Florida Guide > Other Activities
Orlando Science Center
Sometimes even in Florida, the weather is not ideal for an outdoor activity, so with two boys (aged 6 and 10) we looked for something a little different to do indoors with them. Our friend suggested the Science Center, so we duly set off for the place on a wet Wednesday morning.
Located just off Junction 85 of the I4, the Orlando Science Centre is well signposted and fairly easy to find, with car parking available. There is even a covered walkway from the car park to the OSC building so you stay dry getting there.
This is a very interactive place, spread out over 4 levels, including a large Cine-Dome theater, with admittance to one film included in the price of entry.
Before we arrived, we were not sure whether there would be enough to keep our kids occupied for half a day – we actually ran out of time to see everything and found it very hard to tear the kids away from the place – there were things in each area which fascinated both of our boys.
We booked our time for the Cine-Dome film when we bought our tickets and then went to explore.
We started off in Science City which, like everything else there, is very hands-on. The kids checked
out how a power station worked, built up static electricity until it ‘cracked’ very loudly, had fun making circuits and discovering magnetism, then on to 123 Math Avenue to see how we use math in everyday living (there was also a couple of great PC games which the kids had to drag me off!!) Unfortunately Dr. Dare’s Laboratory where kids can do science experiments under supervision, was closed – Jamie would have loved to try this (something new to try next time). Josh had fun in an exhibition called My Home Planet Earth where kids learned about the environment and general health and How to Save the Planet, the theme was serious but the area was fun as well as educational.
We then watched the film in the Cine-dome called Mystery of the Nile. The giant screen is all around you and the film features a journey down the River Nile. The film was so realistic I felt quite sea-sick at times – especially when they encountered some rapids! This lasts for about 45 minutes. The films change on a regular basis and an alternative film showing was ‘Forces of Nature’ which involved earthquakes, tornados and volcanoes.
The kids had great fun in the Body Zone – we entered through a huge model of a mouth and you could learn how the body worked. The area called Measure Me was fabulous. You entered some basic details in a computer, age, gender etc and this was stored on a ‘ruler’ which you placed on each measuring station. You then measured your size, strength (by gripping and squeezing a model hand, for example, or hanging from a bar to see how long you could last) agility, stamina, flexibility etc, and the computer station would give you a readout and stats to tell you how many percent above average you were (somehow the kids were always above average, which they thought was really cool).
The Dino Digs has dinosaur fossils and 8 full size dinosaur models, plus an excavation site where the kids could carefully uncover prehistoric footprints and fossils in the ground.
The TechWorks area was great – weird and wonderful special effects in this area. Touch the Sky display was all about flying – including a full size replica of a vintage aeroplane. You could try out a flight simulator, or build a balsa wood or paper plane and test how well it flew
The kids could sample what an minor earthquake felt like and make a smoke tornado, and dotted around the Center were individual displays, where you could test yourself against a computer, or a sensory exhibit, where you put your hand in several covered boxes and tried to identify the object by touch (really quite difficult when you can’t see it!) – there was a picture of the object to check if you couldn’t figure it out!
We paid a brief visit to NatureWorks as parts of it were under construction, and the kids got to stroke a snake. There is even a separate area for very young children, but ours were too old for this and were not allowed in.
We had a really tasty and reasonably priced meal in the on-site café too.
We all had a really good day there. Both children and adults could participate and it was great to join in rather than just watch. There were a few parts that we did not get to try and we would definitely go again the next time the weather is not so good, we might even find time for the Planetarium Shows.
Mondays: Closed (Except for major school holidays)
Tuesday- Thursday: 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Sunday: Noon - 5:00 p.m.
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