Orlando Science Center's exhibit halls feature a vast array of exciting interactive experiences! Learning has never been so fun with these hands on educational exhibits. From down to earth explorations in natural science to the high-tech world of simulation technology, everywhere you look, you'll find educational and entertaining opportunities to explore, experiment, and discover.
The Orlando Science Center is home to some of the most exciting traveling exhibits in the country. When these exhibits are in town they are only here for a limited time, so don’t miss the opportunity to see them!
As great as our traveling exhibits are, there are some exhibits that are the staple of the Orlando Science Center. NatureWorks will have you up close and personal with some of nature’s most fascinating reptiles. At DinoDigs, you’ll step back into the prehistoric age. Discover the dynamic forces and systems that shape our Earth, as well as other planets in Our Planet, Our Universe. Explore such concepts as electricity and magnetism, lasers, soundwaves, and nature’s forces in Science Park. No visit to the Science Center is complete without a trip to KidsTown, an interactive world dedicated to our smaller explorers.
Science Live! Programs
What’s the difference between a great visit to a Science Center and a memorable visit? Live programs. Our exhibits are designed to inspire curiosity and exploration, our Science Live! programs are designed to bring the exhibits to life. Whether it’s a show in the Digital Adventure Theater or a one-to-one interaction with a volunteer at the Crosby Observatory, our live programs create the kind of impact that can last a lifetime.
Looking for little more “hard science” in your next Science Center visit? Look no further than the Science Stations located throughout the facility. Science Stations are a cross between exhibits and live programs in that they’re exhibits that typically include a live program to truly bring the experience to life. Science Stations provide an in-depth look at their respective subject matter in an entertaining way. Be sure to check your program schedule to see which Science Stations are conducting demonstrations on the day of your next visit.
The aluminum-domed Crosby Observatory atop Orlando Science Center houses Florida's largest publicly accessible refractor telescope. This one-of-a-kind custom-built telescope, along with several smaller scopes, are available at selected times for solar and night sky viewing.
Ligers. Grolar bears. Camas. They sound like things out of a fantasy novel but do indeed exist. Here’s an explanation:
Born of a male lion and a female tiger, there are only a few ligers in the world. The average liger weighs more than 900 lbs. and stands about 12 ft. tall leading them to be deemed the largest big cats. Although featuring more lion-like features, the liger enjoys swimming like a tiger. They can eat up to 100lbs. a day but due to obesity issues are typically fed 25-35 lbs. with meals ranging from venison to pork. There are also smaller tigons, which are born of a male tiger and female lion.
Due to melting ice caps, animals that were once separated are being moved closer together, in this case grizzly and polar bears. Grolars have the head and paws of a grizzly with the white fur of a polar bear. This pairing worries scientists as it is feared the threatened polar bear gene pool will be compromised.
The cama is a cross between a male camel and a female llama. Due to size differences their creation came about through artificial insemination in an effort to get the strength of a camel with the wool of a llama. As you can see from the above picture, camas do not have a popular camel hump.
There are many other types of hybrids including wolphins [whale with dolphins], zebroids [zebras with horses], and leopons [leopards with lions]. Some hybrids such as the grolar bear occur naturally whereas other such as camas often lead to ethical debates. Is it ethical to create a species that can change the gene pool of its predecessors and lead to their extinction or is it just the next stage in evolution? What do you think?
Would you ever expect to see a robotics demonstration at the NBA All-Star Jam Fest? That's exactly what we saw when we ran into First Robotics Club 233. In this video, Kaitlin Lostroscio from Pink Team FRC 233 gave us a tour of the basketball playing robot they created. Great job Pink Team!
Suppose you’re out in the Everglades watching a six-foot alligator when out of the reeds springs an even bigger python that suddenly latches on to it and attempts to devour it whole! The non-venomous Burmese python’s natural habitat may be Southeast Asia but due to human intervention these reptilian creatures are coming to the Everglades near you! It became a startling phenomenon a decade ago not only due to owners releasing their pets and accidental escapes but breeding among the freed pythons as well. A female Burmese python can lay up to 100 eggs with an average of about 36 eggs. That’s a lot of pythons from even one snake! Especially for a breed that can grow up to 23 feet long and weigh upwards of 200 lbs.
According to a recently published study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, their arrival has heralded a severe decrease in the population of several native mammals including raccoons and opossums. Researchers are having a more difficult time monitoring the effects of the python’s presence on endangered animals such as the Florida panther. Even if they don’t interact with the panthers, they are still affecting them by consuming their food source of small mammals.
It’s difficult to estimate how many pythons are slithering free throughout the one and a half million acres of the Everglades. In an interview with PBS, Shawn Heflick, President of the Central Florida Herpetological Society, says he believes “that the true number is closer to between 5,000 to 10,000 animals. The 100,000 plus numbers are inflated and sensationalized by politicians and some of the local media, but no one has the real answer to exactly how many are out there.”
Park personnel have taken preventative measures with Ivegot1.org where visitors can report sightings and learn about the species as well as offensive measures such as using detection dogs to sniff out the snakes. Recently the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made it illegal to import these pythons into the U.S. as well as transport them across state lines. Even with these efforts only time will tell as to whether the situation can be contained.
What's the strongest wind you've been in? 50 mph, 100, mph... how about 20 million mph? That's what researchers at the Chandra X-ray Observatory discovered recently while studying stellar-mass black holes.
Chandra X-ray Observatory is one of the four Great Observatories operated by NASA. It produces images that are 100 times fainter than that of any previous telescope due to the high resolution of the mirrors. The X-ray Observatory was built to allow astronomers to view images to better understand the evolution of the universe and how the structure was formed.
Stellar-mass black holes are formed when a massive star collapses due to gravitational force and can be more than three times the solar mass of our Sun. In recent days the Observatory has observed the fastest winds ever recorded from a stellar-mass black hole. Traveling at three percent of the speed of light, the winds on the surrounding disk recorded an astounding speed of 20 million miles per hour. These record breaking winds are similar to the winds found in disks surrounding supermassive black holes, which can be billions of times larger and more powerful. According to Jon M. Miller, the co-author of The Astrophysical Journal Letters, “It’s a surprise this small black hole is able to muster the wind speeds we typically only see in the giant black holes. In other words, this black hole is performing well above its weight class.”
The astronomers studying this stellar-mass black hole have also learned that the high winds are carrying more material away from the black hole than it is able to capture. These findings will help astronomers better understand black hole behaviors. As Ashley King, lead author of The Astrophysical Journal Letters describes, “Contrary to the popular perception of black holes pulling in all of the material that gets close, we estimate up to 95 percent of the matter in the disk around IGR J17091 is expelled by the wind,”
It’s hard imagine the Florida of millions of years ago until you’re walking on a beach and stumble upon an enormous prehistoric shark tooth. What once roamed these lands? WasTyrannosaurus rex tromping through the woods hunting for prey whilebrachiosaurs munched leaves off nearby trees? Actually no, back then Florida was underwater.
Once Florida as we know it emerged from the receding waters about 25 million years ago it became inhabited by various types of creatures. I wasn’t kidding about those enormous shark teeth, there was Megalodon whose name literally means “giant tooth,” with teeth about seven inches long. Moving into the woods, there were giant sloths called Megatherium hanging about that happened to be bigger than Woolly Mammoths. Running free on the plains were horses ranging from the size of deer to the size of a modern Clydesdale. They would have had to outrun several types of large cats ranging from the lion-like Barbourofelis to the saber-toothed Smilodon (which would go so far as to pounce and prey on Woolly Mammoths).
So who knows someday as your standing on a riverbed you may reach down to find fossilized alligator poop or giant beaver tooth incisors. Here in Florida the chances of finding fish fossils are higher than finding those of a bird (as they’re more fragile). Most fossils will tend to be five to ten feet under the surface whether they be embedded in the sand at the beach or stuck in a river bed.
Make sure to research the laws regarding fossil hunting and purchase a yearly permit for five dollars as well. Know before going into the field that depending on where you find your fossil and its scientific significance your finding may be confiscated by the state. Not every type of fossil hunting is regulated; one may search for shark teeth and plant fossils without a permit.
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