Compared to the glitz and unreality of the glittering, world famous Orlando area theme parks, the Orlando Science Center stands in sharp contrast. At the Science Center you will not find giant mice, rumbling roller coasters or splashy water rides. Instead, you will find dozens of hands on exhibits that demonstrate the principles of physics, mathematics, anatomy and many other scientific fields of study. You will wish that high school science could have been this fun!
Science and math buffs will, of course, be in seventh heaven at the Orlando Science Center. For the rest of us, however, it is easy to wonder whether an entire attraction that is dedicated to science could possibly worth spending a day on, especially when the rides and shows down the street beckon to the side of us that wants our vacation to be simply relaxing.
In actuality, the Orlando Science Center is consistently rated as a visitor favorite attraction. Far from the dusty chemistry labs that many of us remember from youth, the Science Center is hip, upbeat and every bit as entertaining as it is educational. From exciting planetarium shows to trippy laser light shows, the Science Center is fun for the whole family. And don’t forget the IMAX films, playing daily on an eight story screen.
So what is there to do at the Science Center? The short answer is: everything! An entire day can be filled before you know it, as you play and explore throughout the fully hands-on exhibits on a variety of topics.
The Science Center’s newest exhibit is called BodyZone 3D. Built as part of an expansion to the BodyZone exhibit hall, which teaches the anatomy of the human body through a series of interactive displays, BodyZone 3D rivals anything found at the major theme parks. You will find yourself on the edge of your seat for this up close and personal trip through the circulatory system from the point of view of a red blood cell.
Also housed in the BodyZone exhibit hall are the popular attractions Healthy Living and Measure Me. In Healthy Living a series of kiosks teach important lessons about taking care of oneself. Measure Me allows you to analyze not only your height and weight but also your flexibility, agility, strength and sensory abilities. You will gain a complete picture of your body and its current abilities as well as ideas on how to improve your level of fitness.
TechWorks is a section of the Science Center that is dedicated to emerging technologies. In Doctor Dare’s Laboratory, you can follow computerized guidelines and instructions to complete a series of experiments. A knowledgeable trainer is always close at hand to provide any assistance that may be required.
Many other permanent and traveling exhibits are also on display throughout the Science Center’s four floors. Plan to spend a full day in order to have time to not only view but work with each hands-on interactive exhibit.
Parents with small children will appreciate KidsTown. This section of the Science Center is entirely dedicated to children under 48 inches tall. Although kids are welcome throughout the Science Center and are free to interact with all exhibits under parental guidance, some of the concepts may be over the heads of the smaller set. KidsTown is specifically designed to provide both education and excitement to children by teaching at their level through those elements that are exciting for kids. Climb a tree, crawl underground or simply sit back and enjoy a glass of orange juice that you have squeezed yourself.
In addition to the exhibits, the Orlando Science Center offers a full complement of live shows, all of which are included in your daily admission charge. From electricity to magnetism to simple machinery, the shows are both informative and hilarious, demonstrating a wide range of scientific concepts. The shows are highly recommended for all guests regardless of age.
Star gazers will appreciate the Crosby Observatory, home of Florida’s largest publicly available refractor telescope. The Observatory is open for star gazing on Friday and Saturday nights (call ahead to confirm hours) and for solar observation on the first Saturday of each month. Special events take place periodically and the Observatory is also available for private party rental.
The combined IMAX Iwerks domed theater and Digistar II planetarium are highly popular. Enjoy one or more of the IMAX films by day, or a planetarium presentation at night. During the summer, the theater is often used at night as part of the Dark Science evening programming. Laser light shows are frequently held here, particularly on summer evenings.
Festivals and special events abound throughout the year at the Orlando Science Center. Additionally, the Science Center provides a full lineup of classes and camps, and is capable of planning a special event for a group of children, adults or both.
The Orlando Science Center truly makes science both fun and accessible to the average visitor. While the exhibits are designed to make you think, the excitement and energy level have definitely kept pace with the theme park trends. The Science Center is a highly recommended addition to any Orlando area vacation. Plan to spend at least one full day, with a possible evening return visit for a laser or planetarium show or to enjoy the Observatory.