Awhile back, Frugal Florida Fun had the pleasure of visiting MOSI, the Museum of Science and Industry while in Tampa Bay. We were amazed at large variety of topics and exhibits at MOSI, there was something for everyone! While not quite a children’s museum, adult museum, or a science center, we were pleased to find MOSI offers a wonderful mix of topics and exhibits that offered adventure for the entire family.
While visiting Tampa, we actually drove by MOSI a handful of times before our actual visit. Even from the outside we knew we were in for an adventure! Being one of the most unique buildings you will find in Florida, MOSI’s IMAX movie dome is hard to miss. Sandwiched between the main building and the “Kids in Charge” exhibit, a new addition to MOSI is the ropes course and zipline attraction. We didn’t check out this additional attraction, but it sure looks like fun! Maybe when my little guy gets bigger, and trim down a bit..
Walking in from the parking lot, we went by a beautiful butterfly exhibit which turned out to be an excellent capstone to a great afternoon of fun. Once inside we almost went into sensory overload! I was like a kid in a candy store wanting to run up to everything and check it out. I can only imagine how little guy felt. After our tickets were received, we explored the ground floor of MOSI including an awesome gift shop. High above our heads, we noticed a bicycle on a high wire, but more on that later.
The first exhibit we checked out was “The Amazing You”, which is dedicated to everything about the human body. We were a bit concerned about visiting this exhibit with wee man, as we knew it would be graphic and we had read a few bad reviews on TripAdvisor about it. It turns out that our fears were unfounded, as the exhibit was done tastefully in an educational manner. While I can see how the displays regarding childbirth and fetus development could certainly raise questions from little ones that parent’s may not be prepared to answer, you can quickly skip through the entire section if you wish. In this exhibit there were tons of hands on demonstrations, with my favorite being the drunk driving simulator. Instead of a an actual driving experience, you put on goggles, try to walk in a straight line and start your car. It’s very eye-opening as well as a little disorienting, but don’t worry it’s padded if you fall!
Next we checked out Disasterville at MOSI! The entire section was dedicated to different disasters including tornadoes, hurricanes, and even wildfire. There were quite a few simulators that put you right in harm’s way (simulated of course)! Running every few minutes you can actually feel what its like to hunker down through a hurricane or wildfire fire spark up. In addition to the Florida disasters, they also feature exhibits on disasters from around the world that are unique to different regions. Since part of a disaster includes early warning and recovery there are also focuses on safety and what to do after a disaster. Be sure to checkout their TV station as well as the MOSI amateur radio club. As a side note, Tampa Bay must have a large Amateur Radio fan base, as this was the second Ham Radio we had seen in two days. (The first being at the SS American Victory Ship)
On our way to checkout the “Kids In Charge” exhibit, we went by the suspended bicycle. Thirty feet in the air, MOSI offers the longest suspended high wire bike attraction in any US Museum. Sadly, I was a few pounds over the weight limit. Using counter weights, it’s very difficult to fall off the bicycle as it glides over the high wire. The entire time we were there we didn’t see anyone take on the challenge. Don’t worry though, there is a net to catch you in the event you happen to defy the odds. We also happened to catch a live action demonstration about fire! It was very well done and “Dr. Scorch” actually discussed combustion, as well as other scientific principles related to fire. it was the perfect complement to the wild-fire simulator.
We we got to the “Kids In Charge” exhibit we were amazed to find that it wasn’t just an exhibit, it was an entire building dedicated to hands on kid friendly displays and interactive experiences. This building also houses the “Mission MoonBase” experience. We thought out little one was a bit to small for it, but all the kids coming out seemed to enjoy it! The entire building encourages kids to get hands on! There were al sorts of topics explore including building, geology, and imaginative play. Let your little ones go nits, pushing buttons on the shuttle simulator or learn about engineering with blocks, pulleys, and displays about force. Little ones still have lots of energy that you want to burn off? Be sure to checkout the playground outside on your way back to the main building!
Included in our MOSI admission was an IMAX movie! We had a few choice to choose from that fit into our visit, but decided to check out “Flight of the Butterflies”. This was little guy’s first movie in a theatre! he did pretty well but we had to leave half way through because he was getting fussy. We didn’t want to ruin the movie experience for the other patrons.The IMAX dome at MOSI is simply amazing! Your viewing experience is immersive and you really feel like you’re part of the action. Your entire field of view is taken up by the screen. Since a movie is included with your admission to MOSI, it’s a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.
On our way out I had the opportunity to checkout what it was like to be in hurricane force winds in the hurricane simulator. Bring the entire family inside to experience hurricane force winds. It was pretty intense but really interesting to be completely immersed in the wind. was the BioWorks Butterfly garden. This walk through butterfly habitat was amazing! There were quite a few specimens that flutter right by you. Staffed by a MOSI volunteer, you can ask questions and learn about butterflies, habitats, and how to attract butterflies to your own home garden. It was a great compliment to the “Flight of the Butterflies” movie.
When you visit you may want to pack a lunch to minimize your expenses. MOSI does offer a cafeteria, but stretched out across a family of 4, you could end up with a $30 lunch tab. There was however a robotic frozen yogurt machine that is a bit expensive, but really cool to watch! Based on all the exhibits and overall experience, I would recommend MOSI if you have a child three years of age or older. There just wasn’t much for toddlers to do there, but if your little one is out of diapers and loves exploring, than this is the place for you.
After spending quite a few hours at MOSI, we still hadn’t experienced everything! You could spend the entire day there or come back time and time again. Because MOSI features travelling and temporary exhibits, you will always have something new to come back to. If you happen to be a member of the Lowrey Park Zoo or The Florida Aquarium, you can get a discount on MOSI membership in the month of September. Or better yet, how about FREE admission? It’s referred to as “Swaptember”, all three attractions allow members of each attraction FREE admission across the board!
MOSI – Museum of Science & Industry Details:
Children Under 2: FREE
Children 2 – 12: $17.95
Adults 13-59: $21.95
Seniors: 60+: $19.95
Family Annual Membership (Up to 5 members) With Unlimited IMAX: $154 Dyett Factor: 2
Address: 4801 E. Fowler Avenue – Tampa, Florida 33617
Phone: (813) 987-6000
Hours of Operation: 9am – 5pm M-F, 9am – 6pm S&S – Open 365 Days A year