From Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact: Teaching with What is on Trend

From the moons of Jupiter to the fictional moons of Endor, Orlando Science Center doesn’t just keep up with science, we keep up with science fiction! Our primary mission is to inspire science learning for life, but who says learning can’t be fun? Our educators are masters at merging pop culture and trending topics with our curriculum to create iconic experiences that educate and entertain.

 

From Star Wars to superheroes, from Harry Potter to Minecraft and more, our educators and science interpreters develop hands-on activities that connect your interests to science learning. For example, we have a MARVEL-ous way of teaching Newton’s Laws of Physics, elasticity, and the power of electromagnets in our live Super Science Show. Find out if you’re worthy enough to lift Thor’s hammer or rival the powers of the X-Men using science!

 

Our vision is to be the spark that ignites innovation. Whether guests want to learn about physics for a spell, brew up some chemistry, or discover even Stranger Things, our themed break camps, workshops, and experiments can spark an interest in anyone! Our live science shows explore topics ranging from electricity to states of matter to thrill and educate audiences.The same dramatic flair is on display within our traveling exhibit hall as science interpreters present original interactive content inspired by the current exhibit. From ninja moves to neuron training, each new exhibit is a chance to experience something new.

 

How about a trend that finally gives you a reason to put your phone down? The Hive: A Makerspace has taken hands-on learning full S.T.E.A.M ahead. Capitalizing on the maker movement, which empowers participants to move from consumers to creators,The Hive provides the latest tools to help you turn your ideas into a reality. From 3D printing to wearable tech,The Hive challenges guests to reach outside their comfort zone and create something truly unique.

 

Engaging audiences creates a pathway to learning both inside the Science Center and out in the community. Our education team has a library of unique hands-on STEM activities that make science come alive for students during either an in-class workshop or a Family Science Night after hours at their school. Our education team leverages the latest trends, whether it’s virtual reality, robots or flying drones, while connecting to educational state standards, and inspiring students to take the next step toward achieving their true potential.

 

Our newly developed drone program is currently taking flight at schools throughout Central Florida. This opportunity gives students the chance to learn different ways drones are used to solve real- world problems while actively getting their hands on emerging technology. If you’d like to learn more about what our educators could bring to your child’s school, please contact our team at 407.514.2112 or email classes@osc.org.

20 Things to Look Forward to in 2020

As we look back on 2019, we can’t help but think of all the amazing events, exhibits and visitors that made it one of Orlando Science Center’s best years yet! From hosting the world premiere of traveling exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine, to our Education team taking Orlando Science Center to families in Guantanamo Bay — 2019 was a year of discovery, learning, incredible accomplishments and so much more. As we look ahead to 2020, we can’t wait for all of the new and exciting traveling exhibits, events, and of course visitors that we’ll see this coming year. 

Here are 20 things to look forward to at Orlando Science Center in 2020.

1. Otronicon v. 15: We can’t believe it’s been 15 years since the first Otronicon Expo! This year, Otronicon will be bigger and better than ever! From our brand-new Community Events to the O-tech Startup Showcase, workshops and more! Join us on January 17 to 20 for four days of interactive tech. Click here to learn more.

 

2. Science Night Live: Come see how grown-ups do the Science Center! Orlando Science Center is reserved strictly for adults at Science Night Live, with grown-up-inspired programming, hands-on challenges, experiments and guest speakers. No two events are alike, so be sure to attend each one! Adult beverages and light bites are available for purchase. Join us for the first one of the year on January 18, 2020, featuring Otronicon programming! Ages 21+ only.  Learn more.

 

3. Monthly Themed Events: New science, same science center! Join us each month of the year for a new theme, new live shows, and new content. From engineering to the great outdoors, every month we’ll celebrate a different avenue of science with a big weekend event! Be sure to “like” us on Facebook, and check our website regularly to ensure you’re always in the know!

 

4. Top Secret: License to Spy: Opening January 25, 2020, this exhibit focuses on the science and technology of spying and espionage. On arrival at the exhibition, the visitor is presented with a scenario and six suspects. Armed with a Spy File, the visitor is challenged with gathering intelligence from selected exhibits to uncover information on the suspects, leading them on a journey of discovery into the secret world of spies.

 

5. Science Competitions: The Curtis Rising Stars Challenge, Curtis Kinetic Science Competition, Lockheed Martin Science Challenge, and Dr. Nelson Ying Science Competition all support children and young adults in their scientific endeavors by allowing them to showcase their accomplishments, gain access to mentors in the community, and get aid for their future academic and career goals. Learn more about these STEM competitions and how you can get involved!

 

6. Break Camps: When school is out, break camps are in! Orlando Science Center hosts break camps when Orange County Public Schools or Seminole County Public Schools are out of session for teacher work days and holiday breaks. Engaging break camps give children a productive and fun way to spend their time off from school with a chance to learn more about STEM in an exciting, interactive environment. Click here for dates and topics.

 

7. STEM Day at the Capitol: Orlando Science Center will take to the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee with fellow STEM partners to highlight how strategic partnerships fill the STEM talent pipeline! There will be experiments, flight simulators and more for state legislators to experience while discussing the importance of STEM education as it relates to growing Florida’s technological workforce.

 

8. Science of Wine Fundraiser 10th year: Sip, Savor and Support the mission of Orlando Science Center on April 25, 2020! Science of Wine is a unique wine and food tasting with an educational twist. More than 150 of the finest wines from all of the major regions of the world will be represented thanks to our presenting sponsor, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits. Local gourmet restaurants and caterers will also be present to pair the wines with a variety of delectable dishes, and guests can purchase add-on experiences such as cooking demonstrations and seminars. Click here to learn more.

 

9. Mess Month: May will be our messiest month ever! Instead of one weekend of Mess Fest, this year, every weekend will be a marvelous mess! Each weekend will showcase a different sense, so you’ll see, hear, touch, and smell a different mess every visit!

 

10. Workshops in The Hive: A Makerspace and Dr. Dare’s Lab: Get a handle on hands-on learning! Weekends at OSC are full of workshops, lab experiments, and open-make activities. If you haven’t taken a workshop in The Hive: A Makerspace, presented by the Isaacs Family yet — you’re missing out on creativity, STEM learning and fun! Workshops take place each weekend, and on select Thursdays. From 3D Printing to Sewing 101, you’ll leave with a newfound skill after attending workshops in The Hive. 

 

11. Pompeii: The Immortal City: Making its fourth and final stop at Orlando Science Center on June 6, 2020, Pompeii The Immortal City will plunge guests into the heart of the drama and ruins of the ancient city of Pompeii. Spectacular immersive moments allow guests to experience the destruction of the city and to identify with the inhabitants of that time, immobilized by the volcano’s ashes.

Don’t miss the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience this exhibit! Click here to learn more.

 

12. Summer Camps: Orlando Science Center offers hands-on summer camps so that children entering Preschool* through Grade 9 can dive deep into their favorite STEM topics while school is out! Members get first pick at camps, plus an amazing discount during the month of January! Become a Member today to enjoy Summer Camp presale. Click here to become a  Member. . *Preschool is a DCF licensed center C09OR0729.

 

13. Science After Sundown: This summer, when the sun goes down, your IQ goes up as you experience science fun and discovery during late nights at Orlando Science Center. On Friday & Saturday nights, experience the Science Center with fewer crowds than the busy daytime hours! Come later in the day and stay through the evening, or just stop by after dinner for a few hours of casual brain-bolstering.

 

14. New movies: Go on a giant-screen adventure, or immerse yourself in astounding 3D locales, with educational and Hollywood films in one of our two theaters! From Toy Story 4 to Volcanoes: The Fires of Creation, you’re going to lava all the new flicks coming to OSC throughout the year!

 

15. Bubble Bash: Pop over for the cleanest mess of the year! Learn about the science of soap, from why bubbles are round to why scientists in different fields study bubbles. From workshops in The Hive to FOAMsplosions on the Terrace, OSC will be bursting with bubbles!

 

16. Design Zone: Discover that math isn’t just a subject in school—it’s a fundamental, creative tool that artists and engineers use to design and invent! Coming to the Science Center in fall 2020, Design Zone highlights the relationship between mathematical thinking and the creative process in art, music, and engineering.

 

17. Bank of America Weekends: On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America or Merill Lynch debit or credit card holders can receive free admission on Saturdays and Sundays to Orlando Science Center through the Bank of America Museums on Us program. To gain free entry, present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch debit or credit card and a matching photo ID. The deal applies to cardholder only and does not include additional guests or children.

 

18. OSC After Dark: Have a frightfully fantastic night at the museum as you dance the night away in DinoDigs, enjoying some wicked tricks and treats. Special experiences include a costume contest, live music and entertainment, sweet and savory bites, and booo-z beverages! Ages 21 and up only. OSC After Dark takes place in October. Check back for the date and details.

 

19. Pumpkins & Protons: This spooky party is out most popular member-only event of the year! Bring your entire clan of monsters for a safe night of Halloween fun for creatures of all ages, and enjoy scary carnival games, trick-or-treat, and help the Ghostflusters save the Science Center.

 

20. Noon Year’s Eve: You don’t have to wait until midnight, ring in the New Year with us! Countdown to the New Year with Stan the T-Rex and the rest of OSC, and start the year with science!

Noon Year’s Eve Celebration

You don’t have to stay up past your bedtime to ring in the New Year! Stomp in on December 31 for Orlando Science Center’s Rawr-in’ Noon Year’s Eve! Dress to impress because we’re transforming DinoDigs into a dapper 1920s dance hall as we countdown to a confetti drop at noon!

Come early and you can write your New Year’s resolutions, make party wear and noisemakers, and catch a variety show leading up to the countdown!

Stick around after the countdown and enjoy Winter Science Month programming!

  • See your favorite cretaceous carnivores aglow in festive holiday show Dino’s In Lights
  • Customize your own slimy concoction at the slime bar in Dr. Dare’s Lab
  • Learn about the science of fireworks and explosions at To Infinity and Kaboom! live stage show!
  • Join us on the terrace for a fun FOAMsplosion!
  • And much more!

Fairy Tale Weekend Presented by Florida Prepaid

Hear ye, hear ye!  

 The Kingdom of KidsTown would like to cordially invite you to join us as we celebrate Fairy Tale Weekend presented by Florida Prepaid College Plans! Steer your horse-drawn carriage over to Orlando Science Center February 8 & 9 to celebrate an enchanting weekend of STEM learning inspired by your favorite fables. 

 

By using fairy tales and stories, kids aren’t just learning, they’re excited to learn, and they take those lessons with them. Our young guests love these fables, and it’s a unique opportunity to harness that, and help children and families to write and celebrate their own story!

 

Cross the troll bridge if you dare and join us for hands-on fun! Fairy Tale Weekend is going to be one for the books! 

 

Event Table of Contents: 

 

•  Go on an enchanted quest! Adventure your way through KidsTown to help feed a hangry dragon 

 

•  Put your engineering skills to the test and see if you can build a castle worthy of royalty! 

 

•  Dress to impress! Wear your favorite family-friendly fantasy costume! 

 

•  Whether you’re a jester or a dragon, head to DinoDigs to make and take your own crown, wand, storybook, and more! 

 

•  Brew up some magic in Dr. Dare’s Lab, and learn about the chemistry behind magic potions. 

 

•  Meet real-life explorer, Dr. Pål Brekke as he shares the history and science behind the breathtaking Northern Lights.

 

COST:

Admission to Orlando Science Center is FREE for members*, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant-screen and 3D educational films, and live programming.

 

SCIENCE FOR ALL – General Admission Access Program: 

If you have an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) or WIC card with a State issued photo ID matching the name and state as the card, you qualify for a $3 admission per person for up to six individuals.

 

*Become a member for unlimited access to Orlando Science Center all year long, discounts to camps, and special member-only events!

Learn How To Code Like A Wizard, Make Stop-Motion Animation, and More During Otronicon Workshops!

Become the next great innovator at Otronicon with our engaging, expert-led workshops!

From creating your own bioluminescent 3D printed organism to learning how to set up a state-of-the-art home security system, you’ll leave these workshops with a newfound skill and appreciation for STEM. 

 

Workshop registration is available in the Club House on Level 1. Space is limited and is available on a first come, first served basis so please sign up upon arriving at Otronicon to guarantee your spot. Starting January 13, 2020, guests can reserve workshops in advance for a nominal fee of $5.00 by contacting the reservations department at classes@osc.org or 407.514.2112. Once you are registered we ask that you report to the Club House at least 15 minutes prior to your workshop time to be escorted to the classrooms.

 

Check out the exciting workshops you have to look forward to during Otronicon from January 17-20, 2020!

 


Aaron Cendan presents: Behind the Scenes of Integrating Sound in Games

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 13 and Up)

Have you ever wondered how the sounds of your footsteps in a video game change depending on the surface you are walking on, whether you are crouched, or whether you are carrying a backpack full of jingle bells? In "Behind the Scenes of Integrating Sound in Games," you will get the opportunity to record, edit, and integrate sound in a video game that changes based on context.

 


 

Disney presents: Star Wars Hour of Code

Monday, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 6 and Up)

This interactive experience introduces coding and computer science in a fun and easy to learn environment for students ages 6 and up. 


 

Dragonfly CGArtwork presents: Dragonfly TITAN Simulation NASA’s mission to Titan

Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30p.m. (30 min - All Ages)

Dragonfly T I T A N. It is a simulation game of NASA’s New Frontiers mission to Saturn’s moon Titan schedule to be launch on 2026 and arrive in 2034. The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of locations on Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet; it has eight rotors and flies like a large drone. It will take advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere to become the first vehicle ever to fly to new places around Titan.


 

Lockheed Martin presents: Production Methodology

Friday – Monday, 12:30 p.m., 1:30p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (60 min – All Ages)

The production methodology workshop will allow participants to work together to build a product, reading and understanding procedures, process improvement, and understand the importance of team communication.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Camp Know Where Rule The Arcade

Friday, 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

It’s no surprise that the kids in Stranger Things spend a lot of time in the Arcade in Hawkins. Attendees will be told that Hawkins is putting in a new arcade, and they will get to be the ones to design the games to fill it. In the end, they will have a game based on the show that possibly even Mad Max can’t beat.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Literacy Skills for Emerging Readers

Friday and Monday, 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 6 and Up)

Build your reading foundation with Immersive Reader in the OneNote app. Explore tools that help improve focus while reading, identify parts of speech, and read text out loud.

 


 

Microsoft presents: MakeCode Minecraft

Saturday and Monday, 2:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Participants will create original coding programs in their own Minecraft world and learn new computer science concepts, such as events, coordinates, variables, and conditionals. They will practice using computational, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills. No prior experience with MakeCode or Minecraft is required.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Get Creative with 3D in Windows 10

Friday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m., and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

The world we live in is multidimensional, so shouldn’t our art be as well? Students will bring their imagination to life by learning new Paint 3D in Windows 10. In this high-energy collaborative environment, participants will fuel their creativity and learn key tools and features of 3D in Windows 10.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Understanding Cyberbullying – Be kind to everyone online

(In English) Friday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. | (en español) Monday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Participants will learn what cyberbullying is and why it happens, the best strategies to deal with cyberbullying and how to be kind and inclusive online.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Connect, create, and achieve more with Windows 10 and Office 365

(In English) Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and Monday, 3:30 p.m. | (en español) Sunday, 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

This workshop will show you how to collaborate on the go, keep your family safer online, stay organized with OneNote, and more. Participants choose topics of interest and leave understanding how to get empowered with Microsoft apps and tools like Windows 10, Pen and Windows Ink, Mobile Apps and more.

 


Aaron Cendan presents: Behind the Scenes of Integrating Sound in Games

Sunday, 1:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 13 and Up)

Have you ever wondered how the sounds of your footsteps in a video game change depending on the surface you are walking on, whether you are crouched, or whether you are carrying a backpack full of jingle bells? In "Behind the Scenes of Integrating Sound in Games," you will get the opportunity to record, edit, and integrate sound in a video game that changes based on context.

 


 

Disney presents: Star Wars Hour of Code

Monday, 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 6 and Up)

This interactive experience introduces coding and computer science in a fun and easy to learn environment for students ages 6 and up. 


 

Dragonfly CGArtwork presents: Dragonfly TITAN Simulation NASA’s mission to Titan

Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 3:30p.m. (30 min - All Ages)

Dragonfly T I T A N. It is a simulation game of NASA’s New Frontiers mission to Saturn’s moon Titan schedule to be launch on 2026 and arrive in 2034. The rotorcraft will fly to dozens of locations on Titan looking for prebiotic chemical processes common on both Titan and Earth. Dragonfly marks the first time NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle for science on another planet; it has eight rotors and flies like a large drone. It will take advantage of Titan’s dense atmosphere to become the first vehicle ever to fly to new places around Titan.


 

Lockheed Martin presents: Production Methodology

Friday – Monday, 12:30 p.m., 1:30p.m. and 2:30 p.m. (60 min – All Ages)

The production methodology workshop will allow participants to work together to build a product, reading and understanding procedures, process improvement, and understand the importance of team communication.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Camp Know Where Rule The Arcade

Friday, 3:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

It’s no surprise that the kids in Stranger Things spend a lot of time in the Arcade in Hawkins. Attendees will be told that Hawkins is putting in a new arcade, and they will get to be the ones to design the games to fill it. In the end, they will have a game based on the show that possibly even Mad Max can’t beat.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Literacy Skills for Emerging Readers

Friday and Monday, 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 6 and Up)

Build your reading foundation with Immersive Reader in the OneNote app. Explore tools that help improve focus while reading, identify parts of speech, and read text out loud.

 


 

Microsoft presents: MakeCode Minecraft

Saturday and Monday, 2:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Participants will create original coding programs in their own Minecraft world and learn new computer science concepts, such as events, coordinates, variables, and conditionals. They will practice using computational, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills. No prior experience with MakeCode or Minecraft is required.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Get Creative with 3D in Windows 10

Friday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m., and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

The world we live in is multidimensional, so shouldn’t our art be as well? Students will bring their imagination to life by learning new Paint 3D in Windows 10. In this high-energy collaborative environment, participants will fuel their creativity and learn key tools and features of 3D in Windows 10.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Understanding Cyberbullying – Be kind to everyone online

(In English) Friday and Saturday, 12:30 p.m. | (en español) Monday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Participants will learn what cyberbullying is and why it happens, the best strategies to deal with cyberbullying and how to be kind and inclusive online.

 


 

Microsoft presents: Connect, create, and achieve more with Windows 10 and Office 365

(In English) Saturday, 10:30 a.m. and Monday, 3:30 p.m. | (en español) Sunday, 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

This workshop will show you how to collaborate on the go, keep your family safer online, stay organized with OneNote, and more. Participants choose topics of interest and leave understanding how to get empowered with Microsoft apps and tools like Windows 10, Pen and Windows Ink, Mobile Apps and more.

 


Orlando Science Center presents: Makey Makey

Sunday, 2:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Explore circuitry and conductivity through the Makey Makey - an invention kit for everyone! Turn everyday objects into touchpads and create your own video game controller in this fun hands-on workshop.

 


 

Orlando Science Center presents: Scratch Game Design

Sunday, 12:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Start programming in a snap using Scratch! Create games and digital art using this collaborative platform from the MIT Media Lab.

 


 

Orlando Science Center presents: Stop Motion Animation

Sunday, 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Bring your imagination to life using stop motion animation technology! We’ll learn how to use a green screen to create movies that take place anywhere in the world. We will use a stop motion app that can be downloaded on your own smartphone so that you can continue creating at home!

 


 

Society of Women Engineers presents: Catapults!

Sunday, 2:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

This workshop teaches any person how to create a catapult using everyday items. Participants will be able to test accuracy, power, and tower during this event.

 


 

Techpays Foundation presents: Code a home security camera with Raspberry Pi

Sunday 10:30 a.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Feeling safe is a basic human need. Coding and creating a home security camera and app can be the first line of defense. Attendees will learn how to operate a Raspberry Pi microcomputer and create a security system in this workshop!

 


 

UCF CREATE presents: Glorganisms

Friday and Saturday, 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and Saturday, 2:30 p.m. (60 min – Ages 8 and Up)

What are Glorganisms? No, it’s not an alien lifeform here to take over the planet. Glorganisms are bioluminescent (glow in the dark), 3D printed organisms. In this workshop, you will create a plant or an animal using a 3Doodler pen. There will be a black light so you can see your Glorganism glow in the dark. We will learn a little science and a little tech, but we will have A LOT of fun!

 


 

UCF GaIM presents: Maker Space Laser Cut Design 

Monday, 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. (90 min – Ages 8 and Up)

The UCF Games and Interactive Media Maker Space is presenting this workshop where visitors can participate in designing a project to be laser cut, which can be taken home. These designs can be wearable pendants, unique keychains, or small art works.

 


 

UCF Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy presents: Game Development Card Game

Friday, 12:30 p.m. and Sunday, 2:30 p.m. (90 min – Ages 8 and Up)

Game Dev Game is a 1-4 player card game that teaches about how video game development works. Players take on the roles of programmer, artist, designer, and producer to cooperatively build games based on random rolls of the dice for genre (like platformer, MMO) and theme (aliens, animals, etc.)

 


 

Women in Animation at UCF presents: The Principles of Animation – Flipbooks!

Friday, 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. (60 min – All Ages)

Women in Animation will be explaining the 12 principles of animation and demonstrate how to create a traditional flipbook animation with movement and secondary action.

 

Admission: Otronicon is free for OSC members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2-11). Click here to purchase Otronicon tickets.

 

Otronicon Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.

 

Science Night Live Featuring Otronicon: Saturday, January 18 from 8:00 – 11:30 p.m., Science Night Live is a 21-and-up event, and requires a separate ticket. Click here to purchase Science Night Live tickets.

 

For more information, please call 407.514.2000.

Cool Reindeer Facts You Didn’t Know

Eenie meenie miney doe, how many reindeer facts do you know?

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall, the biology of them all? You’ve probably heard this song before, but have you heard the science behind Santa’s fluffy helpers?

 

A reindeer by any other name could still pull a sleigh

What exactly is a reindeer? These animals are part of the deer family, or Cervidae, which includes deer, elk, moose, and wapiti. Reindeer are also commonly known as caribou. This classification is primarily based on location, or habitat. Reindeer refers to the domesticated animal, while caribou refers to the wild animal.

Female reindeer are slaying it!

Scientists have observed that male reindeer shed their antlers in early December after mating season, while female reindeer keep their antlers all year. This means that if the reindeer spotted pulling Santa’s sleigh on December 24 have antlers, they must be females, as males would have already shed their antlers.

The cold never bothered them anyway

Why does Santa have a reindeer-drawn sleigh instead of a horse-drawn carriage? Reindeer are native to cold climates like Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia and have adapted to the cold. A reindeer’s fur is made up of hollow hairs that trap in air and keep them well-insulated. They are also the only animal to have hair completely cover their noses. This helps warm up the cold air they breathe before it reaches their lungs.

The real red-nosed reindeer

You may remember Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and his shiny schnoz. Scientists say that having a rosy nose is not only possible but common in Santa’s furry friends. Reindeer have 25% more blood vessels in their nose than humans. This helps keep their noses warm, which allows them to warm up the frigid air before they breathe it in. Exposure to extreme cold, or exercise increases blood flow, and with so many extra blood vessels in their noses, they can turn a light rosy color.

Eye on the prize

Reindeer have also adapted to see ultraviolet light. While humans are no strangers to ultraviolet light, we are unable to see it. UV rays are commonly known to cause sunburn or snow blindness by reflecting brightly off of the white snow. Reindeer, however, have adapted the ability to these wavelengths. This not only protects their eyes but allows them to better see food or other animals camouflaged in the snow.

So next time you hear the pitter-patter of hooves on your roof, remember it’s no coincidence that Santa uses these gentle giants to pull his sleigh. Reindeer have adapted to weather their frosty environment and help deliver Christmas cheer all over the world.

5 Way To Go Green This Holiday Season

'Tis the season of red and green, but how green are you actually being? Americans create 25% more waste from Thanksgiving to New Year’s than any other time of year. That’s an extra 1 million tons of trash per week! Here are a few ways you can go green this holiday season without looking like the Grinch!

That’s a wrap on wrapping paper!

 

It’s a common misconception that wrapping paper can be recycled simply because it’s paper. However, coated, glittery, and textured paper materials cannot. When these unrecyclable materials get mixed in with recyclable products, it can result in the whole lot being thrown away. Instead, try using paper materials like newspapers, old maps, comics, or make your own!

Out with the old and in with the new

 

When you upgrade to new tech, don’t just toss out your old devices, recycle them! A United Nations study reported that 44.7 million tons of e-waste was discarded in 2016, and only 20% of it was disposed of properly. Here are some easy ways you can recycle, or donate and make a difference:

 

Call2Recycle is a nationwide organization that recycles old devices and batteries. You can simply mail in old tech without leaving your house, or enter your zip code to find a convenient location near you!

 

Does your old phone still function? The World Computer Exchange is a nonprofit organization that works to get developing countries into the digital age. They accept everything from computers to graphing calculators.   

Sew what else can I do?

 

Handmade gifts are a great way to show someone how you feel without creating excess waste. From bath bombs to jewelry making, you can’t go wrong with a personal touch.

 

Upcycling is another great way to save the planet and a little money. Old board games are a great way to customize a picture frame. Or grab some old clothing and embroider an embellishment.

embroidered jacket

Last but not leftovers

 

According to the WorldWatch Institute, Americans generate three times as much food waste between Thanksgiving and New Year’s as we do the rest of the year. Resolve to go green this year, by starting a compost! Are you a local? The City of Orlando will help you get started for free!

 

Composting is not as difficult or as disgusting as you might think! It can divert up 30% of food waste from a landfill and back into healing the Earth while offering a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers. Here is a simple step-by-step guide to creating your compost starting with the end of your Christmas tree!

Think outside the plastic box

 

Tired of giving gifts that will be outgrown or outdated in a few months? This holiday season, ditch the plastic packaging and gift an experience. You can avoid creating excess waste by gifting tickets to movies or events, certificates for chores or date night, gift cards that can be reloaded and re-gifted, or gift a membership to a favorite theme park or science center!

Otronicon Keynote Speaker: Kate Edwards

Kate Edwards Presents: Career Paths into Game Creation

The countdown to Otronicon is on! From hands-on workshops to interactive exhibits, all ages are invited to ignite their passion for STEM learning! 
 
With Otronicon quickly approaching, we'd like to introduce you to Otronicon's keynote speaker, Kate Edwards. Learn more about her daytime presentation below or check out Science Night Live, our evening for adults 21+ only, to hear her presentation "The Geography Behind Building Game Worlds."

Abstract: 

Video games are the most popular form of entertainment today, with annual global sales surpassing both movie and music revenue combined, as well as all live sports around the world! They’re a cultural and economic phenomenon that’s changing the way people experience stories and how we play together as communities.
 
The majority of people play some kind of game today, but have you ever thought of creating your own? Today, game creation tools are powerful and free, and more people are using games as a form of self-expression. Come hear how you can become a part of the growing global face of game creation regardless of your background (psst – you don’t have to be a programmer!)

Presentation Info:

Title: Career Paths into Game Creation
 
Date: Saturday, January 18, 2020
 
Times: 1:30 p.m. 
 
Location: Digital Adventure Theater, Level 2
 
Format: 20-minute presentation followed by a short Q&A
 
*Schedule is subject to change. Doors open 15 minutes prior to presentation. 

About Our Keynote: 

Kate Edwards is the Executive Director of the Global Game Jam, as well as the CEO and principal consultant of Geogrify, a consultancy which pioneered content culturalization. She is also a Board Member of Take This and is the former Executive Director of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) from 2012 to 2017. In addition to being an award-winning advocate who serves in several advisory roles, she is a geographer, writer, and corporate strategist.
 
Following 13 years at Microsoft, she has consulted on many game and non-game projects for BioWare, Google, Amazon, Facebook, LEGO, and many other companies. Fortune magazine named her as one of the "10 most powerful women" in the game industry in 2013 and in 2014 was named by GamesIndustry.biz as one of their six People of the Year. In 2018, she was honored with Reboot Develop’s annual Hero Award and also presented with IndieCade’s annual Game Changer Award, and in 2019 she was presented with a Special Award from GameRome for her ongoing service to the global game industry. She is also profiled in the December 2018 publication Women in Gaming: 100 Professionals of Play.

Otronicon Ignites Lifelong Passion for STEM

Mackenzie Liezert has always wanted to know how things work. She, like many native Central Floridians, visited Orlando Science Center several times throughout her childhood. This was the perfect way for her to unleash her curiosity and learn about the world around her. These visits were an enjoyable part of her childhood, but the Science Center took on a whole new meaning once she began her college career at the University of Central Florida. In January 2019, Mackenzie attended Otronicon as a volunteer with her fraternity. There, she was enthralled with the amount of science and technology available to discover.

 

“People underestimate how much there is to do,” says Mackenzie. “It isn’t just for people who are tech-obsessed. It’s a fun way to hang out and try something new.”

 

One of her favorite parts of volunteering at Otronicon was seeing how much attendees were enjoying the event. This passion, along with extra free time in the upcoming summer, inspired her to become an Orlando Science Center volunteer. Now, she’s a valuable member of the Visitor Experience volunteer team, stocking and managing supplies that make every guest experience exciting and memorable. Her favorite part of her role is that it encourages her to try new things and be an integral part creating unforgettable guest experiences.

 

As someone who grew up loving science but not feeling it was the right path for her to pursue, volunteering with the Science Center is a perfect way for Mackenzie to stay involved with science and continue discovering. As she continues pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in public administration, we can’t wait to see how far Mackenzie’s passions and thirst to continue learning will lead her in life. 

Otronicon 2020 is currently looking for enthusiastic volunteers ages 13 and up! To learn more, or to register click here. 

Admission: Otronicon is free for OSC members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2-11). Click here to purchase Otronicon tickets.

 

Otronicon Hours: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. daily.

 

Science Night Live Featuring Otronicon: Saturday, January 18 from 8:00 – 11:30 p.m., Science Night Live is a 21-and-up event, and requires a separate ticket. Click here to purchase Science Night Live tickets.

 

For more information, please call 407.514.2000.

Mercury Transit Viewing from Orlando Science Center

Mercury is in Retrograde Transit

Monday, November 11, 2019 will be a big day for the solar system’s smallest planet. In a rare occurrence, Mercury will transit, or visibly pass in between Earth and the sun. As Mercury and Venus are the only planets who orbit between Earth and the sun, only their transits can be seen from Earth. This rare event only happens about 13 times every century, and won’t happen again until 2032.

 

Mercury transits are so rare because each planet takes a different amount of time to orbit the sun, and therefore rarely overlap. Planetary transits like Mercury’s are essential to helping astronomers understand space. Scientists have discovered hundreds of exoplanets, and can even measure planetary atmospheres by observing these phenomenon.

How to view it:

Mercury’s transit across the sun will be visible in North America starting at 7:30 a.m. EST.  In honor of Mercury’s big transit around the sun, The Orlando Science Center’s observatory will be open for viewing. On November 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST stop by the observatory to take a peek through sun-safe telescopes, check out hands-on demonstrations, and attend a Q&A with our knowledgeable science interpreters.

 

Mercury’s Transit viewing party is included with daily general admission to Orlando Science Center, which is free for members, $21 for adults, $19 for seniors and students, and $15 for youth (ages 2 – 11). For more information, please call 407.514.2000