The Orlando Science Center is located close to I4, about a half hour drive from the International Drive and main theme park areas, but it's not difficult to find. There is a large multi storey car park next door with a bridge to the museum, and it cost us just $5 to park. The museum is spread over four levels, and we started at the top and worked down.
Our first stop was the dinosaur dig area Jurassic Ridge, which was brilliant. The 'mud' was tiny rubber chips, and there were plenty of buckets and paintbrushes for the children to excavate with while the adults had a sit down. Younger ones can dig about happily, while older children can identify the fossil skeletons using the field guide provided, and use tape measures and cones to map out the area. There were also plenty of real dinosaur skeletons to see.
We made our way through the different rooms, and there was so much to explore in each room. We are quite used to visiting science museums with the children, but there were lots of exhibits and experiments here that we'd not seen before.
We spent a lot of time making paper planes and helicopters to fly in a wind tube and moving a jet of air over a sandy landscape to see how it changed. We also enjoyed learning about building in earthquake areas, with an earthquake simulator and shaking tables to try out different building methods with blocks. We raced cars down a massive slope...
...and built tracks with pipes along the wall to send balls down.
At the very bottom of the museum there is a fantastic Kids Town area. The highlight was an orange farm and factory - plastic oranges could be harvested from trees, transported to the factory by tractor power, boxed up in the factory and then sent back to the trees via tubes - it was so much fun! There is also a nature area with alligators and turtles, and a room all about bats with real live bats as well as interactive educational exhibits.
There was a lovely gift shop there too. Mum bought some cool things for the children and we bought some kinetic sand which the children had enjoyed playing with elsewhere in the museum. It did cause our suitcase to be opened by security somewhere in the airport, but luckily it made it back!
Our only regret is that even though we spent most of the day here we could have stayed for so much longer. If we are lucky enough to find ourselves in Orlando again we will definitely be coming back!
Admission to the Orlando Science Center is $19 for adults and $13 for children, with children aged 2 and under free. The entry price also includes one Hollywood Movie if you have longer to spend there.