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. The museum is commonly known as MOSH. 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, specifically in Florida’s coastal waters. There is a tool that uses echolocation to measure distance, like a dolphin. There is an actual size Right Whale and calf. Several aquatic specimens are preserved for kids to explore. This is also where the MOSH staff conducts a program involving the touch tank. During this program children are allowed to reach into the tank and touch various sea creatures such as sea snails and the like.
Beyond this room is the Allosuarus 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. All the animals featured can be found in Florida. The commitment to Florida specific exhibits is found in just about every display, which was quite admirable.
The 2nd Floor
On the second floor we found a large area for the kids to play in. There was a 3-D topography simulator, a mini golf play area, several educational games, a radar gun to measure how fast you can throw a baseball, and lastly the planetarium. A viewing at the planetarium is included with every admission. There are three scheduled shows that you get to pick one of. We really enjoyed our time watching the timeless “Two pieces of glass.”
The Other Exhibits
MOSH has several exhibits that are on display only on 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. Finally, there is a small outdoor pond with freshwater and Alligator snapping turtles swimming around. It is a nice area to learn about the plant life found in Florida and get some fresh air.
The Science Theater
We were able to attend a live science experiment 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.
Things to know about MOSH
- The Museum has a lot of school field trips visiting and will typically be busier on weekends.
- There are pay 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. Parking is restricted to restaurant guests only but is free. We told the attendant we were planning on going to MOSH and then to the restaurant for lunch so he let us right in. There is no validation on the parking 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.
- Stop by Friendship Fountain between River City and the museum for some great photos.
- There are several 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.