Orlando has a bounty of cultural offerings and unique museums. The diverse range of its museums and galleries is sure to impress – especially visitors who envisioned a city filled only with cotton candy, Ferris wheels, and mouse ears.
With a proud artistic tradition in Florida and a council committed to preserving the best of Orlando’s heritage, art and culture fans have many choices when it comes to art and science exhibits. And of course you can expect an array of lighthearted and fun museums that are exciting and engaging for children of all ages. Below are a few personal favorites that are definitely worthwhile during your stay.
NASA nerds will delight in the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, an interactive tribute to man’s quest off the planet. Learn about space pioneers in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame; re-enact the 1968 Apollo 8 launch from the actual control room; and stroll beneath towering rockets from the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs in the Rocket Garden.
Here is the only place in the world where you can see the real space shuttle Atlantis, touch a moon rock, meet a veteran NASA astronaut, tour a NASA spaceflight facility and get an up-close view of a real Saturn V moon rocket all in the same day! Arrive early for this full-day experience to make the most of your visit. The visitor complex opens at 9 am every day.
The 45-acre Loch Haven Park – home to three museums, a science center, multiple theaters, the Orlando Ballet and The Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival – is the city’s cultural core.
The park’s centerpiece is the Orlando Museum of Art, which features local, national and international artists. OMA exhibits include art and relics from Africa, including colorful textiles and beadwork; more than 900 pieces from ancient America, including Mayan, Peruvian and Incan art and crafts, and 160 Mexican Chupicuaro figurines; American paintings spanning from the Colonial period to World War II along with contemporary works.
The Mennello Museum of American Art in Loch Haven Park was created to house the largest collection of work by folksy landscape artist Earl Cunningham. Rotating art exhibits by American painters, sculptors and modern artists grace the interior, while outside, guests can walk among huge creations in the Marilyn L. Mennello Sculpture Gardens, which surround a massive live oak called The Mayor, estimated to have sprouted in 1688.
Across the street from the Mennello is the Orlando Science Center, an interactive learning museum beloved by kids and adults. Permanent collections have you delving into thunder lizards in DinoDigs, examining forces like electricity and gravity in the Kinetic Zone, and exploring Earth in Our Planet.
Kids will go crazy for the hands-on activities available in KidsTown, with experiences such as the Isaacs Family ClimbTime and Drip Drop Splash. OSC also hosts fun, educational events, including the technology-themed Otronicon and the adult-centric Science of Wine.