In January 1955, the Central Florida Federation of Art and Sciences, a group of visionary Central Florida citizens, chartered a small non-profit science museum, to be called the Central Florida Museum and Planetarium. Beginning as a "museum on the move," the staff presented demonstrations in area schools and displayed exhibits in store windows and bank lobbies.
In 1957, the City of Orlando provided space for a permanent facility in Orlando, Loch Haven Park. The Central Florida Museum and Planetarium opened its doors in 1960. In its first decade, the museum was anthropology-centered with a focus on the natural history of Florida and the Caribbean basin.
Orlando Science Center has come a long way since 1955. For most of its history, the Science Center operated in a small building that was the original cultural facility in Loch Haven Park. Today, Orlando Science Center occupies a beautiful, 207,000 sq. ft. facility that is architecturally distinctive and built for the future with spacious exhibit halls, nature habitats, classrooms, a theatre, an observatory and visitor amenities such as a science store and cafe.
Today, Orlando Science Center attracts nearly 400,000 visitors each year with dynamic and engaging content. The goal has always been to personalize the guest experience; demonstrating how science impacts everyday life. Structured programming ranges from on-site experiences that utilize exhibits, theatrical performances, classes, and events, to off-site educational programs in the schools.
The Science Center's many collaborative partnerships with public school districts, universities, colleges, science/technology corporations and other commercial and professional enterprises aid in promoting science and technology education for students and in fostering science literacy among Florida's citizens.
To truly be a community destination, the Science Center seeks to represent the needs of the people it serves. To that end, we strive to bring the core concepts of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) to bear in an engaging way. To satisfy our mission Inspire Science Learning for Life, we will continue to encourage exploration and discovery by focusing on the following areas:
- Early Childhood
- Health and Wellness/Life Science
- Technology (digital media, modeling and simulation, optics and lasers)
- Earth and Space Science
- Environmental Science/Renewable Energy
We firmly believe that this approach will allow the Science Center to continue to be serve as a cornerstone for informal science learning.
Undoubtedly, the future will continue to unfold at a lightning pace. The Science Center’s goal is to continue to be a place that helps our community prepare and embrace the changes that tomorrow brings.
Equally important to the long-term viability of our organization is its ability to adapt to new and exciting ways of disseminating and receiving information. No longer just a building, the Science Center continues to evolve into a concept, bringing the exciting world of STEM to our audience - onsite, offsite and online. We will continue to explore new and innovative ways to deliver our message in a relevant, meaningful way.
Science is about change. Orlando Science Center embraces that change and will continue to look for ways to lead.
02 July 2015
Posted in History and Future
After 60 wonderful years serving the greater Central Florida community, Orlando Science Center has a great story to tell.
In 1955, a passionate group of volunteers banded together to educate and engage our community in the wonder of real science. They took their message directly to the people using “suitcase science” – cases full of experiments and demonstrations – and connected with people of all ages in schools, libraries, bank lobbies, even empty storefronts.
From those humble beginnings, Orlando Science Center has grown to be a focal point for education and exploration in our community, but one thing has not changed – our passion for inspiring science learning for life.
In this video, many of our longtime donors and special friends share Orlando Science Center's story in their own words. Their heartfelt words remind us why what we do is so important.