Blake Walsh

15 Best Things to Do in Winter Haven, FL With Kids

  • Published 2022/10/09

If you want to have a fun-filled vacation with the kids, check out Winter Haven in Polk County, Florida.

The city, which sprawls over 40 square miles between Tampa and Orlando, was incorporated in 1911 and is known as the Chain of Lakes City.

Hence, Winter Haven is packed with water-based recreational activities for travelers and visitors as it encompasses numerous lakes and waterfront parks.

There are establishments that offer tours of the city’s lakes.

It is also the site of LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, which boasts a 150-acre theme park and many other attractions waiting for kids and kids at heart to explore.

There is also a renowned theater, a game center, an old-school ice cream shop, and a ski show to catch to complete the city experience.

Here are the best things to do in Winter Haven, Florida, with kids:

Be Amused at LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park

Scenic view of LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park

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You and your family will never run out of fun things to do during your visit to LEGOLAND® Florida Resort along LEGOLAND Way.

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort features three parks providing different scenes and exhilarating adventures for visitors of all ages.

Among these is LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park, where families can try several amusement rides, shows, and attractions based on well-known LEGO® brands and characters.

Scenic view of LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park

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You can choose from more than 50 rides, from roller coasters to trains to interactive adventures.

Nestled also in the park is the historical and magnificent Cypress Gardens, a theme park that was a famed tourist attraction in Florida.

Standing tall among the exotic plants from all over the world is a giant Banyan tree planted in 1939.

Take time to look around and appreciate the beauty of the gardens that were preserved through time.

Scenic view of LEGOLAND® Florida Theme Park

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Climb, Run, and Splash around at Trailhead Park

The upgraded Trailhead Park along Avenue G Northwest is one of the city’s most visited neighborhood and community parks.

Kids will have a great time running around its wide shaded playground with several climbing boulders, swings, slides, merry-go-round, and more.

Inclusive and interactive features are installed to accommodate children of every age and ability.

After climbing, running, and jumping, kids can cool off at the splash pad next to the playground.

The Splash Pad at Trailhead Park has a non-skid rubberized tile surface to reduce incidents of slips and falls.

Families can stay and rest at the shaded picnic table areas, and a bathroom is also available.

Make It Ice Cream Day at Andy’s Igloo & Drive-In Restaurant

Treat the kids with ice cream at Andy’s Igloo & Drive-In Restaurant on 3rd Street Southwest.

It began as a small ice cream parlor in 1951.

This is why customers feel like they’re being transported back in time due to the establishment’s atmosphere and old-school service.

Nowadays, Andy’s Igloo & Drive-In Restaurant also serves homemade sherbets, sundaes, and milkshakes of different flavors.

You can also feast in the retro-style restaurant that serves mouth-watering burgers, barbecues, and steaks.

Seafood baskets and other specialty dishes are also available to satisfy your cravings.

Connect with Nature at Lake Hartridge Nature Park

Bring yourself closer to nature at Lake Hartridge Nature Park, a place to do various recreational activities on Havendale Boulevard northwest.

Take a leisurely walk or ride a bike along the paved trail winding through the park.

The place has several picnic areas where you can share a basket of food and a large playground where kids can stay active.

There are spots for wildlife observation and educational signs on the local ecosystem.

You can also find a fishing pier, a boat ramp, and parking spaces for trailers at Lake Hartridge Nature Park.

Spark Creativity and Imagination at LEGOLAND® Hotel

Front view of LEGOLAND® Hotel

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Located at the resort’s main entrance, LEGOLAND® Hotel has several themed rooms available for booking.

Every room features a separate sleeping area for kids, and they can participate in a scavenger hunt activity with prizes.

Front view of LEGOLAND® Hotel

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Other perks are the nightly entertainment, creative workshops, heated swimming pool, and play areas.

Adults can make the most of their stay by having cocktails and beer at Skyline Lounge.

Behind LEGOLAND® Hotel, you will find Florida’s Wild Side Mini Golf, which has nine holes, each linked to LEGO models and facts.

Front view of LEGOLAND® Hotel

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Book a Tour at The Living Water Boat Cruises

Aside from LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, visitors can try other family-friendly attractions outdoors.

One is to navigate several of Winter Haven’s lakes by booking a tour with The Living Water Boat Cruises.

Its owner previously worked as a tour guide operator for Cypress Gardens.

The Living Water Boat Cruises offers different kinds of tours, including the sunset cruise, sunrise cruise, and day tour with lunch, to introduce you to the Chain of Lakes’ history and beauty.

There’s also a one-hour tour for groups bringing small children.

During the tour, families will be treated to picturesque views of the lake and can catch sight of the local wildlife, such as turtles, eagles, and alligators.

Experience Lakeside Dining at Harborside

Most of The Living Water Boat Cruises’ journeys depart from Harborside, a well-known restaurant on the shores of Lake Shipp.

Harborside takes pride in its premier waterfront dining experience that has become a local favorite for over two decades.

A wide dock area, a horseshoe-shaped bar, and rustic tiles make up the restaurant’s nautical theme.

Customers can order various dishes featuring steaks and ribs, pasta and chicken, seafood, and more, giving a medley of different flavors and textures.

Steamed snow crab, baked scallops, grilled shrimp, and stuffed flounder headline Harborside’s main course menu.

Scrumptious meals await kids, such as fried shrimp, chicken tenders, pasta, and pizza.

The dining experience is made extra special by the stunning views of the lake and the Florida sunshine.

Turn Your Game Mode on at Cypress Lanes

Bond and have fun with the family over games at Cypress Lanes along Dundee Road.

Engage in a bowling match at Cypress Lanes, which has over 40 lanes and affordable walk-in packages.

It also houses a vibrant Game Zone with over 70 exciting arcade games, including reinvented classics and modern virtual reality.

For the ultimate gaming experience, check out its dual-story laser tag arena that features action-packed storylines and cutting-edge technology.

Each session can accommodate up to 16 players.

If you get tired and hungry, you can order snacks and drinks from its sandwiches, nachos, burgers, and pizza menu.

Kiddie meals are also served, which all include soda and fries.

In the establishment’s bar, you can enjoy a sip from its wide selection of wine, cocktails, and beer.

Cool off at LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat

View of LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat

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If you are looking for a location with beach vibes, check in at LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat.

This lakefront spot has over 80 themed bungalows with 166 separate rooms.

As the kids burn energy in the outdoor play areas, parents can soak in the giant resort pool while gazing at the majestic views of Lake Dexter.

View of LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat

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Close to the pool is a sandy area to ignite kids’ imagination by building sandcastles and more.

At LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat, families will feast with the breakfast buffet during every stay, and adults can enjoy a full-size bar serving fun cocktails.

View of LEGOLAND® Beach Retreat

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See a Great Show at Theatre Winter Haven

Along Cypress Gardens Boulevard, you will find Theatre Winter Haven, recognized as one of the best community theaters in America.

Established in 1970, it serves as the cultural arts arm of the city.

It is on a mission to inspire, challenge, entertain, and educate the community through theater performances.

Expand the little ones’ horizons, imagination, and creativity by catching performances and musical productions in the theater.

Theatre Winter Haven also offers acting classes, dance workshops, voice lessons, and more to aspiring young actors.

Observe Wildlife at South Lake Howard Nature Park

South Lake Howard Nature Park is a famous outdoor destination, thanks to its paved trails that twist through the park, perfect for walking, biking, and jogging.

Some parts of the trails are shaded by the surrounding lush trees, while in others, you will enjoy the sun’s warmth.

Before the area was transformed for recreation, it was originally intended to treat the stormwater before reaching Lake Howard.

This urban refuge is a great place for the young ones to observe wildlife and gaze at the lake’s beauty by crossing the boardwalk that is nearly 1,000 feet.

There are educational signs to provide information too regarding the local ecosystem.

Other amenities in South Lake Howard Nature Park include picnic areas, pavilions, water fountains, and a fishing pier.

You can find this attraction on Lake Howard Drive Southwest.

Splash and Slide at LEGOLAND® Florida Water Park

Stay cool and splash around at LEGOLAND® Florida Water Park.

Several water-themed LEGO® structures in the play area will keep the children busy, fascinated, and entertained.

They will find several slides, climbing areas, and water spouts to stay active and engaged.

At the wave pool, visitors of all ages can catch great big waves as they take a dip in the waters.

To further elevate your LEGOLAND® Florida Water Park experience, you can also imagine, build, and race your own watercraft made of LEGO® bricks.

Have an Oinktastic Time at Peppa Pig Theme Park

Embark on an adventure with your little ones at Peppa Pig Theme Park, an attraction in Central Florida just beside LEGOLAND® Florida Resort.

Designed for preschoolers, this theme park has a wide variety of rides, interactive playscapes, and trails to navigate.

As it is inspired by the world of Peppa Pig, one of its highlights is the “Muddy Puddles” Splash Pad with fountains and slides—except these “muddy puddles” are cleaner.

You and the kids can also soar high in the sky by taking the family-friendly carousel ride, where you can catch an outstanding aerial view of Peppa Pig Theme Park.

You can also enjoy a rest in the indoor cinema while watching an episode of the famous cartoon.

Go on a Treasure Hunt at LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel

The LEGOLAND® experience is not complete without booking a room in the hotels on site.

These hotels don’t only provide accommodation—delightful, exciting, immersive activities and games also await you.

Grab the opportunity to live like a pirate by stepping inside LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel, which opened in 2020 and has 150 rooms.

Each room at LEGOLAND® Pirate Island Hotel features separate spaces dedicated and designed for kids and adults.

Children can play around, watch their favorite movies, and sleep on bunk beds in the kids’ space.

Families will have access to an in-room treasure hunt with LEGO treasure, family-style breakfast, nightly kid’s pirate entertainment, and more.

You can also set sail in the heated resort-style pool or enjoy the day in the pirate-themed restaurant and bar.

Catch a Show by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team

With the abundance of lakes in the city, you can try a wide variety of water activities such as kayaking, wakeboarding, and its much-celebrated sport of water skiing.

If you just want to hang around, you can catch a ski show by the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team on Lake Silver.

Former water skiers of the famed Cypress Gardens Theme Park established this group to continuously provide world-class shows to the public.

The team also envisions sharing their skills and showing skiing legacy to the next generation.

Get ready to be dazzled by the team’s ski tricks, human pyramid formations, and more.

Kids will especially be amazed to see a show on water performed by both beginner and professional skiers.

Performances are hosted at Martin Luther King Park, home to the Cypress Gardens Water Ski Team.

Final Thoughts

Winter Haven has a lot of recreational activities in store to keep families and kids entertained during their stay at the Chain of Lakes City.

Just at LEGOLAND® Florida Resort, kids will have an adventure of a lifetime, from the immersive theme parks to the interactive hotels made especially for the young ones on site.

There are establishments that ignite imagination, creativity, and passion while providing entertainment at the same time, such as Cypress Lanes and Theatre Winter Haven.

Lastly, there are numerous nature parks where families can simply relax, stroll peacefully, observe wildlife, and create unforgettable memories over a basket of food.

What are you waiting for?

Get your bags ready and try the best things to do in Winter Haven, Florida with kids.

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