Wednesday, 28 June 2017

A Wonderful Time at Wonderworks Orlando

I have noticed that a lot of my followers are planning holidays to Florida this summer and so I thought it would be a good idea to share some of my favourite attractions in Orlando. When we visited last year the blog was in it's infancy and so I realise that some of these attraction reviews may have been missed by readers over the last year, so what better time to re-share and help others with their holiday planning.

Wonderworks is located on International Drive and is very easy to spot as it is presented on the exterior as an upside down house. It is so clever and immediately attracts your attention. We couldn't wait to get inside and find out what it was all about.

The Wonderworks website describes the experience as being one of the top things to do in Orlando and they are not wrong. This indoor attraction offers 35,000 square foot of educational entertainment that keeps you mesmerised, interested and entertained from start to finish.

The exhibits are split into six wonder zones. The first zone we came to was the Natural Disasters Zone. My children were fascinated to learn about some of the natural disasters that have occurred around the world and took the time to read the information provided. It was great to see something capture their attention so well as opposed to a quick glance and carry on. Around each piece of information was also a hands on exhibit to try out. The first one that my children tried was the Earthquake Cafe which was designed to show the power of a 5.3 earthquake. I found that these kind of exhibits were a real eye opener for the children as we often hear of earthquakes on the news without any real idea as to how they actually feel or how scary they really are. Next we tried out the Hurricane Shack which allowed us to experience category one hurricane force winds, followed by the Google Earth console which allowed us zoom in on any part of the world. My children loved this and were able to find our home, their school and even our hotel. It was fascinating to see what technology is available to us and just how clever it is.

The most interesting and thought provoking part of this zone for me however was the Titanic Exhibit, which actually made me feel quite emotional. Most people will have heard the story of the Titanic and of course many of us have seen the hit film based on the tragedy. This exhibit allowed you to experience just how cold the water would have been for the tragic passengers who were plunged into the water. There is a small pool of water which you place your arm into which also has a timer that records just how long you can hold your arm in the water before you have to withdraw it. I only managed 12 seconds which just goes to show how awful it must have been for the passengers who had no choice but to wait in the water to be rescued. This really made us think and my children asked lots of questions about the Titanic whilst learning more in this exhibit.

The second zone we visited was the physical challenge zone. This zone was so much fun with plenty of activities to try out and enjoy. My husband tried out the bed of nails and my children absolutely loved the Wonderwall which allows you to create three dimensional images of your body on a giant plastic pin wall. The firm favourite in this area though was the Bubble Lab where you could create bubbles of all shapes and sizes. My husband managed to create a huge bubble that my daughter fitted in. Riley was also delighted to be able to make large bubbles of his own without any help. There really was something for everyone in this zone.

Next up was the light and sound zone. Here we learnt all about the speed of light, colours, patterns, shadows and sounds. Our favourite part of this zone was the shadow experiment. This allowed you to see your shadow in any shape you wanted. We stood in front of a wall and then there was a flash. The portion of the wall that our bodies were covering was not able to absorb the light and so this left our shadow impression on the wall. We learnt from this that our image on the wall hadn't actually become darker but instead the rest of the wall had absorbed the light and made the wall lighter. It was a really fun experiment that captured my children's attention and even with the explanation it left them intrigued as to how it worked. Isn't science interesting!

Our favourite zone was the Space Discovery Zone, this area was so informative and interesting and also offered some fantastic photo opportunities. We learnt all about space suits, what they provide to astronauts and how they help them to survive. They really are an amazing piece of equipment and you can have your photo taken inside one too which is fabulous. There is also a replica of the mercury capsule where you can experience what it is like to be inside one of these amazing vehicles. In this area is also the astronaut training challenge which seats 2 people and then spins and rotates in numerous directions to simulate the effects that spaces has on the human body. Having just eaten our lunch prior to our visit though we decided not to try this, but it did look great fun. Don't miss out on the Wonder Coaster in this zone either as this allows you to create your own dream roller coaster and then experience it in a virtual ride. Really clever!

After everything we had already experienced at Wonderworks, we were expecting the attraction to soon come to an end as it felt like we had done so much. However we were pleased to find yet another zone called the Imagination Zone. My youngest son Riley loved this area as there was so much for him to do. A gigantic version of Lite-Brite immediately caught his attention where you could rearrange coloured sticks on to a black wall which would then light up and glow. He created his own little masterpieces that looked fantastic and he was really proud of his efforts. The fun express stations also offered Riley some digital colouring activities that were similar to some of the apps he uses on the ipad. This meant that he was familiar with them and able to use them with ease. I think he could have quite happily sat here for hours. When we did get him to venture away from the Fun Express station he quickly moved on to Gear Works. As he was only 3 at the time he didn't quite understand the purpose of the activity, however he was quite happy just moving the cogs around and connecting them together. Emma and Ben enjoyed the educational part of this and began to understand how gears work.

Last up of the zones was the Far Out Art Gallery. This wasn't in a large allocated area like the others and instead it was a series of illusions and paintings that were situated on the walls on the way up to the basement. Yes that's UP to the basement (remember the house is upside down!). They really got your mind working and some were quite baffling.

The basement offers even more fun and features an amazing three storey glow in the dark climbing course. My daughter Emma tried this out and it really tested her abilities as well as improving her confidence whilst trying out a new and exciting activity that she had never tried before. My son Ben chose not to participate in this due to his fear of heights, but Emma really enjoyed it and was excited and proud of herself when she had finished.

The basement also houses the 4D XD Motion Theater experience. The film that was on show during our visit was the Canyon Coaster and this offered a simulated thrill ride that we all enjoyed. The ride can accommodate twelve persons at a time and lasts approximately five minutes so we didn't need to queue for long at all. The Wonderworks website does advertise that there are three different movies shown on a rotating schedule, so if we get the chance to return in the future it would be great to try out one of the others.

Sadly, due to a dinner reservation that we had in Citywalk we had no time to try out the laser tag. I was quite gutted about this as I haven't played laser tag since I was about 10 and had been really looking forward to it, but due to having so much fun in the other zones time had literally flown. The next time we return to Orlando we will definitely be doing this without a doubt as it looked great fun. If all of that wasn't enough then the basement also has some arcade games which were great for keeping Riley occupied whilst Emma enjoyed the ropes course and was a great little addition to have within the attraction.

Overall we absolutely loved it here. All the staff were fantastic, especially the lady who served us on the ticket desk. They all seemed very happy to help and provide information when needed. It really is a fun filled attraction from start to finish that offers excellent value for money, as well as providing a unique learning experience. Would I recommend this place to families? ABSOLUTELY

For more information on Wonderworks Orlando please visit their website here: Wonderworks Orlando

Important Information:

Address - 9067 International Drive, Orlando, Florida, FL 32819

Opening Hours - 9am til midnight 365 days a year. *Last tickets sold 90 minutes before closing.

Parking - Parking is available at the nearby Pointe Orlando Parking Garage and costs $4 for the first two hours, $2 for each additional hour, with a maximum fee of $10.

Ticket prices - Adults are $29.99 + tax with children's tickets costing $23.99 + tax.

Disclaimer: I was provided with complimentary tickets to this attraction for the purpose of providing an honest and impartial review. Opinions and photographs are my own unless otherwise stated. Information I have provided was correct at the time of writing, but would always recommend visiting the attractions own website to obtain the most up to date information as this can be subject to change.

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