One of the foremost museum experiences in the Tampa, Florida area has long been the Museum of Science & Industry. MOSI (as the museum is popularly called by locals) offers dozens of up-close, hands-on opportunities to engage in knowing more about the scientific wonders that make up the world around us. MOSI is the largest science museum in the Southeast United States, let alone one of the most popular attractions in the Tampa Bay area. MOSI campus incorporates many unique attractions, exhibits, and areas to explore.
MOSI offers an IMAX dome movie theater, a planetarium, a nature trail butterfly habitat, hurricane-force wind tunnel, and a public library dedicated to only science-related material.
MOSI traces it days back some 50 years as a small youth museum in the heart of Tampa. By the late 1970s, efforts to expand the museum into a large, integrative learning experience brought about the origins of the MOSI we know today. The area now occupied by classrooms in the eastern wing of the MOSI building opened as the main museum in the early 1980s.
With a few phases of expansion came MOSI’s IMAX dome theater and new exhibition space in 1995. Over the last decade, further expansions have included a new wing of the museum, relocation of the Saunders Planetarium, new exhibits, classrooms, and a greater presence in the Tampa area.
MOSI is a fully established museum bearing many credentials, including accreditation from the American Association of Museums and the Association of Science-Technology Centers.
What MOSI Has to Offer
A trip to MOSI means having to plan out a whole day of non-stop seeing, doing, and exploring. Always be sure to check out the current major exhibit on the first floor. The caliber of exhibits MOSI has hosted over the years includes a major Star Trek attraction showing off many authentic costumes and props from the hit show, an ode to the art and genius of Leonardo DaVinci, and the world-renowned Bodies exhibit.
Spending an hour or two in the main exhibit hall leaves time in the late morning to catch the latest star show over at the Saunders Planetarium. Current night sky highlights are always called to our attention there – be sure to look up in the sky that night when you get home to see for yourself the stars and constellations featured at the Saunders Planetarium!
Be sure you experience the movie MOSI Imax dome theater – the only IMAX dome theater in Florida. The movie does require a ticket separate aside from the base ticket for the museum. Early afternoon has rolled around by now. Be sure you catch the butterflies in the butterfly house near the entrance. This is a peek at native Florida. There you can watch beautiful butterflies in flight. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to catch butterflies in the process of breaking out of their cocoons and spreading their wings for the first time.
If you’re brave enough, head over to the hurricane-force wind experience, where you and several other museum goers can sit in a small enclosure that will quickly fill with 74 MPH winds – those are hurricane-force winds, my friend!
Head back inside and check out the exhibits on the upper floors. These usually include exhibits featuring the human body, energy, and forces of nature found in Florida.
If you’re hungry, don’t forget MOSI offers a snack bar on the first floor near the entrance. Gift shops are located near the entrance and Saunders Planetarium.
MOSI is within minutes of Interstates 75 and 275, USF and Busch Gardens and less than 10 miles from Downtown Tampa, Ybor City, the Florida Aquarium, and Tampa International Airport. Museums and restaurants abound near MOSI. Admission prices (including one IMAX film and one Saunders Planetarium presentation) costs $20.95 for adults aged 13 through 59.
As of summer 2010, admission for children 2 through 12 is $16.95. Seniors 60 and over can enjoy the museum and shows for $18.95.
MOSI is open every day. Hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday. 9 AM to 6 PM Saturday and Sunday.
MOSI is located at 4801 East Fowler Avenue, right across from the University of South Florida. To learn more, be sure to call MOSI at 813-987-6000.
Personal and first-hand knowledge and experience