Fun Orlando Museums for Children to Explore Their Worlds

Discover what is real and what isn't at Orlando museums like The Museum of Illusion. Photo by Jody Mercier
Discover what is real and what isn't at Orlando museums like The Museum of Illusion. Photo by Jody Mercier

Orlando has a diverse collection of fun museums for children and families to explore. From kid 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 some Orlando museums 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 Families

Central Florida Railroad Museum – Winter Garden

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.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum – Orlando

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! Afterward, take a ride on The Wheel or visit the Museum of Illusions (detailed below), located in the same complex.

Mennello Museum of American Art – Orlando

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 the Orlando REP.

Museum of Illusions – Orlando

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.

Orange County Regional History Center – Orlando

Located in a historic courthouse in downtown Orlando, the Orange County Regional History Center offers four floors of 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, home school days, family days, and more.

Orlando Fire Museum – Orlando

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 only open on Fridays and Saturdays. Admission is free but donations are accepted.

Children love the Drip Drop Splash water play area at Orlando Science Center. Photo by the author

Orlando Science Center – Orlando

The Orlando Science Center is a hands-on science museum with four floors of interactive exhibits. Kids ages seven and under will love exploring the expansive Kids Town area with seven play zones, including an Orange Grove machine play area, Toddler Town, climbing structure, and more. Guests can also meet live animals in the Nature Works area, dig for bones in Dino Digs, and explore engineering in the Kinetic Zone. There are fun traveling exhibits and special events throughout the year, two theaters with educational films, and a café onsite. Face coverings required.

RELATED: Top Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Orlando

Ripley’s Believe It or Not – Orlando

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.

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition – Orlando

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 is open seven days a week, and offers tours for kids on Saturdays and Sundays, which includes a scavenger hunt and a costumed historian guide.

World of Chocolate Museum & Café – Orlando

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, enjoy sweet samples. Tours are guided and last about 45 minutes. After your tour, venture to the café, which offers paninis, baked goods, appetizers, coffee, gelato, and hot chocolate.

Kids get to explore their world at Explorations V Children's Museum. Photo courtesy of the museum

More Children Museums in Central Florida

Explorations V Children’s Museum – Lakeland

Explorations V Children’s Museum boasts three floors of hands-on exhibits and programs centered on arts and sciences. These exhibits include an Orange Grove, where kids can pick, pack, and sort Florida's popular citrus, a miniature town with a play supermarket, news station, first responders area, a tot spot, a “Marvelous Me” exhibit where kids can learn about the human body, and so much more. There’s even a huge dragon made entirely of toys!

Glazer Children’s Museum – Tampa

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 Publix grocery store, play hospital, Twinkle Stars theater, vet clinic, and more. Seasonal events include a Gingerbread Village, Halloween Spree, and a kid-friendly 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.

RELATED: The Best Children's Museum in Every State

MOAS (Museum of Arts & Sciences) – Daytona

This art, science, and history museum includes exhibits such as Exploring Mars, Skulls from Ancient Beasts to Modern Giants, Gone Fishin’, and more. There is also a children’s museum located in a separate wing. The children’s museum houses fun exhibitions including a CSI investigative play area, an indoor race track, pulley play systems, radiology play station, roller coaster building, electric circuits, and other awesome kid-powered activities.

MOSI (Museum of Science & Industry) – Tampa

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.

Photos by the author unless otherwise indicated

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