South Florida is home to many fantastic museums, but the recently expanded Museum of Discovery and Science is one of our favorite places to spend a day. Before they almost doubled in size, it was easy to spend a few hours walking through the hands-on exhibits, but now – it’s a total day-out! The two-story museum is over 100,000 square feet of hands-on and multi-sensory activities for kids of all ages. As you enter the museum, you’re greeted by the Florida Ecoscapes exhibit with amazing saltwater fish tanks that are teaming with a beautiful variety of fish, corals, sharks and even turtles and spiny lobsters!
The Discovery Center is the perfect place for the under 7 group to play in their own special area filled with water exhibits, bubbles, an orange grove picking and sorting area, a climbing area and quiet spaces with books and computers.
If you’ve ever thought that being a weather forecaster would be an awesome job, then the Storm Center is the place for you! You can learn about water spouts, cloud formations, hurricanes, climate change and even try your hand on a green screen, reading from a teleprompter. This leads to the Everglades Airboat Adventure – a simulator ride that takes you on a virtual trip through the Everglades, an ecosystem that is completely unique to the state of Florida.
Prehistoric Florida brings us back millions of years in Florida’s history, where you can step inside a life-size megalodon shark, see just how huge a mammoth really was and explore the history of Florida with numerous activities – both computer based and hands-on, including a fossil pit. Our favorite spot was being able to take a picture and becoming the tour guide through events in Florida’s history.
Watching several river otters swimming, diving, playing and sliding around their massive outdoor area was my personal favorite area. I could have sat that watching them for much longer than the time I was given by my kids! The space that the otters have is amazing, with a huge waterfall, and lots of grassy and rocky areas to watch them run around, then slide back into the water. The viewing area is an entire plexi-glass wall with uninterrupted views of all the action, and plenty of two-tiered seating for parents, and their kids.
Upstairs, you will find the current traveling exhibit, K’NEX and many movable K’NEX structures with interactive science challenges. Each separate piece has a card and instructions on a different activity – some are based on timing different actions, others are force and motion, and still others are based on gravity. This is a fantastic area to connect science and play, as it hits on many of the specific State and National Science Standards. Kids can make and purchase a wide variety of structures with a “Weigh and Pay” cost system. The K’NEX exhibit is ongoing until May 6, 2012, and is something that shouldn’t be missed!
Minerals and Rocks explore the three types of rocks, showing examples of all of them, and the museum also houses fossils that used to be the only connection to the amazing geologic history of Florida. The Runway to Rockets and Aviation Stations provide visitors with a great amount of information about travelling through our local atmosphere as well as what is found out in deep space. Powerful You! is a truly eye-opening exhibit about the human body with many interactive features including trying to keep pace with heartbeats, finding your pulse, using robotic arms for surgery, learning about foods, fats, balance, and full body system functions.
The MODS is also home to the AutoNation 3D IMAX Theater – showing fantastic 3D movies as well as an amazing assortment of nature-related movies that will make you feel like you’re a part of the movie, not just watching it! There is also a Subway© sub shop and a well stocked gift shop if you’re hungry or looking for reminder of your day at the museum. They’ve got an excellent assortment of books, videos, toys and games available, and a great little sale corner as well.
All in all, I’d have to say that our day at the museum was fantastic. They have truly done an amazing job with the expansion, and if you haven’t been in a while, I strongly suggest you check it out.
DISCOUNTS: The MODS is offering That’s IT Mommy friends two fantastic discounts! Parking for only $3.00 and $2.00 off Museum Admission – expiring 4/30/12 – so pack up the kids and head to fabulous Fort Lauderdale!