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The 11 Best Museums in Orlando, Florida [2024]

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Amar Hussain

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Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications incl...
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Table of Contents

  • The Best Museums in Orlando
  • How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to Orlando Museums
  • Final Thoughts

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Orlando, Florida, is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the U.S. However, when most people think of this Florida city, they tend to think of theme parks.

Recently, though, Orlando has started to promote some of its other beloved sites, including its museums. Whether you’re a science lover, an art buff, or a fan of history, there’s a museum in Orlando to suit your interests.

The Best Museums in Orlando

1. Harry P. Leu Gardens and Museum

Historic Leu House Museum
Image Credit: Harry P. Leu Gardens

Harry P. Leu Gardens is a living museum that showcases semitropical and tropical plants from around the world. Spread out across 50 acres of land, the garden consists of lakes and walking trails. Among the many plants housed in the gardens are the Bamboo Collection, which consists of over 50 species, the Butterfly Garden, and the 200-plant Daylily Collection.

There’s also a house museum at the heart of the park, known as the Leu House Museum, which was once the residence of the garden’s founders. To see the house, you have to join a guided tour, which typically starts every hour and lasts about 30 minutes.

The gardens also host several special events each year. These events range from concerts and art exhibitions to family days and educational camps for children. This park can also be booked for private events, like weddings.

Admission is free for members, active military personnel, and members, $10 for children 4 to 17, and $15 for adults. The Harry P. Leu Gardens are open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. but extended to 8 p.m. for late-night Thursdays. The nearest bus stop is Corrine Drive and North Bumby Avenue.

  • Address: 1920 North Forest Ave., Orlando, FL 32803

2. Mennello Museum of American Art

Mennello Museum of American Art
Image Credit: Mennello Museum of American Art

Opened in 1998, the Mennello Museum of American Art is a city-owned facility in the house of the late Florida tycoon Howard Phillips. Though a number of artists are represented in the museum, its collection of Earl Cunningham pieces is considered a highlight.

The museum’s grounds include a sculpture garden, which has gained popularity in recent years. The garden often hosts community events, like yoga classes, for people of all ages. The museum also hosts lectures and art discussions.

The site has a permanent collection, but there are also frequently rotating temporary galleries. One of the most acclaimed in recent years celebrates the work of self-taught Black artists who have called America’s Southern states home throughout history. The garden and house can also be rented for special events, including conferences, wedding ceremonies, and receptions.

Admission is free for military personnel, veterans, and kids under 6, $1 for children 6 to 17 and students, $4 for seniors 60 and over, and $5 for adults. The Mennello Museum of American Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 4:30 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Princeton Street and Orlando Loch Haven Park.

  • Address: 900 East Princeton St., Orlando, FL 32803

3. Museum of Illusions Orlando

Museum of Illusions Orlando
Image Credit: Museum of Illusions Orlando

In Orlando’s Icon Park district, the Museum of Illusions brings illusions and tricks of the eye to life. Considered a museum of edutainment, the facility helps visitors of all ages learn about perspectives.

Currently, the museum is divided into 15 rooms, each featuring a different illusion. A few favorites are the Vortex Tunnel, the Tilted Room, and the Optical Illusions area. People of all ages are welcome at the museum. However, some of the effects can be overwhelming for visitors with sensory concerns or who easily experience motion sickness or dizziness.

To manage crowds, no walk-in visits are allowed. All guests must make reservations ahead of time. If you’re planning to visit with a group, you can even rent the venue for private tours and events. Group rates are also available upon request.

Admission is free for children under 3, and tickets start at $24.99 for everyone else. The Museum of Illusions Orlando typically opens between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., but hours are subject to change. The nearest bus stop is 14 – I-Drive 360.

  • Address: 8375 International Drive, Icon Park, Orlando, FL 32819

4. Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center
Image Credit: Orange County Regional History Center

Since it first opened to the public in 1942, the Orange County Regional History Center has taught Orlando locals and visitors about the history of Central Florida, going back at least 2,000 years. Today, the museum is in what was once a county courthouse, with 3 of the building’s 5 floors dedicated to both temporary and permanent galleries.

There are 9 permanent exhibits that tackle topics from Florida’s agriculture to its first settlements. Some of the most beloved spaces in the museum are Destination Florida, Cattle and Citrus, and The Theme-Park Era.

The museum’s collection includes artifacts, recreations, immersive displays, and oral histories. Together, they create a multimedia experience that can be appreciated by people of all ages. In addition to the special exhibitions, the museum hosts a series of other events, many of which honor Florida’s different cultures and history.

Admission is free for Florida teachers, employees for Orange County, members, and children under 5, $6 for kids 5 to 12, $7 for students, military personnel, and seniors 55 and over, and $8 for adults. The Orange County Regional History Center is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is North Magnolia Avenue and East Central Boulevard.

  • Address: 65 East Central Blvd., Orlando, FL 32801

“Guests should definitely seek out our innovative pocket exhibits when they visit. We use the 4 floors of our historic building well, covering 14,000 plus years of history, but this new concept makes use of small empty spaces — or pockets — in the museum and gives us the opportunity showcase unseen collection items.”

Katie Kelley, curator of exhibitions, Orange County Regional History Center

5. Orlando Auto Museum

Orlando Auto Museum
Image Credit: Orlando Auto Museum

Orlando Auto Museum houses over 2,000 vehicles, one of the world’s most diverse car collections. There are over 20 exhibit rooms to showcase these vehicles, which range from authentic pieces used in movies and television shows to vintage automobiles.

Some of the most popular rooms at the museum are the Batcave, which houses several Batmobiles; Cars of the Stars; and the 007 Bond Lounge. Knowledgeable staff is available to answer any questions you might have.

Even visitors who wouldn’t call themselves car enthusiasts can find something interesting about the museum’s galleries. With advance notice, it’s also possible to rent the museum for a private tour or event. In addition to the static exhibits, the museum houses an indoor kart track. A number of other family activities are also located on the property.

Admission is free for children under 4, $22.31 for kids 4 to 12, $25.51 for military personnel, college students, and seniors 65 and over, and $31.90 for adults. The Orlando Auto Museum is open Monday through Thursday from 12 to 9 p.m., Friday from 12 to 11 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The nearest bus stop is 2 – Bass Pro Shops and Outdoor World.

  • Address: 5250 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

“What makes us unique is that we have one of the world’s largest privately owned car collections right here in Orlando! We have over 2,000 cars valued at over $200 million and 20 themed rooms! My favorite collection is the James Bond collection of screen used vehicles, and memorabilia!”

Ashley Witherspoon, social media manager, Orlando Auto Museum

6. Orlando Fire Museum

Orlando Fire Museum
Image Credit: Todd Van Hoosear via Flickr (license)

Located in a decommissioned firehouse, the Orlando Fire Museum educates visitors about fire safety and the history of the Florida Fire Department.

The museum, which opened in 2002, houses artifacts dating back to 1883, when Orlando established its first volunteer fire department. These pieces include old photos, documents, and uniforms. There are even antique fire carriages inside the space’s exhibits. The museum also honors past and present members of the city’s fire department, with special attention to legacy families.

To ensure the integrity of the museum’s artifacts, all visits must be part of a tour. You can schedule one ahead of time or check walk-in availability during operating hours. Tours also allow visitors to ask any questions they might have to a knowledgeable member of the museum staff.

Admission is free for everyone, but donations are welcome to help keep the museum running. The Orlando Fire Museum is open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Princeton Street and Orlando Loch Haven Park.

  • Address: 814 East Rollins St., Orlando, FL 32803

7. Orlando Museum of Art

Orlando Museum of Art
Image Credit: Orlando Museum of Art

Founded by Florida art lovers in the 1920s, the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) showcases art from a variety of cultures and styles.

Today, the museum houses over 2,400 works of art, many of which are from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. However, there is also a sizable collection of pieces from ancient American and African cultures. Some highlighted pieces in the collection are “Landscape, Greene County, New York” by George Inness, “Scales” by Robin Rhode, and “Increasing Odds by Trying” by Jared McGriff.

In addition to the permanent collection housed and displayed, the museum showcases temporary exhibitions to highlight the work of specific artists or time periods. A series of events are also hosted at the facility each year. They range from sketching sessions and workshops to educational lectures and discussions. Many of these events are for people of all ages.

Admission is free for children under 6, military personnel, veterans, and first responders, $8 for children 6 to 17, $10 for students, $12 for seniors 60 and over, and $20 for adults. The Orlando Museum of Art is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Princeton Street and Orlando Loch Haven Park.

  • Address: 2416 North Mills Ave., Orlando, FL 32803

8. Orlando Science Center

Orlando Science Center
Image Credit: Orlando Science Center

Orlando’s Science Center (OSC) uses traditional and hands-on exhibits to teach visitors of all ages about science and technology. Today, the facility has 9 permanent exhibit spaces to delve into science fields ranging from biology to natural history.

Some of the museum’s most notable spaces are DinoDigs, Kinetic Zone, and Going Places. Most of these facilities were designed to be educational for both adults and children, with immersive and practical applications of scientific concepts.

The museum also has 2 theaters, which are often used for presentations, discussions, and other special events. A general admission ticket grants access to the theaters’ daily showings, but remember that the films and documentaries shown change throughout the year. Annual events, including Science Night Live and the Neanderthal Ball, are also typical parts of the OSC calendar.

Admission is free for members and children under 2, $22.99 for children 2 to 11, $25.99 for students and seniors 55 and over, and $29.99 for adults. A $2 discount is available for tickets purchased online. The Orlando Science Center is open Thursday through Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is Princeton Street and Camden Road.

  • Address: 777 East Princeton St., Orlando, FL 32803

9. Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Titanic The Artifact Exhibition
Image Credit: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition

Orlando’s Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition offers visitors a chance to experience what it would have been like to board the famed Titanic ocean liner. Multiple tours are currently available, each offering a slightly different hands-on experience.

Many of these tours showcase genuine artifacts recovered from the Titanic’s site, in addition to stories from survivors and the families of the ship’s victims. Though people of all ages are welcome at the facility, special tours designed specifically for kids are held each weekend, and one even includes a scavenger hunt activity.

Special events are also hosted at the facility, which includes a dinner gallery, teatime reservations, and a speaker series of lectures and discussion panels. There are even nights dedicated to educators. Private events can also be booked at the museum, and group rate reservations are available with enough advance notice.

Admission is $19 for children under 12, $22 for military personnel, Florida residents, and seniors 65 and over, and $26 for adults. The exhibition is open Sunday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to either 6 p.m. or 8 p.m. (depending on the time of year) and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The nearest bus stop is 9 – Titanic – The Artifact Exhibition.

  • Address: 7324 International Drive, Orlando, FL 32819

10. Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture

WellsBuilt Museum of African American History Culture
Image Credit: Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture

Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture honors and uplifts the stories of the city’s African American community. In particular, the museum focuses on the city around the time of the Civil Rights Movement, though eras that took place before and after this period are also showcased at the facility. Wells’Built was once a hotel, but after being declared a historic place in 2000, it’s been fully converted into a museum of artifacts and art.

The museum displays a range of pieces, from old uniforms from local athletes and teams to photos and documents. These have been painstakingly collected over the years to create a comprehensive look into how Orlando’s African American community has grown and evolved.

To ensure that all the museum’s pieces are kept in pristine condition, all visits are conducted by a tour guide who can answer most questions about the collection. Donations are always welcome to keep the facility running.

Admission is between $3 and $5. The Wells’Built Museum of African American History & Culture is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and the second weekend of every month. The nearest bus stop is West South Street and Chapman Court.

  • Address: 511 West South St., Orlando, FL 32805
Walt Disney Presents Gallery and Exhibits
Image Credit: Disney

Opened in 2001, the Walt Disney Presents Gallery and Exhibits is a biographical tribute to Walt Disney and his company. The museum’s galleries showcase photos and documents from his life and career, as well as images from some of his most famous projects.

One of the most beloved parts of the museum is the short film that depicts the trajectory Walt’s life took, leading to the creation of one of the most beloved brands in the world. It even has film footage and interviews that have never been seen by the general public.

Occasionally, this film is replaced with previews of upcoming Disney releases. Since the museum is meant for people of all ages, the facility incorporates interactive features in its displays to help engage visitors of all ages.

Admission to the museum itself is free. However, a ticket to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required and typically ranges between $109 and $174. Walt Disney Presents Gallery and Exhibits is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. T

  • Address: 745 Stage Lane, Orlando, FL 32830

How To Get Free or Reduced Admission to Orlando Museums

We’ve indicated with each museum whether or not children, students, or seniors receive free or reduced admission. There are also several other programs that offer similar concessions.

The Museums for All program offers free or reduced admission to museums through the U.S. for those receiving food assistance (SNAP benefits). Participating attractions in the greater Orlando area include the Harry P. Leu Gardens, the Orange County Regional History Center, the Orlando Museum of Art, and the Orlando Science Center.

Bank of America’s Museums on Us program offers cardholders free general admission to the following Orlando attractions on the first full weekend of every month: the Mennello Museum of American Art, the Orange County Regional History Center, the Orlando Museum of Art, and the Orlando Science Center.

Participation is subject to change. Please verify participating museums and entry conditions before your visit.

Final Thoughts

Travelers may love Orlando for its amusement parks, but the city has no shortage of museums worth visiting, either. From plants and art to history and culture, there’s an exhibit in the heart of Florida to suit any interest. We hope this list has helped you find an Orlando museum or 2 worth adding to your travel itinerary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the top museum in Orlando?

The Orlando Museum of Art is often cited as the city’s top museum due to its extensive collection. However, there are a number of other exhibits worth visiting, no matter what your interests are, ranging from history and culture to plants and even illusions.

Is Orlando good for tourists?

Orlando is one of the biggest tourist destinations in the country. This is, in part, because of the number of amusement parks in the area. However, there are a number of other landmarks and sites worth visiting, including Orlando’s many different museums.

What kind of museums are in Orlando?

Orlando has a wide variety of museums that cover a multitude of topics. Art and history exhibits are, perhaps, the most popular among visitors. However, there are also exhibits that showcase more pop-culture-related artifacts, like Disney galleries, immersive illusions, and Titanic recreations and artifacts.

How many museums are in Orlando?

Currently, there are over 40 museums open in the Orlando area. While many of these are in the city itself, others can be found in neighboring towns that are just a short drive away. This number is also likely to change over time.

Amar Hussain's image

About Amar Hussain

Amar is an avid traveler and tester of products. He has spent the last 13 years traveling all 7 continents and has put the products to the test on each of them. He has contributed to publications including Forbes, the Huffington Post, and more.

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