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A Parent’s Guide for a Kid-Friendly Visit to Orange County Regional History Center

Recently, I walked through Orange County Regional History Center on my own and as I did, I couldn’t help thinking, “I wish my kids were here.” Built in 2000, the museum is located inside what was once the main courthouse in Downtown Orlando, and it’s packed with visually-appealing, interactive exhibits that showcase the history of Orange County in a way I think even my teenagers would enjoy. As a homeschooling mom who struggles to get my kids to appreciate hands-on learning, that’s saying a great deal about the treasures contained inside this gem of a museum.

And, not only is Orange County Regional History Museum wonderful in itself, but the museum also offers a really impressive lineup of programming for kids and families. Want to take a trip there with your children? Read on for everything you need to know about taking kids to the Orange County Regional History Museum.

Orange County Regional History Center Image by Terri Peters

Things to know before you visit the Orange County Regional History Center

This small but mighty museum is operated by Orange County and the Historical Society of Central Florida. There are four floors of exhibits inside the museum, ranging in subject from Florida’s first indigenous people to over 100 years of Orlando tourist attractions.

The museum itself is beautiful, with vibrant, easy-to-follow exhibits and plenty of opportunities to learn about Central Florida’s rich history and back story. There’s also a preserved courtroom from the building’s courthouse days, as well as the old courthouse clock.

Orange County Regional History Center Image by Terri Peters

The Orange County Regional History Center is located in the heart of Downtown Orlando at Magnolia Avenue and Central Boulevard.

There’s plenty of easy parking available in the Library Parking Garage (112 East Central Boulevard) across from the Orlando Public Library and the museum offers validated parking (for up to two hours) with the purchase of a museum ticket.

Monday through Saturday, the museum is open from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and on Sunday, it’s open from noon to 5 p.m. Once a month, on the third Thursday of the month, the museum also stays open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. for evening hours.

Adult admission is just $8 for grown-ups, $7 for students (with student ID), and $6 for kids ages 5 through 12. Kids ages 4 and under are free. There are also a variety of admission discounts and free admission available for groups like seniors, members of the military, and Orange County employees.

Exhibits for Families

Each display at Orange County Regional History Center is modern and vibrant with easy-to-understand text, stunning art and models, interactive displays, and more.

It’s not your typical museum where kids may feel bored, or overwhelmed with the amount of required reading.

The ongoing exhibits at the museum cover things like Central Florida’s cattle and citrus industries, its role in the aviation industry, how the arrival of Walt Disney World Resort in 1971 changed the landscape, and more.

The museum is a must-visit for anyone who lives in or is visiting the Central Florida area and wants to learn more about the region, even kids! Plus, this section is especially fun when you need something to do indoors away from the heat or rain.

Orange County Regional History Center Image by Terri Peters

In addition to ongoing exhibits, the museum hosts special exhibits that are showcased for a limited time.

Ongoing exhibits at Orange County Regional History Center

  • African American History: An exploration of the triumphs and tragedies of African Americans in Central Florida’s past, with a display of paintings from Florida’s Highwaymen
  • Aviation: Learn about Central Florida’s long role in aviation history
  • Cattle and Citrus: Learn why cattle and citrus were big money-makers during Central Florida’s beginning
  • Destination Florida: An exploration of 100 years of Central Florida tourism
  • First Contact: Learn how the Spanish influenced early Central Florida culture
  • First People: Learn how Central Florida’s Indigenous people lived
  • Natural Environment: A lesson in the region’s flora, fauna, and geography, as well as Winter Park’s sinkhole
  • Pioneer Cabin: An exploration of 19th Century living in Central Florida
  • The Theme Park Era: Discover how Walt Disney World’s 1971 arrival in Central Florida shaped the region
Orange County Regional History Center Image by Terri Peters

What programs does Orange County Regional History Center offer for kids and families?

Orange County Regional History Center offers a range of programs, classes, and events for kids and their families, from summer camps to special programs for homeschoolers.

Family programming at Orange County Regional History Center

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Terri Peters