Named the best museum in Orlando by Cityvoters in 2008, Cornell Fine Arts Museum awakens retinas with a vast collection of more than 5,000 artworks. Patrons can meander through this elegant facility overlooking picturesque Lake Virginia, checking out a multifarious slew of permanent and travelling exhibitions, which feature chromatic canvases ranging from the early Renaissance to the modern day. The complimentary Corps Exquis catalogue is a bound anthology of famous etchings, mixed media, poems, and drawings by artists such as Paul Cezanne and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Bring home a copy to inspire burgeoning brush buffs or keep uncultured coffee tables company.
When they enter Titanic The Experience, visitors receive a replica boarding pass. From there, they relive the ship's history from a passenger's perspective, from life onboard during its 1912 maiden voyage through to the crash. The exhibit closes with updates on modern efforts to recover its wreckage, which the museum is thoroughly part of?it's myriad artifacts were found by a team that performed seven deep-sea expeditions.
Size: More than 5,500 authentic artifacts, including one of the passengers' perfume bottles, and china etched with the White Star Line's logo.
Eye-catcher: The 17-ton section of the ship's hull.
Don't miss: A glimpse at the paper documents that, against all odds, survived the shipwreck. Their story? They're from leather suitcases and briefcases; the era's tanning process made leather repel ocean microorganisms.
Pro tip: The exhibit's artifacts are conserved, not restored. They team prevents them from decaying further, but wants to show the damage done by the shipwreck, the ocean, and the passage of time.
Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) sprouted from humble roots. In the early 1920s, a small group of artists met informally to display and
critique their pieces. They couldn't have known at the time, but those initial gatherings laid the groundwork for one of the most revered art museums in the United States. Today, the OMA is one of the select few American museums with national accredited status, and it has been showcased across the country by the likes of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other esteemed publications.
Every year, the museum presents around a dozen exhibitions onsite, as well as many more offsite. OMA pursues its goal of enriching Florida's culture by collecting, preserving, and interpreting significant pieces of art, which it brings in from places both near and far. Inside its walls, the OMA houses a number of collections, such as Contemporary American Graphics and American Art before 1945, a time when the art industry was inundated with paintings of Babe Ruth in his underwear. Even kids can reap the benefits of the museum's efforts, either through enrichment programs?which reach thousands of children annually?or by exploring the various interactive attractions.
Orange County Regional History Center showcases the area's past inside a building steeped in Orange County history: the 1927 Courthouse. Today, visitors can explore the grand courtroom where the murderous Ted Bundy was allegedly arraigned. Such recent events, however, barely scratch the surface of the 12,000 years worth of history encompassed within the center's permanent exhibitions. Spanning Native American and Spanish roots to the meteoric rise of Walt Disney World, the museum illustrates Orange County's vast lineage.
The building has five floors, four of which house permanent exhibitions, temporary exhibitions and materials for traveling exhibitions that highlight Florida history throughout the country. An Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the museum also plays host to programs for all ages, from lunchtime speaking engagements to educational programs designed to spark the imagination and satisfy curiosity. The Emporium offers one-of-a-kind gifts reflecting the cultural history of Central Florida including rare vintage photographs, quirky Florida souvenirs, and delicious Florida treats.
Historically, women artists have often struggled to find a space to express themselves in a field dominated by men. The Florida Museum for Women Artists works to change that by offering 7,300 square feet of facilities and galleries dedicated to promoting and showcasing women artists and their work. Three different galleries allow visitors to gaze upon a selection of contemporary art in exhibitions that rotate ever 10 weeks and include juried shows, selections from collections, and traveling exhibits. Previous and upcoming exhibitions include a variety of ceramic, sculptural, and painted works, along with photographs and textiles. Past shows have even included the innovative exhibit Witness to Creativity, which allowed viewers to watch live as artists created installations over the course of a week. The facility also includes a museum shop and café and also hosts fused-glass jewelry, wineglass painting, and mosaic classes.
The Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex celebrates the past, present, and future of space travel with educational exhibits and hands-on activities for visitors of all ages. And as a reminder that the history contained here is still being written, the center displays a countdown clock marking off the seconds until the next scheduled launch.
Size: The sprawling complex contains dozens of sites, simplified by sample itineraries that suggest guests plan to spend eight hours exploring some of the most popular exhibits and attractions.
Eye-Catcher: See the 363-foot Saturn V rocket, the largest rocket ever made, and watch in wonder as that magic journey to the moon is brought to life once again at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Permanent Mainstay: The actual space shuttle Atlantis serves as the centerpiece of an exhibit on the history of the NASA shuttle program, surrounded by interactive exhibits.
Don't Miss: The center provides guests with the opportunity to touch an actual moon rock at the Apollo/Saturn V Center.
Hands-On Experience: The Shuttle Launch Experience recreates the thrill of takeoff with its realistic simulation of the ascent into orbit, and includes testimonials by veteran astronauts and stunning views of Earth.
Special Programs: Guests can attend a lunch where an actual NASA astronaut will recount space-faring experiences for the group.