The Orlando Science Center recently completed a reimagining of one of their keystone exhibits, and as of October 22 the brand-new KidsTown is now open for guests to explore.
Nearly three times the size of its former early childhood space on the first floor, Orlando Science Center’s New KidsTown exhibit area (designed for infants to age seven and their caretakers) encompasses 11,000 square feet on the facility’s second story. It features seven zones with more than 75 exhibits that present little learners with experiences, discoveries, and opportunities for creativity, collaboration and problem solving. New KidsTown is the largest new exhibit that the Science Center has created in the past 20 years.
This $5 million dollar project opened to the general public over the weekend of October 22-23. It signals the completion of the first phase of the $30 million Unlock Science Campaign, a multi-year/multi-phase effort to renovate all the exhibits and expand resources at the Science Center.
“New KidsTown encourages the hands-on creative play that is so important to the cognitive development of our children.” said President and CEO JoAnn Newman. “This exhibit responds to the strong need we’ve identified for quality, immersive educational opportunities for families with young children. They are the fastest growing segment of our audience and are hungry for the chance to learn and grow together in a fun environment.”
Designed from the ground up to support the needs of families, New KidsTown offers numerous opportunities for adult-child collaboration in seven zones packed with one-of-a-kind experiences. These areas introduce science concepts through whole-body experiences, hands-on interactives and opportunities for imaginative role-playing.
New KidsTown experiences include:
Orange Grove Presented by: Dr. Phillips Charities
A reinvention of a Science Center classic, the new and expanded Orange Grove is all about teamwork. Help others pick, transfer, and process oranges through sorting, and packing stations. Areas featuring a factory and farmer’s market teach little learners the process of how oranges move from tree to table.
Isaacs Family ClimbTime
Kids can tower above New KidsTown by conquering this obstacle course full of layered platforms, suspended rope bridges, and other barriers that dare young visitors to overcome their fears and engage and test their motor skills and coordination.
Drip Drop Splash Presented by: James M. Cox Foundation
Use tools like water wheels and pipes to experiment and reveal the unique properties of water. Construct dams and fountains to create elaborate water paths and grab some friends to help fill up the reservoir for an impressive Florida rain shower.
Toddler Town Presented by: Community Based Care of Central Florida
A safe spot devoted to ages 0 to 3 (a first for the Science Center), Toddler Town encourages motor skill development as these pint-size scientists climb, lift, open, close, push, pull and explore a wide array of obstacles and objects.
Explore It Presented by: Publix Super Markets Charities
Explore It offers a variety of design-related activities to inspire curiosity and stimulate the imagination. Watch colorful scarves dance in the air after they travel through the 18-foot Windy Tubes play area, or use air pressure to keep balls aloft with the interactive Bernoulli table. Young tinkerers can play with light using a giant Lite-Brite, create their own roller coaster or make structures with traditional building blocks.
KidsTown Studio Presented by: Florida Hospital for Children
In the KidsTown Studio, adults and children can learn together through mind-bending puzzles, perplexing brain games, and engaging science experiments. This versatile space allows participants to dig deep into topics of their choice and explore at their own pace. In addition, the studio will host arts and crafts, workshops, and an opportunity to send digital good wishes to patients at Florida Hospital for Children.
Harriett’s KidsTown Theatre
Youngsters with a flair for the dramatic can create performances and experimental plays on stage in Harriett’s KidsTown Theater. Imaginations run wild as young thespians don a costume, strike a pose and take to the stage.
Admission to New KidsTown is included with general admission to Orlando Science Center and you must have a child 7 or younger with your party to enter. Admission costs $19.95 for adults, $13.95 for youth, ages 3-11 and free for children 2 and under. Members receive free admission. For more information about Orlando Science Center, visit osc.org or call 407-514-2000, and watch this video of this year’s Otronicon event at OSC: