Outdoor activities in Orlando for seniors
When most people think of Orlando, they think of Disney World and summer vacations for families. But there are plenty of offerings in Orlando for seniors as well.
Nicknamed "The City Beautiful" because of its abundance of rivers, natural parks, recreation centers, trails, nurseries, and wildlife refuges, Orlando truly has something for everyone.
Seniors can find a plethora of activities in Orlando, from bustling crowds and roller coasters to more tranquil pursuits such as museums or art galleries.
Finally, Orlando is home to seven senior community centers that offer various activities and resources to help older adults live fun and active lives.
Work with seniors in Orlando
If you're interested in working with seniors and older adults in the Orlando area, consider becoming a Papa Pal companion caregiver. The role of a Papa Pal varies from day to day. Some Papa Pals lend a hand around the house and help with errands, housekeeping and gardening. Others offer company on a walk around the neighborhood or provide transportation to help seniors and older adults enjoy everything their community has to offer. It’s a great job for friendly people.
Get back to nature with these Orlando Activities for seniors
Orlando’s mild weather throughout winter makes it the perfect place to enjoy outdoor activities in all but the hottest summer months. From browsing nature conservancies to taking in an outdoor film, there’s plenty for seniors to do in Orlando while enjoying the fresh air outside the city.
Lake Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve
A good place to start is one of Orlando’s largest conservation areas, the Lake Tibet-Butler Nature Preserve. Located in Winter Garden, the grounds offer over 430 acres of natural beauty and wildlife.
Enjoy some exotic bird-watching or just go for a shaded stroll and observe the scenery at this expansive natural park.
If you’re looking for more activity in your outdoor adventures, head on out to Wekiva Island.
Located on the Wekiva River in neighboring Longwood, Wekiva Island offers paddle-boarding, canoeing, and hikes along the river. For a more relaxing time, there are many places to listen to live music while enjoying a cocktail or glass of wine. Enjoy an adult beverage with some live music in a cabana, and make sure you visit this Orlando gem.
Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter
Lukas Nursery & Butterfly Encounter is a beloved nature experience that is a home run for the whole family. Located just outside of Orlando in Oviedo, the spotlight of the nursery destination is its butterfly conservatory. Bring family and friends to enjoy the butterflies, along with all the beautiful vegetation Florida has to offer. As a bonus, the nursery also has fun pottery and home décor to spruce up any senior space.
Harry P. Leu Gardens
If butterflies are your thing, you can also spot them at the Harry P. Leu Gardens botanical center, just minutes from downtown Orlando. The 50-acre natural setting is home to more than 15,000 varieties of trees, flowers, and foliage native to Central Florida, as well as separate palm and bamboo gardens and a butterfly conservatory.
Make sure to take time to visit the Leu House Museum for a complimentary tour. The historical building was the home of Harry P. Leu and his wife Mary Jane, donated to the city of Orlando in 1961.
Bok Tower Gardens
Another option to visit is the Bok Tower Gardens or the “Singing Tower"—a one-of-a-kind destination that has been entertaining the masses since it opened in the 1930s.
This 205 ft gothic tower is a marvelous site as the ringing music of the 60-bell carillon echoes in the background. Don’t forget to enjoy the 20-room Mediterranean Mansion known as the Pines Estate and the Preserve Trails when you visit.
The site also offers special events, such as a summer display of hot peppers, weekly yoga classes, and art exhibits.
Fun activities in Orlando for seniors
Orlando is a massive city filled with a wide variety of activities and entertainment for seniors to enjoy any time of the year.
If tacos, yoga, beer, wine, and empanadas sound like your style, it may be worth checking out the Orlando Main Street website for different scheduled activities that rotate annually.
Just outside of Orlando, Downtown Winter Park offers a quaint and historic stroll where you can enjoy a diverse array of delicious restaurants, do some shopping at several boutiques, and finish off with a glass or two of wine from one of many wine-focused bars.
The Wonderful World of Disney
It would be impossible to talk about fun things to do in Orlando without mentioning Disney World or any other of the many theme parks Orlando has to offer.
Offering varying levels of excitement when it comes to ride selection, Disney World has a little something for everyone.
Make sure to plan a trip during a time where there are no student holidays to avoid the crowds and make dinner reservations in advance as the best restaurants tend to fill up quickly.
There is a lot of walking involved, so don’t hesitate to rent an electric wheelchair in the park to make your fun more comfortable.
Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, held annually across the World Showcase, gives seniors in Orlando an opportunity to taste the best cuisine from around the world. The event typically runs through the fall, but for 2021 it starts in July, giving guests plenty of time to sample savory and sweet selections throughout the year.
If you want to enjoy the feeling of Disney with smaller crowds, no roller coasters, and tons of shopping and dining, look no further than Disney Springs.
More than just a place to grab lunch or dinner, Disney Springs offers concert music, a movie theater, bowling, specialty stores, and more.
With scheduled events and large-scale, entertainment-styled restaurants, Disney Springs is a perfect night out.
Senior recreational centers
Looking for fun with a slightly smaller price tag than Disney tickets? Check out the Mayor William Beardall Center or the L. Claudia Allen Center. Both recreation centers provide fun group activities such as bingo, scrabble, field trips, line dancing, tai chi, and yoga (just to name a few). They also have bridge clubs and shuffleboard courts.
If you’re looking for a similar group structure with a bit more of an emphasis on exercise, we suggest visiting the Marks Street Senior Recreation Complex. The complex offers a bit more of a get-up-and-go schedule of classes, including senior cardio kick, strength training, seniorcise, and an overall fitness center membership that delivers a sense of community along with physical fitness.
Seniors in Orlando will find fun for the whole family with a wide choice of outdoor movies. From traditional drive-in movies to Winter Park’s “Popcorn Flicks in the Park,” Orlando seniors and their families can enjoy second-run films suitable for all audiences.
Bring a lawn chair or a beach blanket and watch free flicks brought to you by the City of Winter Park and Enzian, a cinema café, on the second Thursday of every month, depending on the weather.
Serving Central Florida for more than 30 years, Enzian also hosts the Florida Film Festival and regularly plays first-run independent features in its single-screen cinema, providing the perfect venue for rainy days or hot weather.
Restaurants and bars in Orlando for seniors
Orlando is an eclectic city, which is reflected in its bar and restaurant scene. No matter your taste for food or atmosphere, you will be able to find both social and culinary activities in Orlando for seniors inside and outside the city limits. Here are a few recommendations:
Orlando's Farmer's Market
The Lake Eola Farmer’s Market is known as “Orlando’s Farmers Market” and offers freshly made foods, unique local vendors, beautiful picnic scenery, and a pet-friendly environment
Enjoy a fresh-made crepe or fruit smoothie as you walk along the lake, enjoying a variety of live music
Baldwin Park offers a few upscale options with the feel of your private mini-city.
Whether you’re in the mood for sushi, Mexican, or a contemporary American restaurant, Baldwin Park has you covered. The Bulla Gastrobar is a Tapas Bar with small plate options, a full dinner selection, and a delicious brunch menu with the option of bottomless mimosas or sangria. The Osprey is a renowned seafood restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining. Sixty Vines wine bar offers specialty, upscale pizzas, small plates, and New American selections.
With so many great places to eat, walk, or shop, Baldwin Park provides a beautiful and less crowded setting than downtown Orlando to enjoy a date night or simply have some fun walking around.
Cultural activities in Orlando for seniors
In addition to theme parks, shopping, and fabulous dining, Orlando offers plenty of cultural activities to enjoy.
See Art Orlando
See Art Orlando, or SAO, is a non-profit organization that sponsors local artists and enables them to contribute to the community. Centered around Lake Eola in downtown Orlando, SAO showcases eight permanent contemporary public sculptures, with a ninth in nearby Heritage Square.
Located in Lakeland, the Polk Theater is an integral part of Central Florida’s history. Built in 1928, the Polk Theater has been a venue for music, film, and theater ever since. The theater regularly showcases classic films and live events, such as performances by the Russian Ballet Orlando.
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art
The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park houses the world’s largest collection of works from Louis Comfort Tiffany. Between the art glass, beautiful pottery, and paintings, this historic museum is a must-see. The venue offers a senior discount, making it one of the best and most affordable things to do in Orlando for seniors.
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
If you enjoy outer space and science more than art, it may be worth the trip to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, located in Cape Canaveral, about one hour from the city of Orlando.
The Visitor Complex is a largely outdoor exhibit, so expect lots of walking from building to building to see the various exhibits, including the Hubble Space Telescope Theater, and the NASA space shuttle Atlantis, a rich part of our nation’s spaceflight history.
The Lake Wales Art Council
The Lake Wales Art Council was founded in 1972 to preserve and promote art within the community. The council hosts many annual events, such as the Sidewalk Art Show, to fuel the fire of creative culture with an emphasis on bettering the community.
Visit their beautiful headquarters, which is just over an hour from Orlando and is situated in a historic Catholic Church built in 1927.
Become a Papa Pal companion caregiver
If helping seniors and older adults to enjoy some of these fun places sounds good to you, consider becoming a Papa Pal.