As a family, we’ve been going to Florida on and off for about 8 years. Previously with my parents, I’d been 4 or 5 times. It has always been somewhere we loved going as there is so much to do. No matter how many times you go there are always more reasons to return. Wonderworks on International Drive was on the never been, but fancy seeing list.
I can recall seeing it on American TV as an advert with a live news report style production. People were filmed queuing up around the block to get inside the “Upside down house”, which is impressive from the outside still. One of the lads who worked with me said he’d been filmed in the queue, he was given a time slot to look out for its broadcast. Ultimately there was a huge hype around the place, yet we’d never been.
Boiling it down to facts Wonderworks is a science museum, set in an upside-down building. You pay a one-off entry fee to access all activities. Tickets are priced at $33.99 for Adults and $24.99 for children. This is quite a fee for a science-based museum / attraction, but we’re on holiday and I’ll go with the flow.
You enter the museum via a spinning tunnel walkway which is quite cool. The kids went through first and felt the effect, followed by me who nearly fell over feeling it more!
The Floors are numbered upside down, so the basement is the top floor (remember the building is upside down). So I’ll refer to them from lowest to highest. The First floor has a load of exhibits that show weather based fun. There is a hurricane simulator and an Earthquake simulator, which you can enter as a family. Abigail, entered the hurricane simulator without her hair tied back, which added to our amusement.
One of the displays that caught our attention was a Tesla Coil in a glass case. The case had hand holes where you could put your hands and arms into a chainmail glove and “touch” the electricity. I seem to suffer quite badly from static shocks, so I was hesitant to try the display. The kids refused, so I “dadded” up and went to touch the dancing electrical spears. It was pain-free. To be honest, you didn’t feel anything, but it did look pretty cool.
Another cool display was the raindrops that were falling slowly. The effect was achieved via a strobe light flashing at a frequency that made water droplets fall slowly. It was weird to watch. I was impressed and I got the kids. Imogen barked up “Humphhhh! They’re just on a string”, but it wasn’t until she swings her hand through them that she realised it was just free falling water. Then you press a button to make the droplets freeze in mid-air! Wait there is more! You press another button and the droplets start running upwards into the air. A simple effect, but the first time I’ve seen it.
The Second Floor was bigger, but more based around physical challenges. Measuring how high you can jump, shoot basketballs into a hoop or lie on a bed of nails.
The latter I tried. The set up here is a raised sheet of acrylic which is full of holes. Once you have laid on the bed and are in position, you press a red button that raises up the nails. The nails slowly pass through the acrylic and eventually up against your body. As we were on holiday, I had shorts and a t-shirt on. As the nails supported my body, the kids asked if it hurt. I won’t lie by saying it didn’t hurt, but it was uncomfortable rather than agony.
Abigail and Catherine took on a Roller Coaster Simulator, which span upside down and looked like it through some force about.
Finally, it was up to the top floor “The Basement”. Here there was a high ropes course, Laser Tag and a 4D motion ride. In theory, these are the big draws to the centre. All of which is set up amongst a pay extra arcade.
Imogen, Abigail and I did a lap of the UV high ropes course. Followed by all four of us on the Laser Tag and finally a quick ride of the 4D motion ride.
Wonderworks Orlando Hoopster Vlog
Wonderworks Orlando Review
We were in Wonderworks probably about 2 hours. The place was relatively quiet due to the time of year we went (End August), but that meant it was easily accessible. In the UK most of our museums are funded and are free entry. Which I understand, isn’t what we were visiting here. However some of the items in here I’d seen in local museums for “free”. I’ll also add that we’ve been to a lot of this type of attraction. So maybe I wasn’t as impressed because I’d seen similar already.
The kids enjoyed their time here, as did we, but I’ve seen better elsewhere for less. The 4D motion ride was similar to the ones you see in the arcades with an orange lie back chair. Catherine commented that the Laser Tag wasn’t as good as the one in South Shields. There weren’t enough hiding spots and it felt as though were forced to walk past the other players because of this. The UV high ropes looked good and were fun, but got congested with our group.
Overall Wonderworks looks good from the outside and is located in a prime tourist area. For what we experienced I don’t feel it was worth the Approx $120 entry! I was expecting more activities and more “upside down house” on the inside, beyond the entrance.