Discover 10 STEM attractions in Orlando that turn learning into a fun adventure for children and their families, including WonderWorks (pictured).
Updated April 16, 2021
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. Kids and their families can also explore with confidence thanks to enhanced health and safety measures designed to protect you, including at these 10 out-of-this-world options!
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Please note: Depending on the timing of your visit, some experiences may be temporarily modified or closed. Learn more about healthy travel and what’s open in Orlando, and check with your favorite attractions for their current status.
STEM Attractions at Orlando Theme Parks
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.
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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
At Walt Disney World Resort, 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.
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.
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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
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.
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!
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.
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Described as an indoor amusement park for the mind, WonderWorks at Pointe Orlando 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 the only upside-down building on International Drive, making it easy to find.
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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.
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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.
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Between airboat rides, exciting gator park tours and a breathtaking drive-thru safari, Wild Florida offers three different ways for kids and their families to explore the great outdoors and some of its wildest denizens. With over 200 native and exotic animals, there is something for everyone, and you can experience it all close to Walt Disney World Resort.
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