Kid-Friendly Fun in Orlando

By: Jenny Lee Allen

Good times flow freely at the Orlando-area resort Liki Tiki Village.

Children and adults zip down water slides and dance around interactive spray jets. They splash and swim around the lagoon-style pool, which is playfully adorned with tropical tiki huts and masks. Laughter flows as freely as the water.

And they haven't even hit Orlando's theme parks yet.

Liki Tiki Village, just west of Orlando, is more than just a place to sleep – it's part of the vacation experience. With a 220,000-gallon water park and a host of amenities, this family-oriented resort takes fun to the next level. Here, you can expect comfortable accommodations and tons of kid-beloved activities.

There's so much to do that you'll never have to leave the property, but you'll still want to go exploring. The resort is conveniently located in the heart of the Orlando area, meaning that Walt Disney World Resort, Universal Studios Orlando, SeaWorld and many other major attractions are just minutes away.

Tropical Vibes

The moment I stepped foot on the 64-acre gated resort, I felt like I was in the tropics. In the lobby, a man in a Hawaiian shirt strummed a ukulele and sang a sweet version of "Somewhere Over the Rainbow." Children pressed their noses to a gigantic saltwater aquarium, where a clown fish nicknamed – what else? – "Nemo" darted around the tank.

Liki Tiki Village is practically overflowing with family appeal. Each of the one-, two- and three-bedroom villas features a spacious living room, fully equipped kitchen and a washer and dryer. Stainless steel grills and gazebos are available for those ever-popular afternoon BBQs.

After checking out the accommodations first-hand, I strolled over to the harbor area, where guests fished for bass and played miniature golf. A family of ducks waddled by.

Next stop: Liki Tiki Lagoon Water Adventure, a water park in the hub of the resort with five waterslides, a wave pool, an erupting volcano and lifeguards on duty.

Water Adventures and Themed Fun

Welcome to kid paradise. At the top of a slide, a boy in bright red swimming trunks waved to his family before racing down a slide, while others participated in a spirited game of water volleyball. The blender was whirring at the poolside restaurant and bar Shipwreck Sally's. Parents sipped frozen beverages and happily watched their children.

In another area of the pool, a freckle-faced girl in a pink bathing suit scrunched up her nose as she studied her options for a temporary tattoo. "I want that one!" she said finally, pointing to a small butterfly. Other on-site activities include scavenger hunts, hula-hoop contests and Kid's Kamp Tuesday, where children join the activities staff for treasure hunts and field events, giving parents a little free time of their own.

The resort hosts dinner events, including Liki Tiki Luaus on Thursdays. Or hop in the minivan and try local favorite Bruno's Italian Restaurant, where a plate of spaghetti and meatballs will leave any tummy full.

For something sweet, check out Rainforest Café, a Downtown Disney restaurant that features lush vegetation, waterfalls and animatronic animals. Don't miss the Sparkling Volcano dessert, a rich brownie topped with vanilla ice cream, fresh whipped cream and caramel and chocolate sauces.

Central Florida's Famous Attractions

The Orlando area is chock full of attractions, and Liki Tiki isn't far from any of them. Check out such attractions as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios and SeaWorld. Or check out the lesser-known – but equally cool – places nearby like the Green Meadows Petting Farm in Kissimmee, where children ride ponies, take tractor-drawn hayrides and even milk cows.

Other neat spots include WonderWorks, a hands-on amusement park for the mind with more than 100 interactive exhibits to explore, and Gatorland, where visitors can feed the alligators.

Golf enthusiasts play at Orange County National Golf Course, Highland Reserve or Mystic Dunes. If shopping is your pastime, there are more than 150 stores at Orlando Premium Outlets - Vineland Ave. The area is also home to one of central Florida's largest malls, the Mall at Millenia.

With so much to do at Liki Tiki and in the Orlando area, families can expect the fun to keep flowing with every visit.

Sponsored listings by VISIT FLORIDA Partners

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