Holiday Fun at the Science Center

Orlando Science Center has holiday fun down to a science!

Join us through December for wintry programming, including our Dinos In Lights festive show and "cool" holiday activities like live shows, gift-making activities, winter-themed experiments, and more!

Dinos In Lights

Add some sparkle to the holiday season and see some of your favorite creatures from the Cretaceous in a whole new light with the festive Dinos In Lights show at Orlando Science Center! 
Join STAN the T-Rex and his fossil friends in DinoDigs as they show off their twinkling talent in a festive display of music and light. Each family-friendly show will run about four minutes.
This dazzling light show is included in general admission for a limited time so don't miss out! Be sure to see it multiple times on your visit as the experience is different from every angle. Shows begin every 30 minutes between 11:00 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. daily from November 14 through January 4.

Winter Science Month Programming

Celebrate togetherness & collaboration during this winter science season! Participate in cool STEM activities and learn about the science behind your favorite New Year's Eve fireworks with a live KABOOM show, or go green and get some hand-made holiday gift inspiration in The Hive: A Makerspace and KidsTown Studio!

Orlando Science Center is open 7 days a week through January 24 for maximum holiday fun! View the Science Live! Schedule before you arrive for a list of that day's special activites. 

*Orlando Science Center will be closed on November 26 and December 24-25

An OSC Science Program Interpreter explodes a balloon of flammable gas on stage during a KABOOM! Live Show

Cool Kids Only Night at the Museum

December 19, 2020

During Kids Night at the Museum youth ages 5 to 12 years old are invited to chill in exhibit halls, experience some (literally) cool science programming, and enjoy dinner and a film in age-appropriate small groups to adhere to social distancing guidelines.

Caregivers can enjoy a stress and child-free evening on the town while children have an entertaining experience of their own exploring the wonders of everything the Science Center has to offer. 

two kids playing with lights

Come for the sites, stay for the lights! 

Plunge into the heart of the drama and ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. Spectacular immersive moments allow you to experience the destruction of the city and to identify with the inhabitants of that time, immobilized by the volcano’s ashes.

Through genuine artifacts and artwork, interactive mechanical devices, and multimedia experiences, you will embark on a journey through time into the daily life of a first-century Roman town with blockbuster exhibit Pompeii: The Immortal City

Guests watching a film in 360 theater

We've got holiday shopping down to a science! 

Don't forget to stop by The Science Store for a great way to get a head start on your holiday shopping, while supporting your local Science Center!

Are you a member? Show your Membership card at The Science Store and receive 10% off your purchase!

Gift Memberships are also available so you can give the gift of science all year long!

cartdboard cutout of a t-rex with christmas lights

Want to experience Winter Science Month all season long? Consider becoming a member so you can come back as often as you'd like to participate in all of the holiday programming!

Are Birds Dinosaurs? Looking Into the Dino-Dominated Past

Three toes. Two legs. Little arms. Are dinosaurs birds, or are birds dinosaurs?

Have you ever wanted to see a dinosaur in real life? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to go somewhere like a Jurassic Zoo or a Cretaceous Park and see a T. rex or Apatosaurus doing its dino thing? Creatures such as sharks and horseshoes crabs have stood the test of time, and their descendants can be observed today. But what about other ancient animals? 

We can learn a great deal by looking at their fossils, but there is something else we can do in our modern era to get a glimpse at what dinosaurs may have been like: go bird watching! That’s right! As strange as it may seem, there is a large body of evidence collected by scientists that suggests that birds are in fact the closest living relatives to dinosaurs! But before you grab your hiking gear and binoculars, here are a few cool facts to help you answer the question, "Are birds dinosaurs?"

A dinosaur named Archaeopteryx may be the evolutionary link between dinosaurs and birds.

Archaeopteryx was discovered in Germany and was surprisingly well preserved. Paleontologists found one specimen that still had feathers! It was long believed that

Archaeopteryx was the first bird, but upon further study, it was found to be more closely related to the Maniraptoran family of dinosaurs than modern birds. This further cemented its place as a bridge, or transition fossil, between dinosaurs and birds.

Archaeopteryx fossils are birds

Birds are related to theropod dinosaurs — a group that includes the Tyrannosaurus rex.

Theropods were bipedal dinosaurs, meaning they walked on two legs, not four like many other dinosaurs. When we look at the modern-day emu or ostrich, the resemblance to these dinosaurs is striking, especially when examining their bone structure.

However, they are not the only birds with similarities to theropods. Underneath Orlando Science Center’s resident T. rex, Stan, we have a skeleton of a chicken to show their shared ancestry. Comparing the two makes one realize how lucky we are that chickens don’t get as big as the mighty Tyrannosaurus rex.

bird and dinosaur skeleton

Birds have scales like many dinosaurs and some dinosaurs may have had feathers.

Scientists have discovered that the tissues used to produce scales in reptiles are similar to those that produce feathers in birds. This suggests that there is a common ancestor between dinosaurs, birds, and reptiles. Furthermore, birds have scales on their feet!

A recently discovered dinosaur in China had preserved skin with what looks like feathers, or what paleontologists refer to as proto-feathers. However, further study is required, and this is a topic of debate among scientists.

bird and dinosaurs has scales

Birds lay eggs similar to dinosaurs and reptiles.

The similarities between bird and reptile eggs are well known, but they also share traits with dinosaur eggs.

Most dinosaur eggs are hard-shelled, just like the eggs of our modern-day feathered friends. They are also both made up of the same basic elements, calcium, and carbon, which form crystal structures that make the eggshell more difficult to crack.

dinosaurs and birds lay similar eggs

Some modern birds still have claws similar to Maniraptoran dinosaurs.

There is a reason modern birds of prey are often referred to as raptors. Their talons have a similar curvature to those found in dinosaurs like the velociraptor. In the case of the bald eagle, these talons are used to tightly grip their prey.

Other birds have different uses for their talons. The cassowary, native to Australia, is a large flightless bird that can grow as tall as 5.6 feet. With a large crest on their head and blue skin, they look like they walked right out of a time machine! Their claws are mainly used in self-defense. When threatened, these modern-day dinos will rear up and attempt to jab at their attacker with frightening precision.

raptor dinosaur and birds

Expand on the lesson!

So, are birds dinosaurs? Now that we've explored this question, and have learned about how birds are related to dinosaurs, you can go out bird watching and make your own scientific observations! Here in Florida, you don’t have to travel far to spot dinosaur descendants. Birds like the sandhill crane, red-shouldered hawk, and bald eagle can be found in your own backyard or on a short hike!  Create and chart your observations with this DIY animal chart activity!

Make sure to stay safe and take precautions while looking for dino descendants! If you want to learn more about living animals or dinosaurs, be sure to stop by Natureworks or DinoDigs at the Orlando Science Center. We look forward to seeing you!

are sand crane birds dinosaurs

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In these ever-changing times, it is our pleasure to adapt quality Orlando Science Center experiences to engage with everyone while they are safe at home. Please consider supporting our operating fund to ensure we can continue developing resources today and well into the future. Thank you for your generosity and support!