We absolutely love the Orlando Science Center. It is located downtown in a central location and easy to get to from many parts of the Orlando area. We discovered it prior to our official move to Florida; we used to visit Orlando for a few weeks in the winter each year after our girls were born and we fell in love with the center/children’s museum that offered both learning adventures and play fun for kids.
The museum recently when through a renovation and now features a clean, modern lobby and entrance area. There is windowed sky bridge connecting the lobby and entrance to the neighboring parking garage. All kids, my own included, love to run down this carpeted hall which is bathed in light.
There is a really cool science store in the museum off the lobby; here you can find all sorts of science themed gear, from “nerdy” humorous t shirts to games. There is a wide selection of learning games for kids here as well.
There are 4 floors to the museum and so much to see. There is a massive two story CineDome theatre (think IMAX) which plays complimentary science films (approximately 45 minutes) throughout the day which are kid friendly. There is also a 2D and 3D Digital Adventure Theatre which plays unique content as well as current Hollywood films in the evenings!
The science center features traveling exhibits throughout the year. Usually the exhibits last from 4-5 months and most of the time they are children’s exhibits. In the past couple of years we enjoyed a Dora the Explorer exhibit as well as Sesame Street Human Body exhibits and one themed on Curious George. Each one is a totally interactive play space with interactive elements both for kids and adults. This January the center debuted the Wizard of Oz!
Nearby the traveling exhibitions there is an area for younger children with planes, trains and automobiles theme. Both of my girls love playing here.
On the 4th floor there is an area called Dino Digs. Dinosaur skeletons and a huge dinosaur digging exhibits are the highlights here along with the Jurassic Ridge digging activity where the children get to simulate excavation of fossils.
Next to Dino Digs is another large area where you’ll find Dr. Dare’s Laboratory. This lab features a variety of experiments that the whole family can enjoy with the help of the lab assistant. During our visit there were 6 stations set up in the lab; we only had time to complete two of the projects but both girls were able to follow along and participate equally.
Nearby, is my daughters’ favorite item: the news desk! There is a real green screen with teleprompter and kids are able to read the weather report, featured on screen in authentic fashion.
On the first floor is the Kids Town area and the Nature Works. Kids Town has several play areas including a real tree house with tunnels.
There is an area where children can pretend to work on in an orange grove that my kids could spend ridiculous amounts of time in; every time we visit I have to drag them away….
Kids town also features a water play exhibit and a small, toddler friendly area with a play kitchen and building blocks.
At certain times of the day museum staff also will offer unique crafts for the entire family to enjoy together.
In Nature Works you can find a freshwater exhibit with turtles and alligators, a small aquarium and reptiles. There are also exhibits about Florida agriculture and geology.
If you are planning a visit to Orlando on vacation the Orlando Science Center is a MUST SEE! While I love the amusement parks that Orlando has to offer, I love that there are plenty of other options to enjoy as a family if you want a change of pace on your vacation. A day spent at the science center is the perfect remedy for burnt out kids and offers a respite from the Florida sun during the hot months. Entrance prices are $20 for adults and $14 for children 3 and up; prices include all exhibits AND tickets to a CineDome film. Click here for more information.
Have any of you been able to visit the Orlando Science Center? If so, what was your family’s favorite exhibit there?