Friday, October 21, 2016

Orlando Science Center's brand-new KidsTown opens this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Oct 21, 2016 at 5:33 PM

click image IMAGE VIA ORLANDO SCIENCE CENTER
  • Image via Orlando Science Center

KidsTown has long been one of the most popular attractions at the Orlando Science Center, and now it’s getting the love it deserves. The exhibit designed for guests 7 and under officially opens in its expanded new location Saturday, Oct. 22.

Moving from the first floor up onto the second in what was part of the former gift shop, the newly updated KidsTown is the first thing visitors see when entering the Science Center from the sky bridge. A new gift shop and box office have already opened as part of the $30 million update the Science Center is currently undergoing. The redesign encloses a formerly open-air section of the second floor, and with the newly expanded space come larger exhibits.

At 11,000 square feet, the new facility is nearly four times larger than the old 3,000-square-foot KidsTown. This is noticeable more than anywhere in the large room where three of the exhibit areas are housed. This expo room has a stage area where kids can play dress-up and where different events, like Story Time, will take place. The expo room goes streamlined with a clean but fun look. side from size, the updated aesthetic is the most notable difference from the original KidsTown. Tastes have greatly changed since 1997 and, while popular, KidsTown was showing its age.

Demographics have changed in Central Florida since 1997 as well. In a first for the Orlando Science Center, signage throughout the new permanent attraction is in both English and Spanish. 

In the former KidsTown, the orange juice industry play area was a smash hit, so it received the royal treatment in the new facility. The new Orange Grove section, appropriately sponsored by Dr. Phillips Charities, has a larger orange grove, including a mini one for the smaller children.

An impressive climbing area is filled with natural light from floor to ceiling windows, giving beautiful views of Florida Hospital. The former KidsTown had some spaces for kids to crawl and climb, but not anything to the scale of the new attraction.

With the expanded footprint, the new KidsTown was also able to expand its ideal reach. The former one was more geared for towards 3- to 7-year-olds. The new KidsTown has separate areas specifically designed for infants and children up to 2 years old, a new age group for Orlando Science Center to focus on.

Grand opening festivities for KidsTown happen all weekend (Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 22-23) at Orlando Science Center. Various special events include meet-and-greets with Stuff, the Orlando Magic mascot, and Kingston the Lion from the Orlando City Soccer Club.

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