Let’s Go Outside! Take Playtime to the Great Outdoors This Winter

All-Ages Outdoor Activities and Attractions Making the Most of Florida’s Winter

With blankets of snow and below-zero temperatures sprawling across the country, even the Sunshine State has felt this winter’s chill. But, a drop in degrees doesn’t mark the end of family fun in the sun. In fact, the season’s cool days are the perfect time to get outside and get exploring.

From wildlife encounters to roadside attractions, here’s where kids can be kids even when it gets cold outside.

Top Kid-Friendly Activities for Outdoor Winter Fun in Florida

Prowl with the Big Cats at Catty Shack Ranch

Come face to face with Florida’s fiercest felines. Giving rescued animals a loving, forever home, Jacksonville’s Catty Shack Ranch Wildlife Sanctuary houses over two dozen rescued tigers, lions, cougars, leopards, bobcats, lynx, coatimundis, foxes and even a few horses. And, with cooler temperatures making the sanctuary’s wild residents more active, winter is the perfect time to explore the grounds. Get to know the big cats on an afternoon tour or visit after dark for feeding time, when the animals devour hundreds of pounds of meat in minutes!

Pick Fresh Fruit at a Florida Citrus Grove

No family breakfast is complete without a glass of freshly squeezed juice. And, it doesn’t get much fresher than fruit picked right from the tree. Explore acres and acres of groves and pick your own oranges, grapefruits, tangelos and more at Showcase of Citrus, just outside Orlando. Several varieties of citrus are at season’s peak during the winter months, so fill up your basket and try them all.

Visit the Manatees at Blue Spring State Park

As ocean temperatures drop, Florida’s natural springs become a wildlife lover’s dream come true with hundreds of manatees making these crystal clear waters their home for the winter. When it comes to seeing sea cows, there’s no competition—Blue Spring State Park is the place to go. At the height of manatee season, which runs from mid-November through March, you’ll be able to spot upwards of 300 animals on any given day. And, with manatees often traveling to the springs with their young offspring, this is a true family-friendly affair, on land and off.

More Cold-Weather Outdoor Activities for Kids

  • Plan a scavenger hunt — Hide clues throughout your backyard or neighborhood park and send your kids on an adventure.
  • Camp in the backyard — Spend a night under the stars, minus any travel time. Don’t forget the s’mores!
  • Collect shells at the beach — You don’t have to wait until summer to head for the shore. Take the kids for a stroll on the sand and add a few new shells to your collection.
  • Explore a new biking trail — With plenty of mostly flat, paved trails throughout Florida, the whole family can enjoy an afternoon ride.
  • Visit a botanical garden — Stop and smell the flowers at your local garden grounds.
  • Go mini-golfing — Practice your short-game while spending quality time with the kids.

What are your favorite ways to enjoy the great outdoors when temperatures drop? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #EcotourismFL.