Orlando is overflowing with interesting and exciting attractions. Most people are familiar with Orlando’s biggest draws — Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld. However, there are so many other attractions to be found that many first time Orlando visitors quickly become confused and overwhelmed. Just a short drive down the main tourist strips on Hwy 192 and International Drive (I-Drive to those “in the know”) turns up an incredible cornucopia of T-shirt shops, roadside attractions and carnival-style rides. Somewhere between the big draws and the roadside attractions are the mid-sized attractions, those that can be easily seen in one day and provide a full day’s worth of fun for the whole family.
Wonder Works is just this type of attraction. Billed as “Central Florida’s only upside down attraction,” due to the fact that the entire building is, well, upside down, Wonder Works is a fantastical blend of curiosity museum in the same vein as the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! museum, science center, hands-on children’s museum, and roadside attraction. There is also a sister attraction based in Pigeon Forge, TN.
Wonder Works has a fascinating “back story” that ties together the myriad of exhibits and displays. As the story goes, there was a top secret laboratory located in the midst of the Bermuda Triangle. Scientists attempting to explain the unexplainable created a monster tornado, which was accidentally unleashed. The tornado picked the lab up from its foundation and carried it thousands of miles to Orlando, where it was deposited upside down. Remarkably, the experiments remained intact, and the place was opened as an interactive museum.
The exhibits at Wonder Works are an incredible blend of science based displays. Virtually all are hands-on, giving the place a decidedly “science center” feel. In the Space Shuttle Landers, you can experience first-hand the excitement and thrill of landing the Discovery Space Shuttle through an incredibly realistic simulator.
Experience the thrill of piloting a fighter jet in the F14 and F18 simulators. Three view screen monitors combine to give you a truly immersive experience. The simulator vehicle is very well done and gives a realistic feel.
Perhaps sports are more your cup of tea. Feel the excitement of a major game of either basketball or soccer as you step in front of the blue screen for an immersive and thrilling experience.
One of Wonder Works’ most well-known and eagerly anticipated exhibits is the Earthquake Simulator. Step inside the fill motion simulator for the ride of your life as you find yourself in the middle of a re-created 5.3 Earthquake!
Ever consider joining the military? Then you will love Global VR. This virtual reality exhibit allows you to develop nerves of steel as you carefully aim and fire at enemy targets.
If your tastes run more towards fantasy than war games, check out the Bubble Lab. Dozens of pieces of bubble equipment allow you to create more and bigger bubbles than you ever thought possible! You can even make a bubble large enough to step inside.
For those with a true desire to test their own limits, rise to the challenge of the Bed of Nails. Lay back and get comfortable (if you can) as you feel the points of 3,500 sharp nails. Not for the faint of heart.
Much less painful is the Wonder Wall, where you can create a 3D impression of your body by pressing against a wall of 40,000 pins. This may sound painful, but does not hurt a bit, and the effects are quite cool.
Adrenaline junkies will love the Wonder Coaster. Design your own dream roller coaster, then ride your own creation! This 360 degree full motion simulator will let you experience every dip, hill and inversion that you can dream up.
In addition to the above listed exhibits and many more, Wonder Works also offers an evening dinner show. Called The Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, this high-energy spectacular offers a hilarious blend of improvisational comedy and high-thrill magic acts. Dinner is pizza, beer, wine and soda. The atmosphere is casual and family friendly.
Wonder Works also offers one of the last remaining lazer tag spots in Orlando. A wildly popular sport in the early 1990s, lazer tag has decreased in popularity over the past decade. Nevertheless, the game is fun and exciting, and Wonder Works offers the perfect spot. Put on a vest and face your opponents in a giant maze. The goal is to shoot and avoid being shot, and the player with the highest point total at the end is the winner. Connected to the lazer tag arena is a full video arcade as well.
Wonder Works is great fun for the whole family. Based mostly on simulators and virtual reality technology, Wonder Works offers a combination of the very best of science centers, hands on museums, and old fashioned roadside attractions.
You could see Wonder Works in half a day if your time is short, perhaps combining it with a visit to Ripley’s Believe It or Not! However, if you have the time to spare, Wonder Works is easily a full day event. Overwhelm your senses and push your limits a bit, and you will find Wonder Works to be a fabulous addition to your Orlando vacation.