The Orlando Science Center offers hands-on, interactive exhibits for families and combine learning with fun. Permanent exhibits at the museum include Nature Works, an up-close look at reptiles, amphibians and habitats native to Florida. Children can get hands-on with snakes, turtles and others as they learn about Florida’s mangrove swamps, salt marshes and coral reefs. The exhibit explores the interaction between living and non-living things.
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In DinoDigs visitors unearth replica fossils of dinosaurs, explore the similarities and differences to today’s reptiles and learn about sea creatures of the ancient oceans. Engineer It! is a hands-on exhibit which builds problem-solving skills by asking children to asses a problem, design a solution, and then build and test it. In this exhibit Legos teach kids about bridges, arches, and the engineered world around them. Kinetic Zone introduces physics education with interactive challenges that explore gravity, electricity, and forces. Activities involve balance, pulleys, air rockets and flight simulators. In Our Planet, children learn about the four spheres of the earth, weather systems and global phenomena. In Fusion: A STEAM Gallery, art combines with science, technology and math. This gallery offers rotating exhibits that showcase local artists. Florida’s largest public refractor telescope, as well as several smaller telescopes, are located atop the science center in the Crosby Observatory. The observatory is open during the day for sun viewing and at night for star and planet viewing at select times. For children under the age of 7, Kids Town features over 10,000 square feet of skill-based activities such as building, climbing, inventing and creating. Two theaters at the science center offer the world’s largest film format, as well as 3D digital formats. Theaters show educational films and performances in addition to the latest Hollywood releases and laser light shows.
History: The Orlando Science Center’s beginning was in 1955 when the Central Florida Federation of Art and Sciences created a “museum on the move” to bring science programming to school and community groups. The Central Florida Museum and Planetarium, as it was then called, posted small exhibits in store windows and businesses. In 1960, the museum at last opened the doors to its own facility in Loch Haven Park. The anthropology-centered museum focused on the natural history of Florida. The museum has since expanded its collections, exhibits and mission. Today’s museum occupies over 200,000 square feet in a state-of-the-art building with exhibit halls, natural habitats, a theater, and guest amenities such as a gift shop and restaurant. Educational programming and partnerships aim to bring science and technology education to all Florida’s citizens.
Ongoing Programs and Education: ScienceLive! programs bring the exhibits to life with interactive presentations. Fish Feeding Frenzy and the Swamp Feedings are all-ages programs where naturalists answer questions while feeding the animals. Orlando Science Center guides answer questions and offer hands-on dinosaur bone exploration at the Dino Safari. No Place Like Space is an interactive reading of Dr. Seuss’ book of the same name, combined with a bit of science and space education. The popular Kaboom! Show is a live exploration of combustion and explosions with a fireworks display. Science Stations located throughout the science center combine the ScienceLive! performances with the exhibits. For example, a replica television weather center in the Our Planet exhibit allows visitors to become meteorologists for a day, create weather forecasts, and pretend to report them live on television. In Dr. Dare’s lab, children can play scientist and create their own experiments involving electricity, chemical reactions and more under the guidance of a trained educator. Young Maker workshops bring children ages 8-14 together to collaborate on projects in a team environment. Additional programming includes summer, school break and after school camps, as well as preschool programming and early childhood workshops. The center sponsors four science competitions for children of all ages through high school. Events for adults include the 21 and over Science Night Live!, which combines food and drink with science talks and after-hours viewing of the exhibits. The Science of Wine is an annual benefit that takes wine tasting to a scientific level.
Past and Future Exhibits: Traveling exhibits at the science center rotate every few months. The temporary exhibit Identity: An Exhibition of You! was in partnership with the University of Central Florida College of Medicine and used interactive exhibits to encourage children to explore who they are in three areas; their physical identity, psychological and social identity.
777 E. Princeton Street Orlando, Florida 32803, Phone: 407-514-2000