Orlando museums offer a diverse collection of fun for children and families to explore. From children's museums in Orlando to others within a day trip's drive, and themed museums for train fanatics and even something for chocolate lovers, there are many Orlando museums for both residents and tourists alike. We've listed some of our favorites below. Read on to find Orlando museums for children to add to your itinerary!
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Kids can live out their dreams of playing with their favorite athletes at Madame Tussauds. Photo by the author
Orlando Museums for Kids and Families
This FREE museum is perfect for train enthusiasts, both little and big. Situated inside a historic train depot, the Central Florida Railroad Museum houses an extensive collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and photographs from railroads in Central Florida and around the country. Young train conductors will enjoy climbing in a caboose, seeing the HO scale train layout, and playing with a Thomas wooden train set.
Tour an impressive collection of lifelike wax figures at Madame Tussauds at ICON Park. Little superheroes will have a ball helping save the world with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Batman. Sports fans can shoot hoops with Shaquille O’Neal and snap a pic with Dale Earnhardt Jr. And the youngest visitors will adore seeing Shrek, Fiona, and King Fu Panda!
The Mennello Museum boasts a collection of traditional and contemporary American art indoors, as well as a sculpture garden outdoors. The outdoor space is complete with walking paths and green space overlooking Lake Formosa. The second Sunday of each month, the museum hosts a Free Family Funday event with free admission and an art project. The Mennello Museum is within walking distance of the SunRail train station, as well as the Orlando Science Center, Orlando Fire Museum, Orlando Shakespeare Theater, and Orlando Family Stage (formerly Orlando REP).
Discover what is real and what isn't at the Museum of Illusion Orlando. Photo by Jody Mercier
Also located at ICON Park, the Museum of Illusions offers over 50 exhibits to fool your eyes. Take selfies in the infinity room, swap noses with your friends and family, let your kids hang from the ceiling, and enjoy more indoor family fun.
The Orange County Regional History Center offers many exhibits centered on Central Florida’s history and heritage. Ongoing exhibits include Central Florida’s role in aviation history, Orlando’s cattle and citrus background, the theme park era, pioneer living in Florida, Orlando’s natural environment, and more. The history center also hosts special traveling exhibits throughout the year, as well as events such as a trick-or-treat safe zone, family days, and more.
Situated inside a historic red brick firehouse, this Orlando museum is a hidden gem! It offers an in-depth history of the Orlando Fire Department, including artifacts and restored vintage fire engines. It is currently open on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free but donations are accepted.
The Orlando Science Center is a hands-on science museum with four floors of interactive exhibits. Young kids and toddlers can explore the expansive Kids Town with seven play zones, including an Orange Grove machine play area, Toddler Town, climbing structure, and more. Guests can also meet live animals in Nature Works, dig for bones in Dino Digs, and explore engineering in the Kinetic Zone. There are fun traveling exhibits and special events throughout the year, educational films, and a café.
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This popular museum of oddities has 10,000 square feet of fun interactive exhibits the whole family can enjoy. Explore a “Weird Florida” gallery, experience a Florida sinkhole, check out shrunken heads, join a dance party with lifelike wax figures, and more.
Venture back in time to 1912 and explore the Ship of Dreams, featuring full-scale room replicas including the grand staircase, costumed actors, and over 300 artifacts, many of which were recovered from the shipwreck. The museum offers tours for kids on Saturdays and Sundays, which includes a scavenger hunt and a costumed historian guide.
This sweet Orlando attraction houses a museum where guests can learn about the history and making of chocolate, check out chocolate sculptures of famous people and landmarks, and best of all, eat samples! Museum tours are guided and last about 45 minutes; afterwards venture to the café, which offers paninis, baked goods, appetizers, coffee, gelato, and hot chocolate.
Kids can let their imaginations run free at the interlocking gear wall in the Imagination Lab. Photo by author
Housed in the iconic, upside-down building, WonderWorks Orlando is a fun adventure with amazing exhibits for young and old. Exhibits focus on weather, physics, light and sound, space, art, a theater, ropes course, and much more. The museum is part of the awesome International Drive that Orlando visitors and residents love!
More Children Museums in Central Florida
Located in Bonnet Springs Park, Florida Children’s Museum boasts multiple floors of hands-on exhibits and programs centered on arts and sciences. These exhibits include a miniature town with a play supermarket, TBD Gallery, Watermelon Seeds which welcomes the youngest of visitors to explore their world. There’s even a huge, climbable alligator that welcomes everyone to the museum!
At this interactive learning laboratory, kids can play and explore while learning about the world around them. Exhibits include a Central Bank play area, an engineers’ workshop, fort building, kid-sized grocery store, play hospital, theater, vet clinic, and more. Special events include Big John the Triceratops, a Gingerbread Village, Halloween Spree, and Downtown Countdown for New Years. The last Sunday of each month is Sunshine Sunday for kids with special needs; on the first Tuesday of every month, all visitors gets free admission for Children’s Board Free Tuesdays.
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This art, science, and history museum includes amazing exhibits, both permanent and temporary. There is also a children’s museum located in a separate wing. The children’s museum houses fun exhibitions including an investigative play area, indoor race track, pulley play systems, radiology play station, roller coaster building, electric circuits, and other awesome kid-powered activities.
MOSI is a scientific playground featuring over 100 interactive activities for all ages. Explore a lunar colony with NASA, build a robot, lie on a bed of nails, and touch actual dino poop (if you dare!). There is also a multilevel ropes course, VR simulator, and planetarium.