two young boys look at birds of prey animal exhibit in orlando
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How to Get FREE Activities for Kids Through Orange County Library’s Local Wanderer Program

If you haven’t considered signing up for a local library card through the Orange County Library System, it’s time to get one. Growing up, I remember my mom always taking me around to the library in Dr. Phillips, back when the ye old card file system still existed and the spines of every book had numbers to match. Now, of course it’s wildly different with the emergence of things like, you know, the internet.

Nonetheless, I’m here to enlighten my fellow Orange County residents on how amazing joining your local library can be, specifically with their Local Wanderer Program

In its simplest explanation, the “Local Wanderer” program gets you free admission to numerous arts organizations, gardens, museums, and even the zoo around town. But you’ve got to know the facts to get the tickets. 

In this post, I will share what organizations participate in the Orange County Library’s Local Wanderer Program, and how to take advantage of your free tickets!

Which Organizations Participate in 2024

Mennello Museum of American Art Image by Terri Peters

By the way, I encourage you to use the Local Wanderer program to check off some great things to do this summer with your kids.

Other Organizations Listed

These organizations show up on the “Register for a Pass” list but are not listed as one of the primary participating organizations.

How Do You Register For a Pass?

Head to the Request Passes website to view available slots for certain dates and locations. In my searches, I find they are almost all booked (for the top destinations) but many of the smaller museums are not. 

Before selecting ‘Request Pass’ for an available slot, click on the link for the location information. It will tell you how many people you can get free admission for, and how long you have to use the pass.

In many instances, you can reserve the pass and then use it within 14 days of the date chosen. This is great if you had plans to visit the Railroad Museum, then your kiddo decided to nap the day away. You can plan and prepare around your schedule, once you’ve snagged the passes.

Also, you can learn about the museum offerings in the same manner, so click around and discover what Orlando has to offer!

Morse Museum in Winter Park image by Maria DiCicco

Pro tip: book as far in advance as possible and keep in mind you may only reserve ONCE per venue/organization per calendar year.

For instance, you can visit Cinderella at CFCArts this month, but next month you’re out of luck on freebies from CFCarts and have to wait until next year. (Don’t worry though, their tickets are extremely affordable anyway!).

Central Florida Community Arts Playbill held in front of stage
Central Florida Community Arts Cheap Shows with Kids Dani Meyering

Organization Details

With numerous art and history museums on the list, research in advance which exhibits younger kids may enjoy. I know I always worry about my kid running around the stained glass museum at the Morse, so similarly you’ll want to understand where kids are more likely to enjoy their time (and you, yours). 

The Orlando Museum of Art, conveniently on the list, has many family art opportunities available, so this could be worth looking into once you have gotten your pass. Some of these opportunities include docent-led family highlight tours, a special “stroller tours” option for families with a lot in tow, a number of workshops, and other art adventures.

For some of theater productions, individual shows will be listed on the “Request a Pass” page. For instance, at time of writing the list displayed offerings for Youth Troupe Programs “The Giver” and “Cinderella” from CFCarts, as well as  “Giraffes Can’t Dance” and “The Lightning Thief” from the Orlando Family Stage.

The Local Wander pass offers an incredible round-up of local events, organizations, and educational destinations fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Other Amazing Ways to Leverage Your Orange County Library Card

No matter the location or branch near you, with their online calendar of events tool you can discover countless kids’ art parties, education, cooking workshops, and fun family events near you. 

I’ve already signed up my daughter for a fun Pokemon Patisserie class and a Paint Party.

Beyond the classes, rent out books, a great selection of family and children’s DVDs, CDs, magazines, or just head to the library for some quiet reading time with your littles without checking anything out.

You will also find free activities to take home, calendars for the monthly events, and more. I brought home a super cute packet for making a dinosaur egg (dinos are this month’s theme), and it also included a dino crossword, dino puzzles, and a reading activity.

Whatever you decide, leverage your library card and fill up your kid’s social calendar with their many FREE things to do with kids right here in Orange County.

author avatar
Maria DiCicco
Globetrotting since 1995, Maria is a daughter, girl-mom and wife to a Spaniard. She is a karaoke wunderkind, natural born storyteller and creative writer. She’s a wine and gin enthusiast and charcuterie builder extraordinaire. Seeking to inspire others to “Travel More”, she shares travel advice, destination spotlights and more at her site