Celebrate World Turtle Day on May 23!

If the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer exhibit has gotten you out of your shell, now is the best time to learn how you can be a friend to more than 30 species of turtles that call Florida home! With these little reptiles being a staple of our lakes and oceans, it’s easy to forget how turtley remarkable they really are. Can you believe some of your neighborhood turtles could possibly be older than you?

 

These tough creatures may have shells made of over 50 bones, but they still need our help to survive. With 61% of freshwater turtle species and nearly all sea turtle species endangered, it’s up to us to take some easy steps to protect our favorite semi-aquatic neighbors.

Here are Four Ways You Can Help Save Turtles

  • Many plastic items are mistaken as food by turtles when they end up in our waterways. Using reusable bags, straws and water bottles not only saves you money, but also helps protect our ecosystem.
  • Litter on our beaches can be dangerous, especially to the 68,000 loggerhead turtles that nest on our coasts annually. Make it a goal to pick up any litter you find when having a beach day.
  • Give nesting turtles plenty of space and never disturb a nest if you come across one. If you're fortunate enough to see sea turtles hatching, maintain your distance and turn off all lights from your portable electronic devices.
  • Having a turtle as a pet is a lasting commitment not just for you, but for the turtle. Only take responsibility for one if you have a long-term plan. Many unwanted turtles are released into the wild and cannot survive on their own.
Learn More

The Chelonian Research Institute, Sea Turtle Preservation Society, The Central Florida Wildlife Center and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Committee are great community partners for anyone who wants to learn more about Florida’s turtles and what we can be doing to help save them.

 

Visit NatureWorks on the first level of the Science Center to see and even safely touch our beautiful native Turtles and Tortoises!

 

This information was sourced from See Turtles, Tufts Wildlife Clinic, and The Atlantic Oceanographic & Meteorological Laboratory.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets Of The Sewer Exhibit Opens May 25 at Orlando Science Center!

Presented by Nemours Children's Health System

Turtle Power! After three decades of battling evil and exemplifying teamwork, the beloved Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™ (TMNT) will make waves this summer at Orlando Science Center! The four funny “heroes in a half-shell” will share life lessons and team-building skills with their crime-fighting tactics in Nickelodeon’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles™: Secrets of the Sewer™.

 

Be transported to the underground home of the crime-fighting heroes to see what really happens in their secret hideaway. TMNT brothers Leonardo (the tactical, courageous leader in blue), Michelangelo (the free-spirited jokester in orange), Raphael (the aggressive tough guy in red), and Donatello (the scientist and technological genius in purple) invite you to their New York City sewer lair to train and learn with them.

 

The Turtles are known and respected for their teamwork. As the TMNT’s sensei and adoptive father Splinter often tells them, “Together there is nothing you cannot accomplish.” Through team-building challenges, collaborative games and mind-teasing puzzles, visitors will learn how to work as a team with mental and physical challenges like assembling electrical circuit puzzles, navigating a rope maze, practicing ninja speed and slicing skills while playing a dexterity-based computer game, shredding up and practicing your balance on skateboards, and more!

 

So put on your bandanas and get ready to work together to defeat evil! Whether you come with friends, family, or ninjas in training, you’ll put the strength of your teamwork and cooperation skills to the test. Your crew will be sure to walk away with a bond as strong as this lean, mean, green team!

 

Cowabunga! You’re now ready to defeat evil — together!

 

Produced by The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis in cooperation with Nickelodeon ©2019 Viacom International Inc. All Rights Reserved. Nickelodeon, TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES and all related titles, logos, and characters are trademarks of Viacom International Inc. 

Inspiring Tomorrow’s Space Explorers

A Message from Orlando Science Center's President and CEO        

This summer we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. It’s been five decades since Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin first set foot on the lunar surface and it remains one of humankind’s greatest achievements. Orlando Science Center in particular was born out of the space race. In the fifties and early sixties, the space race was heating up at Cape Canaveral and our institution was launched to reinforce the importance of science learning and encourage young people to reach for the stars.

 

Inspiring curious minds has always been at the forefront of our mission. As we look to the future with a return to the moon and a staffed mission to Mars, Orlando Science Center’s role in promoting science literacy and encouraging future space explorers has never been more important. We have a number of exciting programs planned to commemorate the anniversary of stepping foot on the moon, and we are using this milestone to ignite curiosity and initiate discussion.

 

If you’re looking to honor the Apollo missions this summer, I encourage you to include Orlando Science Center in your plans. On July 20 and 21, we will host our big celebration, Moon Fest, a collection of live shows, films, and activities that will thrill all ages. Enjoy themed activities in Dr. Dare’s Lab and The Hive: A Makerspace, including making your own lunar colony or creating a constellation using LED lights. Our flight lab will host a Virtual Reality astronaut flight experience, and you can see the new giant screen documentary, Apollo 11, in the Dr. Phillips CineDome. You can also see the Neil Armstrong biography, First Man, in the digital adventure theater, plus a 3D documentary on space junk.

 

Central Florida has an important connection to the space race and Orlando Science Center is honored to be part of that legacy. This summer gives us a great opportunity to share the story of the moon landing as we all prepare for what comes next. The astronauts who will walk on Mars one day are currently in elementary school, which means one of them could be exploring our exhibits right now.

 

It is the duty of every science center to ensure that our experiences launch visitors on a journey to find their true potential. By presenting activities designed to encourage skill building, creativity and critical thinking, science centers are supporting formal education and helping propel people on a journey that could lead all the way to the cosmos. The sky is no longer the limit.

 

Sincerely,

JoAnn Newman

President and CEO of Orlando Science Center

Mess Fest is Back!

Join us on May 18 and 19 for the messiest weekend of the year at Orlando Science Center!

Mess Fest is back this year, featuring not only well-loved favorites but also new activities including three brand new mess zones that are bigger and messier than ever. Explore eight Mess Zones, including cosmic mess, Ice cream making, Splat-a-pult, and more! If you don’t make a mess, you’re not doing it right!

 

Plus, on May 19 only – meet The (Blue) Man Behind the Makeup, Eric de Lima Rubb, as he talks about the science, art, and MESS he experiences while performing in Blue Man Group at Universal CityWalk!

 

Hear from the Blue Man himself (minus the bald cap and the blue makeup) about playing with his food onstage, ask questions about the character, and stand back as Eric demonstrates iconic messy moments from the show.

 

Don’t miss these mess-tivities!

  • Mess Mania Obstacle Course
  • Paintsplosions
  • Oobleck
  • Alka rockets
  • Blacklight Cosmic Mess
  • Splat-a-pult
  • Ice Cream Making

*Some activities are weather permitting.

 

Plus, stop by The Hive: A Makerspace to get your own Mess Fest branded T-Shirt from Merchmakr! 

 

Prepare for Mess Fest at home with this colorful DIY experiment! Click here to download the instructions to “Rainbow Reactions” or click the button below. We suggest setting up a workspace outdoors to keep the mess outside your home. Then, take a photo and share on social media #MessFest for a chance to be featured on our page!

Please note that Orlando Fringe will also be taking place in Loch Haven Park this weekend and parking in Orlando Science Center’s garage will be limited. We strongly encourage visitors to enjoy both events and recommend carpooling with friends and arriving early.

 

Orlando Science Center’s Mess Fest is included with general admission, which is free for members, $20.95 for adults, $18.95 for students and seniors, $14.95 for youth (ages 3–11), and free for children 2 and under. Admission includes access to all four floors of hands-on exhibits, giant-screen films in the Dr. Phillips CineDome, 3D films in the Digital Adventure Theater and live programming.

May The Fourth Be With You

To celebrate Star Wars on May the Fourth (be with you), visitors can experience a day of Sci Fi fun and excitement.

Enjoy Star Wars-themed activities and our new live show, Peeps in SPACE! It’s a show so messy that it makes Jabba Hutt look neat! See what will happen to everyone’s favorite marshmallow critter if it were subjected to the conditions of deep space. Prepare to see these Peeps smashed, molded, exploded and more. Darth Vader would be proud!

 

Additionally, Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit cardholders can enjoy free admission to the Science Center as part of the Museums on Us program Saturday and Sunday, May 4 and 5. The deal applies to cardholder only and does not include additional guests or children.

 

Timed Experiences on Saturday, May 4: 

  • Droid Training, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Train a Sphero droid to navigate around the Dark Side as a Rebel Spy!
  • Peeps in SPACE! 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. – This hilariously messy live show explores what would happen to everyone's favorite marshmallow candy if they were subjected to extreme heat, extreme cold and the pressures of a vacuum.
  • Open make in The Hive: A Maker Space – Step into The Hive and work at your own pace to create a recycled model of Star Wars scenes & ships.
  • Sci Fi Planet Tour 3:30 p.m. – Discover the real-life inspirations behind your favorite favorite sci-fi stories at Science on a Sphere

Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition Winner is Pooja Shah

High School Junior’s Green Algae Research Scores Top Prize!

Pooja Shah, a junior at Melbourne’s West Shore Jr./Sr. High School was named the grand prize winner in Orlando Science Center’s Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. The awards ceremony was held on Sunday, April 28 at the historic Dubsdread Ballroom near Orlando Science Center.

 

For over 20 years, Dr. Nelson Ying — a local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of our community’s young scientists.  Shah’s research project on green algae was rewarded with a $5,000 scholarship, a $1,000 award for her science teacher and an additional $1,000 for her school.

 

To compete in the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, each entrant must perform a research project that ultimately benefits humanity by solving a world problem. Projects are presented to a distinguished panel of judges including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.

Pooja Shah, Grand Prize winner of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition

 

Shah’s research project created a quorum sensing model in green algae, which can lead to a better understanding of these organisms. Ultimately, her findings could help researchers to develop solutions to algae blooms, coral reef disease and threats to human health.

She has been researching in a plant physiology lab at Florida Institute of Technology since her freshman year. In addition to science, her interests include playing the violin, running cross country and playing basketball. Shah also coaches a special needs basketball team and hopes to combine her love of science research with her passion for helping others with a career in the medical field after college.

First Runner Up

Her fellow finalists were also recognized with prizes. First runner up honors were shared by Kyle Bramblett, a junior at Titusville High School, and Kishen Mitra, also a junior at West Shore. Both reserved $1500 scholarships for their research. Bramblett designed an artificial structure that would have significant effects on increasing the average oyster growth rate and improving the calcium and carbonate levels in water near these structures while Mintra is devoted to developing an organ-on-a-chip system as a risk prediction tool for assessing damage during radiation therapy on patients.

Kyle Bramblett, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kyle Bramblett, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kishen Mitra, First Runner Up of Dr. Ying Science Competition
Kishen Mitra, First Runner Up of the 2019 Dr. Ying Science Competition

Second Runner Up 

Second Runner up was a tie between Alex Carnes, a junior at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, and Laboni Santra, a sophomore at Oviedo High School. Carnes created an application that would allow parents to non-intrusively monitor their child’s social media accounts for cyberbullying while Santra designed and fabricated microneedle patches for delivery of therapeutics directly to phloem tissue, which combats citrus greening – a bacterial threat to Florida’s nine billion dollar citrus industry.

Alex Carnes, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Alex Carnes, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Laboni Santra, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition
Laboni Santra, Second Runner Up of the Dr. Ying Science Competition

Dr. Nelson Ying is a longtime supporter of Orlando Science Center. In 1997, after sponsoring numerous exhibits and serving on the board, he decided to try something new.  He wanted to support the Science Center’s mission to inspire science learning for life while also creating an opportunity to inspire and encourage exceptional science achievement among young people.

 

He and Fred Curtis, another long-time Science Center volunteer and donor, started the Dr. Ying Science Competition in 1998. Ying hopes to inspire young people to become good role models and successful world-changers by leveraging their passion for science. Dr. Ying’s son, Nelson Jr., now oversees the competition with Ying and Curtis in collaboration with Orlando Science Center.

TDT Funding Means the Beginning of LIFE

Orlando Science Center is grateful to have received approval from Mayor Demings and the Orange County Board of Commissioners for a Tourist Development Tax grant of $10 million to fund the development and installation of LIFE, an all-new conservation exhibit. LIFE is Phase III of our ongoing $35 million comprehensive campaign to revitalize our educational content and renovate exhibits to meet the integral STEM learning needs of our growing community.

 

This exhibit will tell the story of conservation through the creatures that share our planet. By encountering live animals and learning more about their changing habitats, visitors will better understand how our actions affect all living things. LIFE will focus on three distinct world environments: Ocean, Rain Forest and Swamp. These areas will feature hands-on experiential learning that will vividly demonstrate our own interconnectedness with the natural world. Visitors will be engaged and empowered to take positive action to conserve our natural resources and protect our fragile planet.

 

Thanks to TDT grant funding, development can now begin on LIFE. The entire process will take approximately two years with an estimated premiere date in Fall 2021. Orlando Science Center will be working with ROTO, Inc, a world-renowned exhibit design firm, which previously designed and built our popular early childhood space, New KidsTown.

 

The approval of this funding request came after approvals and recommendations by the TDT Application Review Committee in January and the Tourist Development Council in March. The LIFE project received the highest score amongst the four other groups that had applied for funding through this cycle of the TDT grant program.

Science Stars Compete for Top Prize

Since 1999, Dr. Nelson Ying — local scientist, entrepreneur and philanthropist — has partnered with Orlando Science Center to celebrate the exemplary achievements of local science students through the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition. Beginning April 26 and ending with a finalist luncheon on April 28, high school students from across Central Florida will present their groundbreaking scientific research that has the potential to solve some of humanity’s most pressing issues.

 

To compete in the Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition, each entrant must perform a research project that has the ultimate goal of benefiting humanity. Projects are presented to a distinguished panel of judges including current and retired engineers, scientists, educators, and Dr. Ying himself.

 

This science competition has been a part of Orlando Science Center for 21 years, and along with Dr. Ying, is thrilled to be able give these future innovators a platform to showcase their talents. The winner of the competition will receive $5,000 for their hard work, $1,000 for their school and $1,000 for their teacher or mentor. Previous winners have gone on to continue their research at top universities and even work at NASA.

 

From cyberbullying solutions, to saving Florida’s nine-billion dollar citrus industry, these are the finalists of the 2019 Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition

 

Kyle Bramblett_2019 Ying Finalist
Kyle Bramblett, 2019 Ying Finalist

Kyle Bramblett

 

Kyle Bramblett is a junior at Titusville High School. His passion for swimming, fishing and kayaking has inspired him to dedicate his life to saving marine ecosystems through environmental engineering. Kyle will be presenting his groundbreaking research on designing an artificial structure to house a calcite media that dissolves over an extended period of time. Scientists can use this design to increase oyster populations and improve calcium and carbonate levels in the water.

 

Laboni Santra_2019 Ying Finalist
Laboni Santra, 2019 Ying Finalist

Laboni Santra

 

Laboni Santra, a sophomore at Oviedo High School, has been dedicated to resolving the phloem-restricted bacterial disease of citrus greening since middle school. Her groundbreaking work has led her to success in the Florida State Science and Engineering Fair and a state bid to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. She will be presenting the 3D-printed novel microneedle patch she designed to directly deliver therapeutics to phloem to resolve citrus greening.

 

Kishen Mitra_ 2019 Ying Finalist
Kishen Mitra, 2019 Ying Finalist

Kishen Mintra

Kishen Mitra is a junior at West Shore Junior/Senior High School. When he’s not carrying out his duties as founder of his school’s Engineering Club, performing with local orchestras and volunteering at the Space Coast FabLab, Kishen is pursuing his dream to enter the field of cardio-oncology. He will be presenting cutting-edge research on developing an organ-on-a-chip system that works as a risk prediction tool for assessing damage during radiation therapy on patients.

Alex Carnes_ 2019 Ying Finalist
Alex Carnes, 2019 Ying Finalist

Alex Carnes

Alex Carnes has been passionate about STEM since he was a child. After pursuing projects in hydroponics and post-athletic evaluation in middle school, Alex’s love for computer programming and his desire improve the world led him to develop an app to curb cyberbullying and adolescent suicide. He will be showcasing his innovative app that would allow parents to non-intrusively monitor their child's social media accounts for cyberbullying.

 

Pooja Shah, 2019 Ying FInalist
Pooja Shah, 2019 Ying FInalist

Pooja Shah

 

Pooja Shah is a junior at West Shore Junior/Senior High School. In addition to being a part of a plant physiology lab at Florida Institute of Technology, Pooja also plays violin, partakes in track and basketball and coaches a special needs basketball team. She is presenting her innovative quorum sensing model in green algae to help researchers develop solutions to algae blooms, coral reef disease and threats to human health.

Superpower Dog Day on April 28

Meet your favorite four-legged friends & discover their superpowers! 

Meet the super-powered dogs in our community during Superpower Dog Day on April 28! Watch search and rescue dogs practice their life-saving skills, discover the science behind these talented canines’ sense of smell and even give a superhero dog a high five! Superpower Dog Day is the final celebration of Orlando Science Center’s super-powered, super cool, Superhero Science Month.

 

Here are just some of the highlights of this paw-sitively spectacular event!

  • Meet real search and rescue dogs from Search and Rescue Central Florida and see them in action in DinoDigs.
  • Make your own recycled dog toy in The Hive: A Makerspace.
  • Learn about Superpower Dog noses, how & why dogs search for a human scent, & the effect of weather & terrain on a dog's scent.
  • Learn what to do if you get lost outside & how best to help a search dog find you!
  • Meet Florida Task Force 4 and learn how disaster search dogs are trained.

 

Don’t forget to see our newest film, Superpower Dogs 3D, and follow the lives of five dogs that are saving lives and helping people across the world. This remarkable event is a reminder that every dog has the power to be super!

Top 10 Ways To Practice Conservation This Earth Day

Become a conservation hero this Earth Day!

From upcycling your old items to being a friend to animals, there’s no limit to what you can do. Celebrate Earth Day on April 22 with these 10 creative and exciting ways to have fun while protecting our planet.

  1. Upcycle water bottles Recycling your plastic water bottles is great. Upcycling them to become planters is even better! Simply cut off the top of your water bottle to any height you desire and you’ll have the perfect vessel to hold your soil and plant. Make it an art project by painting and decorating your new planter.
  2. Upcycle newspapers – Did you know that 69% of newspapers are thrown away every day? Instead of tossing your newspaper after reading it, make some beautiful and functional decorations for your home. All you need to make unique coasters for your table is a newspaper, raw spaghetti strands, and a quilling tool.
  3. Upcycle glass jars Turn your used sauce and salsa jars into storage containers! Simply wash them out with soap and water, and let your imagination do the rest! From making a piggybank to a makeup brush holder, the possibilities are endless.
  4. Create recycled projects in The Hive: A Makerspace Join us at Orlando Science Center in The Hive: A Makerspace. It’s the perfect place to unleash your creativity. Make custom embroidered patches and turn someone else’s trash into your treasure at our Embroidery and Recycled Art workshop. Or become a friend to bees by making a bee house out of wood scraps in our Bee House workshop! Check out our upcoming workshops in The Hive here. 
  5. Watch for wildlife when driving Take the extra moment to look for wildlife that may be crossing the street when you’re driving. Be aware that animals like squirrels, armadillos, opossums and deer tend to run across the street, especially near wooded areas.
  6. Leave water out for animals As temperatures start to rise, it’s important to give your backyard neighbors as many sources of water as possible. A bird bath can look lovely in your yard and provide water for birds, squirrels and deer. You can also simply leave a bowl of water in the shade to help many other animals stay refreshed.
  7. Carpool to work or school Take a break from using gas every day by sharing driving responsibilities with a colleague or classmate. Carpooling not only reduces your carbon footprint, it also saves you money and gives you a travel buddy during your morning commute.
  8. Pick up litter at the beach – Make it a goal to pick up as much litter as possible during your next beach day or outdoor adventure. Make a competition out of it—whoever picks up the most litter wins!
  9. Plant a garden – Flowers and other plants won’t only make your home look even more beautiful, they’ll also help the planet! By putting more plants in your yard, you can attract species like butterflies and bees. These pollinators will help keep your garden and other wildlife in your community healthy.
  10. Bike to your local destinations Reduce your carbon footprint and support your health by riding your bike instead of driving! Feel good from the rush of endorphins that comes with exercising and knowing you’re helping the environment.