Museum of Discovery and Science, Fort Lauderdale
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Fort Lauderdale's Museum of Discovery and Science is one of the best Science museums I've been to! It is in a beautiful building (outside and in) with colorful hands-on exhibits. There is so much for kids to explore and much of it has to do with Florida, its weather, animals, and aerospace industry.
When you enter, outside, there is a giant gravity clock with balls falling down the tubes above your head. It's amazing!
The museum is huge and the themed areas are not in separate rooms but all arranged in one huge room, upstairs and downstairs, but in a clever way that separates the exhibits. It makes for an open feel and kids can run from area to area, full of zeal. My daughter was very inspired and could hardly wait to see the next exciting thing!
Downstairs there are tanks full of Florida wildlife like turtles, crabs, and a baby alligator. The tanks are in a large rock cube that looks like a mangrove forest. There is a fountain like rain falling down and another fountain with dancing water. An room for little kids, Discovery Center, which is usually packed with people, has a huge bubblemaking machine and other fun exhibits to manipulate.
There are otters that you can watch from above and under water, in an exhibit with huge windows that open up to the outside. A gigantic shark area about megalodons (prehistoric sharks) has a shark mouth you can enter. The teeth, made of rubber, are fun to feel. There is an exhibit showing how great white teeth are much smaller than megalodon teeth were.
Kids enjoy the Storm Center where they can create a cloud ring and watch it rise to the ceiling. There is a glass ball with electric current that they can touch, attracting the "lightning" top their finger. And there is a large tornado-making machine. It's super fun inside the green-screen weather area, where you can stand (or jump around, as excited kids do) in front of the green screen and watch weather like forest fires and rain behind you. You can also pretend to be the weather man in front of the weather map.
Also downstairs is the entrance to the IMAX theater. I recommend buying IMAX tickets with your entrance. The short documentaries are great and kids love them. The 3D effects are novel- so many kids had their hands out trying to grab the objects that seemed to be right in front of them! It's also nice to have some downtime- makes for a wellrounded museum visit!
Upstairs there is an impressive area dedicated to aviation and space exploration. Many flight simulators that you can sit in are located here. On weekends it can be a wait to have a turn. Come early in the day and go straight to this area. The Mars Rover simulator is a definite wait- it's fun for kids but adults can skip it. Things get very scientific upstairs, with a section devoted to how the body works, and plenty of exhibits relating to physical science. There are tons of things for kids to move, lift, and touch. The magnet tables are fun. It is very noisy upstairs, especially on busy weekend days, so expect some meltdowns at the end. Traveling exhibits are featured up here, and the exhibit we saw on geckos was really exquisite. The design of it was gorgeous and the geckos themselves were as if from another planet, beautiful and some downright creepy!
You can easily spend three hours in this museum.
Afterwards, get some fresh air and relaxing nature by walking around Riverwalk (across the street from the museum). It's lovely with all the mature trees and the flashy boats going past on the water. There are a few homeless people. Historical houses give this area a lovely feel. And there are fancy lampposts, pretty picnic tables, flags, and a wide winding pathway. If you walk east you can cross the train tracks and admire the raised train track over the river. You come to the outdoor mall called Los Olas Riverfront. Most of the stores are closed which is a shame because there is some gorgeous architecture and a Spanish fountain here.
Have a meal here or at the restaurants along the street near the museum, on the corner of 2nd Street (Himmarshee St) and 2nd Ave (Moffat Ave). Tarpon Bend Restaurant is much nicer inside than it looks from the outside- there are huge windows and wide booths plus exciting decor- and the kids will be so happy here while you enjoy the yummy, inexpensive food!
Drive over to nearby Fort Lauderdale Beach for a swim after your visit. For a quieter and gorgeous beach, check out Hugh Taylor Birch State Park, an eleven minute drive away.
Museum of Discovery and Science is a good place to come from June-October, when it's too hot to go out and you can't even go out early or late in the day to beat the heat because that is when the mosquitoes are out (sunrise and sunset).
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Museum of Discovery and Science is located at 401 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale FL 33312, call (954) 467-6637.
Exit Highway 95 at Broward Blvd (exit #27) and head toward the ocean. Turn right on 4th Ave and park in the first parking lot on your left. There is a pay meter.
Open every day of the year. Mon-Sat 10-5, Sun 12-6.
Admission is $14 adults, $13 seniors, $12 children (aged 2-12), and free for children under 2 years old. With IMAX show and museum admission, tickets are $19 adults, $18 seniors, $15 children (aged 2-12), and free for children under 2 years old. You can also purchase just the IMAX show without museum entrance, which costs $9 for adults, $8 for seniors, and $7 for children aged 2-12. Full-length feature films cost more.
Tarpon Bend Restaurant, 200 SW 2nd Street, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, call (954) 523-3233.
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Overall Visitor Rating:
|I recommend this children's museum. The best part is the orange farm!|