Our latest and greatest adventure in search of some family fun took us to Jacksonville, Florida for a quick day trip. There we visited the Museum of Science and History or MOSH, as it is commonly known. We had a great day exploring the exhibits! There is something for everyone here!
The many featured items included a replica Allosaurus Skeleton, a touch tank with sea creatures, snakes and reptiles, a science lab with live demonstrations, a planetarium, an elaborate display on Jacksonville’s history, and a 3D topography model.
The great thing about MOSH is that it was very interactive. There always seemed to be some kind of device to use or educational game to play for the kids.
The First Floor
The first room you come to after the main lobby, is themed to teach children about aquatic life in the ocean waters off the Florida coast. There was a tool that uses echolocation to measure distance, like a dolphin. Next, we found an actual size Right Whale and calf on display and several aquatic specimens preserved for kids to see and explore. The most noteworthy thing in this room is the touch tank exhibit. MOSH staff conduct a program involving the touch tank that allows children to reach into the tank. The kids were able to touch sea snails and anemones, for instance.
Beyond this room is the Allosaurus skeleton and the live animals exhibit. Gopher Tortoises, King Snakes, several Turtles, an Indigo Snake, and a few live birds can be seen in the animals exhibit. At MOSH, there is a commitment to displaying exhibits directly related to the state of Florida. For example, all of the animals on display at the museum are native to to the state of Florida.
The 2nd Floor
After that, we made our way to the second floor where we found a large area for the kids to play in. This level has a topographic map simulator, a mini golf play area, and several educational games. Additionally, a throwing booth with a radar gun is setup so that your kids can test their best fastball. Hence, we spent a large amount of time on the second floor playing. Finally, you will come to the planetarium.
The planetarium has three scheduled shows each day. Therefore, your family can choose one of which to see. Each paid admission includes a visit to the planetarium! We really enjoyed our time watching the timeless “Two pieces of glass.”
Other Exhibits at MOSH
MOSH certainly has several interesting exhibits. Moreover, some are only on display for short term basis. On the 3rd floor we found an area featuring the many boroughs in the City of Jacksonville. The theme was to educate children on the complexities of building infrastructure and social inclusion in a community. On the first floor, on your way out through the gift shop, is a great interactive display on how the human body functions. Additionally, another good option is a small outdoor pond with freshwater and Alligator snapping turtles swimming around. This area is a good place to learn about the plant life found in Florida. Lastly, it was just nice to get some fresh air.
The Science Theater
Certainly, one of the coolest things we did was attend a demonstration at the Science Theater. This lab program, put on by one of MOSH’s staff members . Our presenter did a great job of presenting some awe inspiring science demonstrations. She was very engaging and really made the science fun for the kids. An example of this was when she performed a controlled explosion with a 5 gallon water bottle and alcohol. The kids loved it.
Things to know about the Museum of Science and History
- The Museum has a lot of school field trips visiting and will typically be busier on weekends.
- There are paid parking garages near MOSH. Behind the Museum is the parking lot for the River City Brewing Company Restaurant. Their parking is conveniently located near the main entrance to MOSH.
- The parking is restricted to restaurant guests only, however, it is totally free. We told the attendant we were planning on going to MOSH and to the restaurant for lunch, as a result, he let us right in.
- Also, parking at this lot has no validation so if we changed our mind then there wasn’t going to be a fee. We recommend you park here. This may be more difficult on busy weekends.
- We did have lunch at River City simply due to the convenience factor. The food was great and we sat outside on the patio. We had a great view of the St. John’s River and the Jacksonville Skyline.
- Also, stop by Friendship Fountain between River City and the museum for some great photos.
- There are several additional picnic tables near the fountain so bringing your own lunch is an option for saving a few dollars.
- Everyone in our family had an enjoyable experience but MOSH is ideal for ages 11 and under, specifically.
- The planetarium was worth seeing multiple shows.
- Wear comfortable shoes for walking around.
- MOSH opens everyday at 10 a.m.
- There are several hotels in the area if you need to stay. Staying outside or away from Jacksonville’s downtown district would be the less expensive way to go.
- The Jacksonville Zoo is another great day trip for a family visiting the city!