Top 10 Orlando Museums

If you didn't know Orlando even had 10 museums (let alone 10 fantastic ones), you're in for a huge treat. Orlando isn't just big theme parks that make your head spin. There's a whole world of culture, history, and wildlife to explore in Orlando and the surrounding area. You'll find a museum for every interest on this list of the top 10 Orlando museums, and each one guarantees an enriching experience.

1. Orange County History Center

Situated in the masterfully restored 1927 Orange County Courthouse, the History Center is consistently ranked the top museum in Orlando. The 5-floor attraction tells the story of how this region made the transition from a small town amidst citrus groves and cattle ranches to today's thriving metropolis. It is home to extensive collections of the Historical Society of Central Florida, Inc. and features exhibits like Natural Environment, Pioneer Cracker Home, and The Road to Modern Orlando. This vibrant Center has tons of hands-on history for all ages to enjoy.

2. Orlando Museum of Art

This top quality art museum is a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. It features treasures in art and architecture spanning the globe from the 19th century to the present. Upon entry, you'll be fascinated by Dale Chihuly's glass Cobalt & Citron Tower standing 20-feet high, drawing your eye toward the glass skylight above... and that's just the beginning. The Orlando Museum of Art has the broadest collection of African art and art of the ancient Americas in the entire Southeast. It's definitely worth the trip for any art- appreciator.

3. Orlando Science Center

Inspiring curiosity and exploration, the Orlando Science Center offers fun, engaging exhibits for visitors of all ages. Become a meteorologist for the day at the Severe Weather Center or take to the air in the F1-11 and F-16 flight simulators. This innovative museum features a giant screen domed theater for films and planetarium shows, 4 floors of exhibits, an observatory, and much more. Visit the museum on a weekend to check out one of the cool events, like Laser Light Shows and The Science of Wine. Make sure to stop in the Science Store before you leave!

4. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

This art museum is perhaps most famous for housing the most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including Tiffany jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass, leadedglass windows, lamps, and the chapel interior he designed for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Additionally, the museums galleries hold major collections of American art from the 19th and 20th centuries. Exhibitions, films, and lectures, family programs, and music performances are regular features, as well. You'll definitely want to stop in The Museum Shop before you leave to pick up exclusive merchandise derived from the works of Lois Comfort Tiffany.

5. The Museum of Arts and Sciences

An affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, The Museum of Arts and Sciences in Daytona is located on a beautiful 90-acre park. This cultural treasure features 9 permanent exhibits as well as a newly created environmental center inside a naturally preserved Florida hammock. Among many displays, you'll see a 12-foot tall skeleton of a ground sloth, the largest Coca-Cola memorabilia collection outside of Coca-Cola headquarters, a state-of-the-art planetarium, and vast collections of art from around the world.

6. Kennedy Space Center

A short distance from Orlando, you'll find the attraction that truly takes you to new heights. It's NASA's launch headquarters located on a wildlife refuge 8 times the size of Manhattan. The Kennedy Space Center hosts millions of visitors each year that come to tour the launch and landing facilities, experience interactive simulators, see live shows, and have up-close encounters with massive rockets and NASA astronauts. The Space Center features an IMAX theater, the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and several engaging attractions like Exploration Space: Explorers Wanted. You'll also find lots of space-themed on-site dining options.

7. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center

This museum is not only a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, but also an organization with a mission to combat anti-Semitism and racism in all forms through educational and cultural programs. It is one of the oldest Holocaust museums in the nation and features a library, permanent exhibit hall, special exhibitions, and a film series - all of which are family-friendly. Changing exhibitions include work from photographers, artists, historians, and more. For an inspiring experience in healing and hope, this is a museum you can't miss.

8. Ripley's Believe It or Not!

You better believe this is the most bizarre museum you'll ever set foot in. From the minute you walk up to the "Odditorium", which looks like it's falling into a Florida sinkhole, prepare for some wacky surprises. Explore an unbelievable variety of artifacts, exhibits, and displays in 16 unique galleries devoted to the peculiar. Among the tons of displays, you'll see an actual human shrunken head, an Egyptian mummy, a two-headed calf, and a Rolls Royce made from more than one million match sticks. Oh, and the most recent addition? A 14-foot portrait of The Last Supper... made entirely from dryer lint (you may have seen it featured on Good Morning America).

9. Dinosaur World

The world's largest dinosaur attraction is the perfect place for children to roam a pre-historic earth. This outdoor museum setting features over 150 life-size dinosaurs and provides endless opportunities for fun and learning. Sift through sand in search of authentic fossils at Fossil Dig, ride a triceratops on the playground, or eat lunch picnic-style in the Caves. After walking through the Skeleton Garden, make sure you stop in the gift shop to pick-up some unique souvenirs, like fossils and dinosaur eggs.

10. Harry P. Leu Gardens

This 50-acre park of meandering paths and Florida wildlife offers a peaceful taste of old Florida in its farming days. Highlights of the Gardens include the Butterfly Garden, permanent and temporary art exhibits, The Garden House (the entrance, meeting place, and art gallery), a gift shop, and the Leu House Museum - the meticulously restored farmhouse. The Gardens offer guided or self-guided tours, access to the reference library, and horticulture workshops for children and adults.


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