Exhibits

 

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.

 

Traveling Exhibits

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!

 

Exhibit Halls

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.

 

Science Stations

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.

 

Crosby Observatory

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.

 

As Atlantis landed at the Kennedy Space Station this morning, many Orlando locals were able to hear the loud sonic boom as the shuttle re-entered Earth’s atmosphere. The shuttle’s twin sonic booms - caused by shock waves at its nose and tail - are a result of the orbiter traveling faster than the speed of sound. Below is a diagram explaining how sonic booms occur and where they were heard:

ShuttleSonicBoom

 

The following YouTube clip is a recording of the Sonic Boom heard in Naples, FL.


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By Marcus Pfister

A beautiful, conceited fish lives in the deep part of the ocean. His scales sparkle and shine as he swims through the ocean - alone. The other fish attempt to befriend him, but he ignores them until one day when a small blue fish approaches him. The small blue fish tells the Rainbow Fish how beautiful his scales are, and asks for one of them. Horrified, the Rainbow Fish refuses and swims on, puzzling aloud over his loneliness.

A crab directs him to an octopus, whose advice is simple: give away his scales to the other fish and he will be happy. After some thought, and a second request from the small blue fish, the Rainbow Fish takes the octopus's advice and finds friendship and happiness. This is a great book for children to learn about the importance of sharing.

the_rainbow_fish


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Wine may not just be for unwinding after a hard day of work on Earth. French researchers suggest red wine may reduce the effects of microgravity on astronauts in space. Microgravity is also known as weightlessness or zero gravity. It is a state of free fall, just like the feeling you get as you drop on a roller coaster.

When experienced over an extended period of time, microgravity can have some scary consequences. Bone deterioration, muscle loss, weakened immune system, dehydration, and shortness of breath are all common side effects of weightlessness on astronauts. Human bones grow in a state of gravity and our immune system builds up to ward off infections we are exposed to on Earth. Once humans are taken out of that state of gravity and familiar environment for an extended period of time, our bodies can react negatively to the change. In space, many astronauts experience nausea, headaches, sweating, and of energy from Space Adaption Syndrome. It usually lasts a few days, but their immune system is weakened.

Astronauts go through extensive training to prepare for these effects. But according to recent research, drinking red wine could reduce the risks associated with zero gravity. As stated in an article from DiscoveryNews.com, “Red wine contains resveratrol, an antioxidant that prevents blood clots, lowers "bad" cholesterol levels, and just helps protect your blood vessels in general. And now it seems as if resveratrol can also prevent bone density loss and muscle atrophy.” By studying rats in a simulated microgravity environment, the French researchers were able to see that those rats that didn’t receive resveratrol showed a loss of bone and muscle density, as well as signs of pre-diabetes from insulin resistance.

So what’s the catch? Why aren’t astronauts popping bottles of vintage in space? It turns out the rats had to consume quite a bit of resveratrol to show resistance to microgravity. It would take more than one or two glasses of wine for humans to do so. NASA certainly doesn’t want our astronauts intoxicated in space, so more research will need to be done. For now, the astronauts aboard Atlantis can look forward to a nice glass of wine when they come back to earth.

red wine


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A discovery from Montana’s Hell Creek Formation leads researchers to believe the Triceratops may have been the last dinosaur standing. At 65 million years old, the rhinoceros-like, three-horned Triceratops would be the youngest dinosaur known to man. The dino’s age falls into the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) period where scientists believe all non-avian, or non bird-like, dinos became extinct. This finding could prove the “3-meter gap” theory false.

The 3-meter gap theory suggests dinosaurs gradually died out before the K-T event 65 million years ago. Those who support this theory believe a meteor couldn’t have killed all the dinosaurs at once because there is a segment free from any fossils. The recent discovery at Hell Creek seems to prove that theory wrong. According to the article on Discovery News, The Hell Creek Triceratops “was not only found within that 3-meter region, but it also exists at the upper reaches of it, proving that at least one dinosaur and presumably more were still alive when the meteorite blasted into Chicxulub, Mexico.” Thus, the opposing theory to the 3-meter gap suggests dinosaurs went extinct in masses because a meteor struck their homeland.

Researchers are still discovering fossils of small mammals that lived after the KT event in the Montana area. The mammals, including hoofed condylarths and rodent like multiuberculates, had to adapt and relocate after the dinosaurs went extinct. Why certain creatures survived the K-T extinction may never be known but science suggests their diet had something to do with it. Dinosaur extinction is a mystery waiting to be solved. Archeologists and researchers are continually looking to solve the case, so discoveries like the Triceratops in Montana are helpful pieces added to the puzzle.

Triceratops


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El Nino and La Nina are the two most powerful weather phenomena on the planet and are known to alter the climate across more than half the planet! El Nino is the warming of water in the Pacific Ocean, determined by a comparison of average water temperatures over several years. If the ocean between the coasts of South America-Peru, Ecuador, Columbia-and the middle of the ocean toward the Date Line is warmer by 2-10 degrees F, we know that an El Nino is here. La Nina, officially called ENSO, is the cooling of water in the Pacific Ocean. El Nino and La Nina may alternate between every other year and every three years, so that the time from one El Nino to the next tends to be every three to seven years.

The tremendous phenomena of El Nino, known for its warming effect on the water in the Pacific Ocean is likely caused by underwater volcanic activity. El Nino weather can include rain and flooding along the Pacific coast, tornadoes and thunderstorms in the southern U.S., and fewer than normal hurricanes in the Atlantic. The warm waters of El Nino are also known to disrupt the food chain of fish, birds and sea mammals. During an El Nino, an increased dryness can occur in areas typically saturated with rainfall between November and March in the western Pacific over Indonesia and northern Australia. On the flip side, other areas such as Peru and Ecuador see an increase in rainfall. In fact, the El Nino was discovered in Peru by fishermen who noticed that every three to seven years, there was an increase in rainfall.

El_Nino

Satellite Image of El Nino

La Nina happens about half as often as El Nino. During a La Nina, winter temperatures in the U.S. are warmer than normal in the Southeast and cooler than normal in the Northwest. La Nina, known for its cooling effect on the water in the Pacific Ocean, can include weather like snow and rain on the west coast, unusually cold weather in Alaska, unusually warm weather in the rest of the U.S., drought in the southwest, and a higher than normal number of hurricanes in the Atlantic.

La_Nina

Satellite Image of La Nina

The reason there are fewer hurricanes during El Nino, despite warmer waters, can be explained by the jet stream, or a long, narrow, wandering current of high speed winds blowing from a generally westerly direction several miles above the Earth’s surface. El Nino tends to suppress the formation of hurricanes by steering the subtropical jet stream into the hurricane’s path and effectively cutting off the tops of the hurricanes with its strong winds, preventing them from growing any bigger. During a La Nina, on the other hand, the jet stream works in the advantage of a forming hurricane, allowing them to grow with ease and great intensity.

 


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777 E. Princeton Street • Orlando, Florida 32803 • Phone: 407.514.2000 • TTY: 407.514.2005 • Toll Free: 888.OSC.4FUN • Email: gservices@osc.org
  Orlando Science Center is supported by United Arts of Central Florida, host of power2give.org/centralflorida and the collaborative Campaign for the Arts.
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