Skip the Orlando theme parks and take the kids to one of Orlando's museums. Many area museums offer a family friendly atmosphere, plus the chance to have a hands-on learning experience. A day at the museum makes a perfect substitute for being stuck in the house on a rainy day. Plan to spend the day at the museum and stop for a bite to eat in a small café or restaurant located within walking distance to some of the area's museums.
Orlando Fire Museum
The Orlando Fire Museum is located in the former Firehouse #3, which is a two-story, red-brick old-fashioned firehouse. The Museum features everything from the Orlando Fire Department's history, including vehicles, photos, documents and other firehouse related items. Kids will enjoy seeing the different equipment used to put out fires and hear stories from volunteers about the area's fire fighter history.
The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. and on Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Cost of admission is $7 for adults, $6.50 for seniors (60+) and $3.50 for children (ages 3-12). The Orlando Fire Museum is located at 814 E. Rollins Ave. in Orlando. For more information call 407.898.3138.
There is no possible way to miss WonderWorks when driving through Orlando's International Drive area. It is the giant white building that is upside down and filled with tons of interactive fun for the entire family. Legend has it that this building is a top secret laboratory from the Bermuda Triangle and a hurricane swooped it up and dropped in Central Florida.
More than 100 hands on exhibits can be found inside WonderWorks including the Disaster Zone, Space Zone, Light and Sound Zone and the Bubble Lab. There is also an Illusion Gallery where families can stroll through checking out different paintings that challenge the mind through illusions. In addition to interactive exhibits WonderWorks hosts a nightly comedy show and other featured events.
WonderWorks is open year round from 9 a.m. until midnight daily. The museum is located at 9067 International Drive in Orlando. Cost of general admission is $19.99 for kids under 12 years of age and $25.99 for adults. There are also combo tickets and special rates for purchasing general admission and tickets to the dinner comedy show.
Orlando Science Center
The Orlando Science Center (OSC) is home to more than 200,000 square feet of interactive learning fun for guests of all ages. The Center features exhibits about natural science all the way through technology and offers kids a chance to get a hands on look at the different experiments and exhibits. Galleries at the OSC include NatureWorks, DinoDigs, Science Park and KidsTown. Live programs and demonstrations are also available throughout the day. The OSC is home to the Crosby Observatory which has the state's largest refractor telescope that is open to the public.
Hours of operation are on Sunday through Tuesday and Thursday through Saturday (closed Wednesdays) from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. The museum is closed on most major holidays, including Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, Eve and Christmas Day.
The OSC is located at 777 E. Princeton Street in Orlando, Florida. For more information call 407.514.2277. Cost of admission is $19 for adults, $13 for kids ages 3 to 11, $17 for seniors and students with ID. Children under two years of age are free.
Hopefully you have a blast visiting one of these amazing family-friendly museums while in the Orlando area.