Visiting WonderWorks Orlando with Kids: Wonderful Family Fun
A visit to Orlando is not complete without a trip to WonderWorks, part of the International Drive entertainment district. When traveling along I-Drive, you can’t miss the iconic upside-down building that houses WonderWorks, an indoor attraction with three floors of "edu-tainment" (part science center, part amusement park)! Experience hurricane-force winds, lie on a bed of nails, brave an astronaut training challenge, and over 100 more hands-on exhibits and displays. Read below for all you need to know to visit WonderWorks with kids!
Before you go, here is a little WonderWorks backstory to share with your kids about Professor Wonder and his upside-down laboratory: Legend has it that Professor Wonder was experimenting with the power of tornadoes in his secret lab on a remote island in the Bermuda Triangle. The experiment went awry and the vortex spun out of control, carrying the lab hundreds of miles, where it landed upside down right here in Central Florida. In order to experience the attraction, guests must walk through an inversion tunnel to be turned "right side up" and participate in all the fun!
WonderWorks Orlando is divided into six “Wonder Zones,” as well as a basement level full of fun entertainment.
According to the attraction,"With the ceiling under your feet and the ground above your head, WonderWorks will turn your world upside down."
WonderWorks with Kids: Wonder Zones & Exhibits
After traveling through the inversion tunnel, guests arrive in the Extreme Weather Zone. Step into the Earthquake Café to experience a 5.3 magnitude earthquake. Enter the Hurricane Shack to feel the full force of 74 mph winds, equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane. Learn all about the Wonders of the World, see how long you can hold your hand under icy 28 degree water, and experience 100,000 volts of Tesla Coil electricity through steel armor gloves.
Make bubbles larger than your whole head in the bubble lab.
Travel to the next floor and enter the Physical Challenge Zone. This was my family’s favorite area and where we spent the most time. Little ones love the bubble lab, where they can create bubbles big enough to fit over their head. Caution: Watch the floor; it can get slippery! Outside of the bubble lab, visitors head to several fun displays and exhibits, including a bed of nails, where guests can lie down and feel the pressure of 3,500 nails, as well as a pulley power station, where visitors lift their own body weight with a simple pulley system.
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Also on the second level is the Light & Sound Zone. Kids will love busting a move to see how their shadows create colors and patterns in the recollections area. Guests can use their feet to play music on a giant piano and strike poses in front of a blank wall to see images of their shadows that appear using a bright flash of light.
Climb into a replica of the Mercury Challenge capsule in Space Discovery Zone.
With Orlando’s close proximity to the Space Coast, there’s no wonder WonderWorks devotes an exhibit to all things space. A life-size replica of a space suit is on display as well as Project Mercury replica capsule; both are interactive and allow for fun photo ops. Guests 54” and taller can step aboard a two-person astronaut training gyroscope simulator, and shorter guests (48” and taller, or 42” with an adult) can ride a coaster simulator.
Kids can let their imaginations run free at the interlocking gear wall in the Imagination Lab.
Located between the Light & Sound Zone and the Space Discovery Zone, allow your imagination to run wild in the Imagination Lab, complete with a large colorful Lite-Brite wall, interactive landscape sandbox, interlocking gear wall, and more.
Throughout the attraction, along hallways and stair corridors, guests can explore a variety of unique art displays. This includes Dr. Seuss’ unorthodox taxidermy, which inspired his famous fictional characters, and Illusion Art designed to play tricks on the eyes.
Climb the glow-in-the-dark ropes course on the basement level of WonderWorks.
Traveling “up” to the basement level (remember, the building is upside down), there is a full arcade with several pay-to-play games. Above the arcade is a three-story, glow-in-the-dark ropes course for guests 48” and taller (or 42” with an adult). On the other side of the arcade is a 4D XD motion theater ride as well as a blacklight laser tag arena.
WonderWorks with Kids: Eating and Snacks
No outside food or drinks are permitted inside WonderWorks. Wonder Café is located on the main level and includes menu items such as pizza, sliders, hot dogs, chicken nuggets, and more.
Enjoy dinner and a show at the Outta Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show, located inside WonderWorks. This family-friendly show combines magic and improv comedy complete with audience participation. Dinner includes unlimited pizza, salad, drinks, and dessert. Reservations are strongly recommended.
Several other restaurants and eateries are located within walking distance at Pointe Orlando and along I-Drive. WonderWorks tickets allow entry for the full day, so guests can leave the attraction and return later in the day if needed.
Feel the burn at the bed of nails inside the Physical Challenge zone.
WonderWorks with Kids: Know Before You Go
- Plan to spend at least 3-4 hours to experience the full attraction.
- All access tickets include admission, laser tag, ropes course, and 4D theater. After dark and combo admission/dinner show tickets are also available.
- Check WonderWorks’ website or social media channels for admission coupons and deals.
- Parking is available at the Pointe Orlando parking garage. Fees range from $5-10 depending on how long you stay.
- Closed-toed shoes are required for the ropes course, and no skirts or dresses are permitted on the ropes course.
- Sensory Days occur certain days throughout the year.
Photos by the author