best places around town to engage in outdoor activities with the family.

Bill Frederick Park at Turkey Lake
One-hundred and eighty-three acres of serene nature sits ready to be explored at this Orlando park. Cast a line at Turkey Lake’s fishing pier or push off on a boat, kayak or canoe at the boat dock for some on-the-water fun. Play the disc golf course or take the kids to the working animal farm—there’s just so many options for family fun at this park.

Mount Dora
If you’re looking to get out of town for a bit, a day trip to Mount Dora is an attractive option. Visit on a Sunday morning and stroll through the city’s open-air farmers market at Sunset Park in the historic downtown area. Or rent a boat at the Mt. Dora Boating Center & Marina and tour the Harris Chain of Lakes. If you’re into antiquing, Renningers’ outdoor flea market is open every Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There’s plenty to do in Sanford this fall and winter. Head to the Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens to monkey around with the primates, feed the barnyard animals and walk through the butterfly garden. Afterwards, visit the downtown area for outdoor dining and then stride along the Sanford Riverwalk.

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts has plans in the works for outdoor, socially-distanced concerts and shows to be commenced right outside the theater’s doors on Seneff Arts Plaza. The arts center hopes to showcase a diverse mix of performances that people can enjoy while distanced apart from others in pods that are five by seven feet and can accommodate up to five guests. As of press time, the project is expected to launch its first event in December.

Harry P. Leu Gardens
Orlando’s premier 50-acre botanical oasis offers breathing space in the middle of the city. The landscaped grounds have shaded paths that will bring you through gardens of tropical and semi-tropical plants. Harry P. Leu Gardens also hosts regular outdoor movie nights with the next showing slated for Nov. 6.

Wekiwa Springs
Bring a picnic basket and spread a blanket at the emerald-colored springs where you can have lunch with the family while taking in all the natural beauty. The springs are 72 degrees year-round, so if it’s a sunny day, you might want to wade in. However, sun or no sun, hiking, kayaking, birding, biking and camping are other available activities.

West Orange Trail
Connecting Winter Garden and Apopka, this trail is popular with residents and visitors. The pathway is paved and perfect for cycling, jogging, skating and skateboarding or just for a walk to soak up the sunshine. Bike rentals are available at the Killarney Station in Oakland or at Wheel Works in Downtown Winter Garden.

Wild Florida
The Drive-Thru Safari at this wildlife adventure park has been a hit with visitors since the coronavirus pandemic arrived in Central Florida. On your trip through the wilderness, you’ll be able to view the many native and exotic animals who roam freely through the park including giraffes, zebras, American bison, mouflon sheep and more, all without having to exit your vehicle. After your safari, stop off at the Gator Park where you can meet the resident heavyweight alligator, Crusher, and all his scaly friends.

This article originally appeared in Orlando Family Magazine’s November 2020 issue.