1. Fort Christmas Historical Park. This full-scale replica of the historical Fort Christmas is a free educational adventure worth visiting. Then original Fort was built on December 25, 1837 by volunteer soldiers in the Second Seminole War. The site includes a replica of the original fort, several homes, and a school house as well as an extensive museum. There's also free access to a baseball field, so bring some bats, ball, and gloves and make your visit even longer with a game of America's favorite pastime.
2. Old Town. For a slice of Americana and a trip back in time, visit Old Town. This walking district is free to visit and includes shops, restaurants, and a weekly series of car cruises featuring muscle cars and classic cars of all kinds. There's also free live music four nights of the week playing classic tunes from the 1950s through the 1980s. This attraction is a fun addition to any school trip itinerary.
3. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. This museum is always free to students. It features over 5,000 works of art including artists such as Matisse and Picasso. In addition to European Old Masters, they have a number of modern and contemporary art pieces. The museum is located on the Rollins College campus and also has free exhibits at Alford Inn near campus.
4. Black Hammock Adventures Wildlife Exhibit. You won't soon forget your encounter with Hammy - a 12 foot gator you'll have the pleasure of meeting at this wildlife exhibit. Hammy is just one of several gators you have the opportunity to see. A pair of blue and gold macaws and a ball python are also up for company. This attraction offers other paid events such as airboat and pontoon rides, but you can visit the wildlife exhibit for free.
5. Kraft Azalea Gardens. After the crazy adventures of a typical student trip, you may be looking for some well-earned downtime. For a peaceful afternoon of relaxing views and quiet meditation, visit the "secret garden" of Winter Park. The park offers over 5 acres of public garden for students to leisurely explore. Between cypress trees, brick paths, and Exedra columns, it'll be hard not to fall in love with this charming hidden gem.
6. Lake Eola Park. For a relaxing but fun afternoon, take a casual stroll or bike ride around beautiful Lake Eola located in the heart of Orlando. The surrounding park includes a beautiful fountain, opportunities for outdoor recreational activities, and plenty of space to explore. The park is the center of downtown Orlando and therefore is surrounded by other downtown amenities such as shops and restaurants.
7. Winter Park Farmer's Market. Central Florida is teeming with fresh produce and native plants. Even more awesome is the opportunity to visit the top plant and produce market in all of central Florida during your student trip to Orlando. Winter Park's famous Farmer's Market is open year round every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The main building was converted building from an old train depot and is a historical landmark in and of itself. It maintains the original brick walls and sliding doors. You'll definitely enjoy the time you spend perusing the vast selection of produce, plants, baked goods, and more.
8. Winter Park History Museum. You can enjoy learning about the rich history of Winter Park by taking advantage of its free history museum. The charming museum is an interesting way to spend a few hours of your student trip. The museum has also created a self-guided walking tour that takes you through the Winter Park community as it highlights the historic buildings. There are 20 primary stops on the tour and an additional four stops for the young, ambitious walker. The museum is located in Winter Park's Farmer's Market which means you can enjoy two free attractions at the same time!
9. The Arboretum. Located at University of Central Florida, the main goal of the Arboretum is to represent the large array of Florida-native plant species. It includes 600 plant species altogether throughout its 80 acres. In its different habitats, you'll encounter a pond pine community, an ephemeral pond, and a sand scrub among other interesting habitats. You can explore the Arboretum through self-guided tour but why not take advantage of the free guided tour available for groups? While this is primarily an educational stop, there are also opportunities for recreation through disc golf and geocaching.
10. The Hurston. Also known as Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, the museum exclusively features works from authors and artists of African descent making it a great location to learn about the rich diversity of American history. Hurston's literary classic "Their Eyes Were Watching God," is a staple in many high school English classrooms. A visit to this museum will create connections for students that can bring history and lessons to life. Admission is free, but there is also the opportunity to pay for a guided group tour.