4801 E Fowler Ave., Tampa, FL 33617
Payment options: Credit cards accepted
More in this neighborhood: University Area
MOSI's goal is to expand public interest and understanding of science, industry and technology. The non-profit, community-based organization specializes in informal, and fun, science education. It is the largest science center in the southeast and the fifth-largest in the United States.
Among the 400 exhibits on three floors are permanent displays about hurricanes and weather, dinosaurs, space, flight, Florida and natural disasters. "The Amazing You" explores the human developmental life stages. Pedal a bicycle balanced on a 1-inch steel cable suspended 30 feet above the ground (and find out why the laws of physics make it impossible to fall off). Kids In Charge is a science center for children 12 and under and, at 40,000 square feet, is the largest in the nation. MOSI also features the IMAX Dome Theatre and the Saunders Planetarium.
With all the things to see and experience, the museum recommends allowing at least four hours for your visit. Dine on site at the MOSI Cafe. Discount rates are available for groups but if there are more than 15 in your group, call at least 14 days in advance. MOSI can host corporate and private events, and birthday parties.
Here's a review of the Gulf Coast Hurricane Machine:
Winds at 8 to 12 mph feel pretty good on a hot day. Hair flies gently around the face. You imagine leaves swirling on the ground.
It starts out that way inside the Gulf Coast Hurricane Machine, but the serenity doesn't last.
The wind picks up — quickly. At 25 to 31 mph, umbrellas would be difficult to handle. A fresh gale whips through, making it hard to walk. The winds gradually grow to 75 mph, which makes it dangerous even to stand.
Luckily, you're sitting on a roomy bench with goggles to protect your eyes and with earphones to muffle the sound of industrial-sized fans that re-create the natural phenomenon.
For the price of admission to the interactive science center, visitors can make unlimited visits to the hurricane exhibit, outside the main building across from the butterfly garden.
The machine sucks in air from the outside, so it's not a frigid wind. But the exhibit is shaded, the volunteers are knowledgeable and the experience is educational. Now that's cool. -- Dong-Phuong Nguyen, Times Staff Writer
Those seeking adventure can try the ropes course or the Sky Trails zip line.