STEM attractions in Orlando turn learning into a fun adventure for children and their families.


Orlando gives kids countless ways to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics — aka STEM — and have a blast while they’re doing it! At theme parks and attractions around the area, children can learn about the sciences while having a blast, including these 10 out-of-this-world options.

STEM Attractions at Orlando Theme Parks

Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Orlando
Spaceship Earth at Epcot in Orlando

Epcot®

The highest concentration of Walt Disney World® Resort’s STEM-related attractions and shows can be enjoyed in the Future World section of Epcot. For starters, the famous geodesic dome that serves as Epcot’s centerpiece is home to Spaceship Earth, a ride through the history of communication. After departing that attraction, challenging games and engaging displays await at Project Tomorrow.

Other STEM-focused attractions in Epcot’s Future World include a boat tour through state-of-the-art greenhouses at Living With the Land, fish-friendly interactive fun at Bruce’s Shark World, and activities and hands-on exhibits at Innoventions. And of course, the World Showcase is a great place to teach kids about a wide range of global cultures.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park

Answer the call of the wild at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, which is dedicated to all things zoological. The biggest STEM draw here is Kilimanjaro Safaris, where you can take a daytime or evening tour of an African savanna and its real-life exotic animals. Wildlife-lovers will also enjoy Affection Section, Conservation Station, Discovery Island Trails, Gorilla Falls Exploration Trail and Maharajah Jungle Trek.

Besides learning about our world, guests can learn about another world at Animal Kingdom’s Pandora — The World of Avatar. Granted, Pandora is fictional, but real-life sci-fi elements like working Pandora Utility Suits may very well inspire your kids to pursue a career in space.

SeaWorld® Orlando

Your kids can get up close and personal with a mélange of aquatic and avian life at SeaWorld Orlando’s main theme park, starting with the Dolphin Nursery and Manatee Rehabilitation Area. At the former, extra-large viewing windows invite the whole family to watch mother dolphins and their calves, while the latter teaches about the plight of manatees — and what SeaWorld is doing to help.

Other attractions with animal encounters include Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin, Dolphin Cove, Jewel of the Sea Aquarium, Manta Aquarium, Pacific Point Preserve (featuring sea lions), Pelican Preserve, Shark Encounter, Stingray Lagoon, Turtle Trek and Wild Arctic, the latter of which features walruses and beluga whales.

STEM Attractions Throughout Orlando

Orlando Science Center
Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center

For six decades, Orlando Science Center has provided kids and their families with fun ways to learn. Exhibits include NatureWorks, featuring reptiles; DinoDigs, which lets kids dig for dinosaur fossils; Kinetic Zone, which teaches the fundamentals of physics; and KidsTown, designed for smaller explorers.

The Center also offers more in-depth experiences at five Science Stations, as well as a robust schedule of special events. It’s located in Loch Haven Cultural Park, about 10 minutes from downtown Orlando.

Learn more: Indoor Orlando Attractions

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex
Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

About an hour from downtown Orlando on Florida’s east coast, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex provides a unique opportunity to learn about NASA’s past, present and future with thousands of engaging exhibits and activities. Depending on the time of your visit, you can even witness a live rocket launch or share a meal with an astronaut!

Gatorland in Orlando
Gatorland in Orlando

Gatorland

An iconic Orlando attraction, Gatorland is home to thousands of alligators and crocodiles — not to mention Florida panthers, a petting zoo and other forms of wildlife. Kids who are interested in flying animals will particularly enjoy Gatorland’s aviary and rookery, the latter of which shelters 20 different species of birds. It also has a splash zone that’s perfect for cooling kids down on hot days.

WonderWorks Orlando
WonderWorks Orlando

WonderWorks

Described as an indoor amusement park for the mind, WonderWorks features six "Wonder Zones" packed with more than 100 hands-on exhibits for all ages. Themes include Natural Disasters, Light and Sound, Space Discovery and more. It’s in the only upside-down building on International Drive, close to Universal Orlando Resort and SeaWorld.

Ripley's Believe It or Not! in Orlando
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Orlando (© Ripley Entertainment Inc.)

Ripley’s Believe It or Not!®

This 10,000-square-foot attraction — which looks as if it’s falling into a sinkhole — houses 600 fascinating artifacts and interactive exhibits, many of which touch on elements of STEM learning. Located on International Drive, Ripley’s Believe It or Not! focuses on human and animal oddities that are both entertaining and informative.

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium
SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium

Part of the ICON Park™ dining, entertainment and shopping complex on International Drive, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium offers the chance to explore sea life from the Indian, Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The state-of-the-art venue also features Orlando’s only 360-degree underwater tunnel, where the whole family can marvel as majestic sharks and graceful rays swim overhead.

Skeletons: Museum of Osteology

No bones about it: This is the perfect attraction for any budding osteologists, paleontologists or archeologists in your family! Located at ICON Park, the 90-minute experience boasts 500 real skeletons from around the world that range from tiny mice to giant whales — including human skeletons!

Cover image by Roberto Gonzalez and courtesy Orlando Science Center


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