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.
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.
Imagine the Great Wall of China made out of chocolate. A six-and-a-half-foot chocolate Statue of Liberty. Or a Dutch windmill with cocoa blades. These are the magical objects found in a children's movie—and at the World of Chocolate Museum & Cafe. Indeed, the museum is the kind of place that makes guests want to burst into a mysteriously choreographed group song as they wander amid chocolate sculptures and lore. Visitors explore the confection's rainforest beginnings, and trace its early journeys from Central and South America to the high courts of 16th century Europe and its current place on sweet-lovers' pedestals.
After gaining a bit of historical knowledge, the structures in the sculpture hall become even more impressive—25 intricately carved replicas of worldwide monuments that somehow have avoided being eaten. Also lending a bit of perspective is the machinery room, which reveals the modern and historical mechanics used to process the sweet treat and create the bonbons and soul-warming drinks found in the cafe, where customers can enjoy complimentary WiFi access.
Whether you're solo or with a group, Wells Built Museum in Orlando is a great place to explore and indulge in works of art.
With food just the way you like it, this museum elevates your restaurant experience just on the level of taste.
Take the kids along too — this museum is a great spot for families with activities that even little ones will love.
Parking is plentiful, so patrons can feel free to bring their vehicles.
For those that appreciate the finer things, be sure to explore the artwork at Orlando's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Looking for a bite to eat? This museum also has an awesome restaurant.
Go ahead and bring your rug rats with you — this museum has kid-friendly policy.
Parking is plentiful, so guests can feel free to bring their vehicles.