Summer in Florida means one thing. Well, two things. Afternoon rain storms and out-of-school kids that need entertainment. Instead of dragging them to a movie every rainy day, how about expanding their imaginations with a trip to a local children’s museum? Florida is home to many highly respected (and highly entertaining) museums that are aimed at youngsters. Here are just a few to get you planning those summer afternoons. (Is your favorite one missing? Email us at [email protected])
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science, Miami
WHAT TO SEE: Originally located in Coconut Grove (and known as the Miami Science Museum), the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science just reopened this spring in downtown Miami. Attractions include a 500,000-gallon Gulfstream aquarium, a “River of Grass” exhibit that lets visitors explore the Everglades and a 250-seat planetarium.
Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science
1101 Biscayne Boulevard
Miami, FL 33132
Orlando Science Center, Orlando
WHAT TO SEE: More than 50,000 square feet of attractions along with an 8-story movie theater and atrium that houses live turtles, gators and fish. The center’s Dr. Phillips Cinedome shows movies using the largest film format in the world.
Orlando Science Center
777 E Princeton St
Orlando, FL 32803
Museum of Science and Industry, Tampa
WHAT TO SEE: Better known as simply “Mosi,” the museum is located adjacent to the Tampa campus of the University of South Florida and features a 10,500-square-foot IMAX DOME theater. Through Aug. 13, 2017, it’s also home to Cardboard Space Adventures, a hands-on “outer space outpost” built by guests entirely from cardboard.
Museum of Science and Industry
4801 E Fowler Ave, Tampa, FL 33617
Glazer Children’s Museum, Tampa
WHAT TO SEE: Through July 9, 2017, the traveling exhibit MathAlive! is at the Tampa museum. Children can race a snowboard, control a Mars rover, design a video game and more. It’s all a way for young minds to experience real math at work in sports, nature, robotics, music, dancing and more.
Glazer Children’s Museum
110 W Gasparilla Plaza
Tampa, FL 33602
Great Explorations, St. Petersburg
WHAT TO SEE: Great Explorations is designed for children age 10 and under, with hands-on exhibits that stimulate learning through play. Current exhibits include a pizza “kitchen,” fire house and even a critter cave.
1925 4th St N
St. Petersburg, FL 33704
Boca Raton Children’s Museum, Boca Raton
WHAT TO SEE: Activities and exhibits here include daily story telling, sensory art, a pirate ship, bank and post office, puppet theater and even a kids’ grocery store. Check the museum’s official website before going to confirm operating hours, which vary from day to day.
Boca Raton’s Children’s Museum
498 Crawford Blvd
Boca Raton, FL 33432
Crowley Museum and Nature Center, Sarasota
WHAT TO SEE: Crowley Museum and Nature Center is a 190-acre farmstead that showcases rare Florida habitat, pioneer buildings and heritage farm animals. Programs here explore pioneer history and teaches practical skills and farming in a real world setting.
Crowley Museum and Nature Center
16405 Myakka Rd
Sarasota, FL 34240
Discovery Center, Ocala
WHAT TO SEE: The Discovery Center offers in-house and traveling programs, homeschool classroom programming, and preschool programming to local families and schools. Among the programs are Create Scientists, Sci-Girl Saturdays and Homeschool Thursdays.
701 NE Sanchez Ave
Ocala, FL 34470
Explorations V Children’s Museum, Lakeland
WHAT TO SEE: Explorations V features three floors of kid-powered exhibits and programs, including an art gallery and interactive science stations. The “V” in the museum’s name stands for the five senses that children should use to explore their world.
Explorations V Children’s Museum
109 N Kentucky Ave
Lakeland, FL 33801
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples, Naples
WHAT TO SEE: With hands-on exhibits and galleries, the museum encourages visitors of all ages to journey through the swamps of the Everglades, climb a 2-story banyan tree, explore the cold of an igloo and more.
Golisano Children’s Museum of Naples
15080 Livingston Rd
Naples, FL 34109
Miami Children’s Museum, Miami
WHAT TO SEE: Opening June 17, 2017, is the traveling exhibit Dino Island, where robotic dinosaurs come to life. Families can play in a giant dinosaur nest, ask questions from a creature who lived even before the time of the dinosaurs and learn about adaptation, extinction and evolution through interactive exhibits.
Miami Children’s Museum
980 MacArthur Causeway, Miami, FL 33132
Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science, Fort Lauderdale
WHAT TO SEE: Take a ride on the Everglades Airboat Adventure, enjoy the playful antics of river otters, experience hurricane winds in the Storm Center, dig for fossils alongside a megalodon shark and see IMAX movies on the museum’s 6-story-high movie screen.
Fort Lauderdale Museum of Discovery and Science
401 SW 2nd St
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312
IMAG History and Science Center, Fort Myers
WHAT TO SEE: Also known as the Imaginarium Science Center, the museum features hands-on attractions including a marine touch tank with stingrays, exhibits with live fish, sharks, turtles and iguanas, and daily animal encounters with live creatures.
IMAG History and Science Center
2000 Cranford Ave
Fort Myers, FL 33916
Challenger Learning Center, Tallahassee
WHAT TO SEE: The Challenger Learning Center features a state-of-the-art Space Mission Simulator and has an IMAX 3D Theatre, the Downtown Digital Dome Theatre & Planetarium. The center is the K-12 outreach facility of Florida A&M University and the Florida State University College of Engineering.
Challenger Learning Center
200 S Duval St
Tallahassee, FL 32301
Check out our favorite Museums and Gardens