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How To Experience Central Florida Attractions Without Emptying Your Wallet
by Christine OKelly

Airfare, gasoline, and hotel fares are enough to empty your wallet before you even get started on your vacation. Thankfully, there are many fun things to do in Central Florida that are free, or less than $10, to make your vacation more enjoyable and affordable. Your vacation will be much less stressful if you don't have to run to the ATM to pay for your family's everyday activities.

Keep Your Wallet in Your Pocket: Enjoy Free Central Florida Attractions

Nature lovers will find the many free Central Florida attractions particularly appealing. The Circle B Bar Reserve and Polk's Nature Discovery Center is an immense 1,297-acre protected landscape with breathtaking scenery from oak forests to freshwater marshes and a gorgeous lake shore. The wildlife is just as diverse, ranging from bald eagles to an aquarium at the Nature Discovery Center.

In addition to Circle B Bar Reserve, families visiting the area can enjoy free visits to Florida's Natural Grove House (open seasonally October - May). Here, they'll learn about the Sunshine state's famous orange juice, including sampling and an assortment of exhibits.

For other fun, free, outdoor experiences, consider Hollis Garden with its more than 10,000 flowers and shrubbery and Barnett Family Park, which allows visitors to enjoy beautiful sculptures and hand-cut glass tiles among its grounds. The Homeland Heritage Park is another unique, free park where 19th century farmhouses stand. For a more active family, the Trek Ten Trails program showcases many Central Florida attractions for hikers and naturalists alike.

More Free Indoor Activities To Enjoy

With more than 300 days of sunshine, vacationers visiting the area would think they would spend their entire vacation outdoors. Yet, there are many free vacation activities for the rare rainy day or for families simply looking to get out of the sun for a bit. The Chalet Suzanne Restaurant and Country Inn features a free soup cannery tour for the famous "Moon Soup" that took a trip on the Apollo missions. Families can enjoy another free, indoor experience by exploring the peerless architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright while touring his legacy in the buildings of Florida Southern College.

For an out-of-the-way, free experience try Spook Hill. Kids will giggle in wonder while your car inexplicably seems to roll uphill! Another free activity is Davidson of Dundee, one of the sweetest of Central Florida's attractions. Here, you and your family can try the best paddle made marmalade that is so good it is shipped across the US. Finally, live history and trace your own family's history for free at Polk County Historical Museum & Genealogical Library, one of the largest of its kind in the southeast.

Just Bring A Hamilton - Attractions That Are $10 Or Less

After enjoying all of Central Florida's attractions that are free, you can bring along ten dollars or less and continue your fun. For only $4, your entire family can enjoy Lake Kissimmee State Park, a sprawling 5,930-acre former Native American land that offers every outdoor activity a person could want, including hiking, fishing, bird watching and camping. Don't leave without stopping at the Cow Camp (open weekends October-April), a land stuck in 1876.

Also, before you've had your fill of the great outdoors, be sure to stop by the Bok Tower Gardens, a national landmark where you will find a soaring bell tower, historic gardens, and the Blue Palmetto Cafe. Another low cost, family-friendly activity is Explorations V Children's Museum where children can romp through edutainment exhibits featuring art, science, math, and world cultures. Lastly, the Florida Air Museum is always a family favorite destination. Here, you can re-live the 100-year history of human flight.

With such a wide variety of free and low cost attractions, it is no wonder that Central Florida is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world.

About the Author

Christine O'Kelly is an author for Polk County Visitor's and Convention Bureau, an organization offering some of the best things to do in Central Florida. Tourists and residents of Florida are sure to find Central Florida attractions that are fun and affordable for the entire family.