We were instantly attracted to wonderworks because of the building... its an upside down house situated dead centre on International Drive next to Pointe Orlando and it looks amazing. We were staying in the Quality Inn Plaza opposite, so we meandered over one day after a trip to the parks and were not disappointed.
Its is a wonderful centre full of interactive experiments and games to play.... i particularly loved the bubble room - a room filled with the equipment to make huge bubbles that you can put over your head!! theres also a place where you can experience what an earthquake feels like, a place where you can design and ride in your own rollercoaster and a place where you can feel what the water was like when the titanic sank.... plus tons more!! We were in there for a good few hours - meaning we made the most of the money we spent getting in. But its one of those places where you can spend as much or as little time as you like in there.
The whole family loved it and got stuck in with all the activities.... and we will definately go back next time were in orlando. Whilst there is alot to do in Orlando - i would definately recommend you head over to Wonderworks if you have a free evening to spare.
Theres lots going on in Orlando, Florida - so theres a good chance you may drive straight past Wonderworks and just admire the building (a fantastic upside down house) and ignore whats going on inside.... my advice to you. Dont! Stop and go in and you wont regret it.
We took the whole family to Wonderworks one night after our evening meal. We'd spent the whole day at the parks, eaten our tea and fancied something else to do before hitting the hay! Wonderworks is open until late so we went in not really knowing what to expect.
Inside there are literally hundreds of interactive games and experiments for the whole family to enjoy. You can play virtual sports, experience an earthquake, play in the bubble room (we had my father encased in a giant bubble), play on the giant floor piano - there really are too many things to list.
We were a group of all ages - from my then two year old daughter, to my 10 year old niece, to my parents who are in their 50's and everybody had a fantastic time.
If you have a spare hour to kill in the hectic Orlando - id definately give this a try.
On our first ever visit to Orlando we were advised not to overdo things by visiting a theme park everyday. Naturally, assuming people who had already been there knew better than we did, we planned our holiday to have several "rest days" on which we didn't visit any theme parks. The only problem was we began to be quite bored on these days; we're not really swimming pool people and needed somewhere to go to fill the time. This was how we came to visit Wonderworks in Orlando.
The children had noticed Wonderworks several times during bus journeys through Orlando. It was difficult not to notice it. It looks as if the building has been built upside down and slightly lopsided. It's certainly a very striking sight and I'm sure it's appearance has attracted a lot of visitors that would otherwise have overlooked the attraction. The official "story" is that the building was once a top secret laboratory from the Bermuda Triangle that was uprooted by a giant tornado and carried to Florida where it was deposited upside down on International Drive. It's an inspired if somewhat bizarre idea but the children liked the idea and were desperate to visit.
That's how a hot, humid day in August found us plodding along International Drive, sweating profusely in the Florida heat. We could have caught an I-trolley as there's a stop very close to Wonderworks but my husband likes to have a daily walk and being on holiday doesn't stop this. Interestingly, there were very few other people walking I-Drive and those we passed were all British. It's true what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen!
After paying (pricing information included later!) we passed through an Inversion Tunnel, where supposedly visitors too turn upside down so they are the same way up as the building. In reality it's a clever optical illusion where you pass through a tunnel with seemingly spinning walls. Although the tunnel you walk along isn't moving, it's very difficult not to almost overbalance!
Once inside the building it's very much an interactive science museum type of place. The exhibits are set out over several rooms and each room has something to discover.
** Room One **
This room is very much concerned with natural disasters. Included are two Earthquake Simulators, in which you can sit and experience an "earthquake" that measures 5.3 on the Richter scale. I realise I probably wouldn't enjoy a real earthquake but after riding several wild rides at various theme parks this actually felt quite tame! Another simulation is the Hurricane Hole, where you can hold onto a pole and experience 65 mile an hour winds. There is some information given on hurricanes but to be honest, our children just liked being blown about! Also in this area is a Famous Disasters quiz where you play a game similar to noughts and crosses against a computer. If you get a question right you get a square, if you get it wrong the computer does. This room also has a virtual reality video game called Global VR in which you're participating in a desert war but we didn't get to try this as the queues were a bit off-putting and our children preferred to move on to the next room...
** Room Two **
There didn't seem to be a theme to this room and there was several things all going on at once. In one corner was a bubble lab that kept our six year old entertained for quite a while despite being little more than various different bubble making equipment. The one she liked best was a giant ring in bubble solution where she could stand inside and we could lift the giant ring to leave her in a huge bubble tube - a great photo opportunity! Another good place for a photo was the Bed of Nails. If you've ever wanted to try your hand as an Indian fakir, this is the place for you. Basically you lie on a glass case and a handle is turned to make the bed of nails, all 3,500 of them, rise up until you are effectively lying on a bed of nails. It is important to lie on the glass case first to make sure your weight is evenly spread across the nails and my husband and children who tried the attraction assure me it didn't hurt!
A further attraction in this room is the WonderWall, not the Oasis song, but a giant version of those executive toys where you press your face or hand into a load of pins to leave an imprint. This is a huge version in which you can press your entire body to leave your body outline which is lots of fun but gave me a shock as it looked plumper than I imagine myself to be (though maybe two solid weeks of burger and fries had something to do with that!).
** Room Three **
The third room has the theme of sound and includes a giant piano - perfect to re-enact the scene from Big if you feel so inclined. It also has a giant electronic game of Simon Says, if you remember that game from your youth and several sound booths. Also in this room are a lot of painting of optical illusions which my husband found very interesting but the children didn't have the patience for.
** Room Four **
The theme in the fourth room, if it has one, is probably space. It has a space exhibit, an astronaut suit that you can have your photograph taken in and a flight simulator where you can see what it would be like to land a space shuttle. There were a variety of other flight simulators which we skipped as the queues were huge and our younger child was too small to ride. This room also housed my ten year old son's favourite attraction, the Wonder Coaster which is basically a roller coaster simulator ride. Before entering the simulator you design the roller coaster you would like to ride and can make it as wild or tame as you like. My son put a lot of loops and big dips into ours; luckily I like coasters as I rode with him. It's not the same as going on a real roller coaster but it was fun nonetheless!
** Laser Tag **
Once through the fourth room at Wonderworks the next floor contains a Laser Tag arcade. If you are unfamiliar with laser tag you are given a laser gun and a vest that flashes if you are hit by another person's laser. In order to play the game you need to shoot at the other players without being shot at yourself. If you get shot your gun stops working for a few seconds which can be annoying! The game is played in the dark and there are several places to hide! Entrance to Laser tag isn't included in the Wonderworks price, though it can be added as an extra. Additionally you can also go to Wonderworks and just access the Laser Tag arcade without having to go through the museum.
** Magic and Dinner Show **
Each evening Wonderworks hosts a magic and dinner show entitled "The Outa Control Magic Comedy Dinner Show" which includes an evening of entertainment plus unlimited popcorn and pizza. We didn't try this show but I have heard that a LOT of audience participation is required.
** Café **
On the way out of Wonderworks you pass a small café. We stopped here for a snack as we had a long walk back to our hotel but I wish we hadn't bothered as the food was rather lacklustre and not worth the money. There are many other much nicer places to eat along International Drive.
** Gift Shop **
As with all Orlando attractions, in an effort to extract every dollar you have, you exit through the gift shop which includes lots of science and joke type toys.
** Pricing **
There are a variety of different prices, depending upon which parts of Wonderworks you would like to visit. Current pricing (2009) is as follows
Wonderworks Museum only: Adults $19.95; Child / 65+ $14.95
Laser Tag only: $4.95 (Adult or child)
Outer Control Dinner Show: Adult $24.95; Child $16.95
Wonderworks and Dinner Show: Adult $38.95; Child $28.95
Wonderworks and Laser Tag : Adult $22.95; Child $17.95
Wonderworks, Dinner Show and Laser Tag: Adult $39.95; Child $29.95
There are many discount coupons available on International Drive and in hotels. I think we had a coupon that gave free child entry which made a good saving. Additionally if you buy your tickets online before visiting they are a dollar or two cheaper, though you can't buy Dinner show or Laser Tag tickets online.
** How to get there **
Wonderworks is found at 9067 International Drive, Orlando, Florida, 32819. It is found at the Pointe Orlando Entertainment Complex. It is really easy to find as International Drive is a major tourist attraction in Orlando and Wonderwoks is the only upside down building there! The I-Trolley stops close by and parking is available behind the building.
** Recommendation **
Though there are masses of places to go in Florida and you might wonder why you would want to go there when there are so many theme parks to see, it is a good place to go if you fancy a little bit of education. Additionally, it is a place that can be toured in an afternoon or evening so could be either a "rest" from the parks or a place to go in bad weather. Although there are some dull attractions or ones that aren't worth queuing for, overall it was a fun afternoon and our children are asking to go back when we revisit Florida. I could have done without the walk back to the hotel though!
Wonderworks looks good from the outside, it's an upside down building that apparently got that way from a tornado ripping it out of the gound of its top secret location in the Bermuda Triangle and hurled it into the air all the way to sunny Orlando, and hence it landed the wrong way up.
I think this place is quite expensive as it costs nearly $20 per adult and nearly $15 for a child/elderly person. You might think, it's okay were on holiday, but I don't agree because if you were to pay £10 (which is what it works out to be around in our money) for something over here you would most certainly complain. Maybe it's because we're adults and kids would enjoy it more, but as you know this is just my opinion.
There is the main wonderworks exhibits along with laser tag and an out of control dinnershow, but as we only went to the exhibits so this is all I can advise you on. The laser tag was an extra $5 and the dinnershow around $20 so we declined these. I would advise if you do want to visit wonderworks for you to get the discount vouchers from their website:
It's only an extra $1.50 off your pricing per person, but as Tesco say, every little helps!
This is some of the exhibits:
Land the Space Shuttle - Take a seat in the Shuttle Landers. Use your hand and eye coordination to maneuver the controls and land the Discovery Space Shuttle on the airstrip. This is a quite interesting computer game machine type of equipment if your into that kind of thing, but it's a very unresponsive machine and even when everything is lined up for a perfect landing it still proceeds to crash itself. If you like crashing things you will love this haha!
Fighter Jets - Discover the freedom of flight as you pilot the F14 and F18 fighter jets across the blue skies. The visual effects of three wide screen television monitors will immerse you into the experience. This is again alright, but you really just sit there and steer, nothing else moves, not even your seat and there are no special effects added. Again you need to be an awesome pilot to land this one.
Astronaut Space Suit - Explore the life size replicas of an Astronaut Space Suit and Mercury Capsule. This is the same old usual tourist stuff, take your picture in the space suit, and look inside a non-responsive plastic ship. Boring this one, even for kids.
Virtual Games & Sports - Step in front of the blue screen and choose from differents games. Utilizing the magic of blue screen technology, you become fully immersed in a 3-dimensional world completely generated by a computer. This sounds great in theory, but in real life its rubbish, the machines are slow to respond and everything seems backwards so are very hard to control and when on the screen you turn tiny and are never quite sure where you are on screen, great for small kids who don't really know what to do, poo for anyone else.
Earthquake Simulator - Get ready to feel what a 5.3 earthquake actually feels like. Wow doesn't this sound awesome, it is infact totally not. You sit on a booth style seat with a table in font of you to hold on to (which i'm sure no little kid could reach). It's supposed to be like being in the middle of an earthquake while having your dinner in a cafe. All it does is shake a while, it does get a bit bumpy, but I am quite sure a 5.3 earthquake like this would rumble and bounce a whole lot more, and well things would move, not just the wee box you're sitting in.
Bubble Lab - This exhibit is just for the fun of it! Put yourself inside a gigantic bubble that you created. This is actually one of the exhibits we had the most fun with. You get to make giant bubbles and bubble waterfalls, etc. You can even climb inside a bubble, as long as you're careful enough not to burst it. Just watch your eyes, you don't want soapy stuff in them and watch out for the wet floors. Quite sad really that this was one of the most fun things there.
Bed of Nails - Feel the sensation of 3,500 SHARP nails rise up from under you while lying on this bed of nails. This is another thing we liked, well we felt we just HAD to do for photo purposes you understand hehe. Well you don't actually climb straight onto a bed of nails, they are under a perspex sheet (they are very sharp) and when you are comfortably laid down the nails raise up through the holes. This is quite scary, but you actually can't feel them and you do not get hurt. This is great for adults and kids alike, well the brave ones that is. Great photo op.
WonderWall - Sounds wonderful, fascinating and intriguing, well it's not. This is just a giant wall of non sharp pins (the things you can buy in gadget shops to make an impression of your hand or whatever). Create a 3-dimensional impression of your entire body by pressing into this wall made of 40,000 pins. Boring, but you might want another photo op.
The Sound Booth - This is the worst ever, you sit in a blackened out booth, alone if you want. A man starts talking about sounds and how your ears work, it then proceeds to play random sounds in different parts on the booth, how exciting I don't think. Beware, this one can send you to sleep.
Tornado Simulator - You stand in a train type area and hold the rails, then a big fan blows air at you, adults are fine, but small kids would need to be held onto. This would of been better had the actual train thing moved as well as the wind blowing. Over in seconds.
Wonder Coaster - This is the other best ride in the place - Design the Roller Coaster you have always wanted to ride! Feel the adrenaline rush of this 360º pitch and roll motion virtual ride. This is fun it's one of them simulator machines where the screen is in front of you and you actually think you are on the ride, the best thing is that it only sits two and you steer it yourself and it does actually go upside down. There is also the fighter pilot version where one person flys and the other shoots. The rollercoaster is by far the better as the fighter pilot one is uncontrollable and unresponsive to directions.
There are more smaller exhibits and unfascinating pieces of information, and lots of interactive outdated things for kids to do, like plasma lamps for example. These will not take long to get through and once finished you can go up a level which is very run down (they try to make it look better with glowing paint and strobe light things which don't flash) and visit the cafe.
The cafe sells freshly hand tossed New York style pizza which we didn't really want to try, we didn't want to eat in here it's dirty! Other menu items include chicken nuggets, hot dogs, french fries, soft pretzels, popcorn, hand-dipped ice cream, drinks, etc.
Beware if you don't want the kids spending more money, there are arcade machines on this floor. They take tokens so you cannot get your money back, you have to win tickets to get a cheap prize of some kind. Quite a rip off really.
Next your on to the Gift Shop - Offering a collection of souvenir merchandise from postcards and t-shirts to mugs and hats, old fashion rock candy . If you like M&M's, look no further, they have 21 different colors to choose from, they also sell a lot of bulkcandy if you want to take some home, but I would advise against this as it is much cheaper to buy candy from walmart ot walgreens, etc.
I would advise you to go to the toilet before entering here as the toilets in this place are disgusting. They are so old and I don't think they have been cleaned in forever. Not very hygenic at all.
One good thing about this place is that there is an I-trolley (bus stop) right outside so when you leave in disappointment you can always jump on and go somewhere better.
As I said before this is only my opinion, but if you wish to go somewhere overpriced, never updated and never cleaned then this is the perfect place for you - enjoy and your peril.
What is Wonderworks?
Wonderworks is an attraction which includes 100 interactive exhibits for the entire family to experience plus the building is also host to Laser Tag and Outta Control Magic comedy dinner Show. We did not go in Laser Tag or the magic show so this review is only on the wonderworks its self.
Where is it?
You will find Wonderworks situated on International Drive Orlando, Florida .
You will not miss this building as its White and looks like its upside down.
To reach Wonder Works, take I-4 to exit 72 (Beeline Expressway) or exit 74 ( Sand Lake Road, S.R. 482). From exit 72, take the Beeline east 1/2 mile and exit north onto International Drive to the Pointe Orlando Entertainment Complex.
From exit 74, take Sand Lake Road east 1/4 mile and turn south onto International Drive to the Pointe Orlando Entertainment Complex.
9am to Midnight
WonderWorks $14.95 Child or Senior, $19.95 Adult
Lazer Tag All Ages $4.95 This is for only one Game
The Outta Control Dinner Show Child/ Senior $14.95 , Adult $21.95 (Dinner Show Only)
Magic Combo Child/ Senior $27.95 , Adult $37.95 (WonderWorks and Dinner Show)
Lazer Combo Child/ Senior $17.95, Adult $22.95 (WonderWorks and 1 Lazer Tag Game)
Ultimate Combo Child/ Senior $28.95, Adult$38.95 (WonderWorks, 1 Lazer Tag Game & Dinner Show)
You can also find vouchers in the local tourist Magazines and Leaflets, look out for them.
Whats in Wonderworks?
The idea of the building being upside down is that it was ripped up by a tornado and dumped here :) upside down. As you enter the building you will see that the room is upside down. Your start your trip by going through a inversion tunnel which makes you feel like your spinning upside down, don't like this feeling just close your eyes and walk across, you will be fine.
As you will go through the building you will enter different rooms and in each room you will find a selection of interesting facts and hands on experiences. Heres some of the things you will find on your adventure.
Hurricanes - Learn about hurricanes and what they can do, Also experience a hurricane here yourself, my children loved this and keep going on it until I dragged them away. The simulator is a typical mile hurricane which is approx 65 mph.
Earthquakes - Try out the 5.3 Simulated earthquake, This make me feel quit sick but the children again loved this. You can also find information on earthquakes and research the history of them.
Natural Disasters Challenge - Now this was what my husband liked i.e beating everyone else to the answers. You will find 3 computers and questions will appear on the screen related to natural disasters you have to answer right. See who can get the best score out of your family.
Global VR - This is a virtual reality game, where you enter combat, I didn't do this but my son did and a typical boy spent ages here while we looked at other things in the area
Illusions- Oh I loved these, can make you feel abit cross- eyed afterwards. see the usual illusions i.e Do you see a vase or two faces? plus many more. As look at the window and be surprised.
Bubbleology - This hands on experience was great we all loved the bubbles, You can try and put yourself in a bubble without it busting, my daughter managed this several times, I couldn't master it but it was fun trying. Be warned it can get very slippery in this area.
Velocity Ball- See how fast you can throw a baseball, can you beat the famous baseball players. Only let you children have a few goes, not like my son who had about 20 and ended up with a shore arm for a few days, Bless him.
Virtual Sports - You will also find some virtual sports games here like virtual football and basket ball, I found this quit boring but I am not interested in mush sports. My son would have spent forever here playing, we should have left him and came back later ;)
Animal Sounds - Listen to animal sounds and discover what the animals are, I really enjoyed this as some animals didn't sounds like I thought they would. You will also discover facts about animals from around the world.
Shocker Chair- Are you brave enough to try? We wasn't. Do you want to know what it feels like to feel volts flow through your body? Go on try it:)
Bridge of Fire - This makes your hair stick up on end, you need to try it to believe it. If your sensitive to static avoid as I did get a few shocks from it as I am very sensitive to them. The children thought it was cool.
Bed of Nails - This is another of those let the children try out tasks, you would not get me to try this out at all. My son gave it ago and he loved it, we took pictures and he took them to school to show all his buddies who thought it was cool.
Wonderwall - Similar to the bed on nails but like a wall and you can put you hands or whole body in and it leaves shapes on the other side. I braved this one, it was very interesting.
Test Your self - You can test your reaction times and reflexes here. I loved the reaction time as it was something I was finally good at and could beat everyone else.
Shadow Wall - Oh this is great fun, leave an imprint of your self on the wall by using light and shadows. This was very popular so expect to wait abit to try this out.
Piano - Compose some music on a giant Piano. This was fun but didn't spend too much time here as it started to get a bit busy down this end of the building.
Musical Lights - Wave your hands above musical notes and create music this was great fun and I must admit I probably hogged this area :)
Computer aging- The computer takes a picture of you and changes it to how it believes you will look in 25 years, be warned you might get a fright. My children thought I looked funny.
Elastic surgery - The computer takes you picture and you can change it by pulling and stretching the picture. You can also print this picture off for $1
How old are you?- Answer a few computer generated questions on your life and they computer will tell you if your current habits are making you older.
WonderCoaster- This is a very busy area and be prepared to wait in a long queue, I didn't try this but my husband and son did. You create your own roller coaster on a computer screen and then ride it in a simulated ride. My husband came off and was very dizzy for a while.
You then exit into a shop which has lots of interesting science related gifts and books, the prices were okay as they has a selection of affordable items to the expensive items. My son brought a alarm making kit for $3.25 which was very cheap. In all we spent 3 hours in here exploring, did I think it was good value for money? I thought it was great for the children but I would feel if you had tiny ones i.e under 5 I think they might get a little bored here as some of the areas are a little complicated. I would take my children back again on our next visit as they enjoyed it so much, they are aged 11 and 8 years old.
You will find toilets all through this attraction and all are signed posted well and are very clean. Seating through out this attraction is very limited, i was okay as we got to most areas when it was quite but feel it could be a problem at more busy times.
Review also on Ciao