Founded in 1955 as the Central Florida Museum, the Orlando Science Center is a private museum that offers a variety of exhibits for children, young adults, and families. Exhibits focus on topics such as engineering, paleontology, biology, and many other topics. The museum also offers a planetarium, two theaters, and special programs for school children throughout the Central Florida area.
The organizing effort behind the museum dates back to 1955 and the museum first opened its doors in 1960. At that time, the museum exhibits focused on anthropology and a handful of other fields. In 1973 the museum dedicated the John Young Planetarium in honor of Orlando native and astronaut John Young. The museum changed its name to the Orlando Science Center in 1984 and reflected its goal to include more exhibits related to all aspects of science. Much of the museum's growth was made possible by area foundations and private donations. For example, the Pittsburg Conference, one of the leading science conferences, donated twenty-five thousand dollars to help fund the science center.
Today, the Orlando Science Center has become one of the main attractions for families in the Orlando area. With over two hundred thousand square feet of exhibit space, the science center features eight main exhibits that are designed for all ages. The science center also includes two different theaters that regularly play movies of diverse genres. The Orlando Science Center also features various summer camps for kids ranging from kindergarten to high schoolers. This allows for kids around the community to be impacted by the science around them, and this is one of the main goals of the science center.