I was lucky enough to spend part of my day with MOSI President and CEO, Julian Mackenzie. What is MOSI you ask? Tampa’s Museum of Science & Industry has been a staple for both children and adults since 1982. I myself have spent many hours over the years exploring with the kids and loving every minute of it.
It’s been quite a while since my last visit and boy, has MOSI changed. The transformation of the scientific playground blew me away. In fact, so much so, that I plan on taking my six-year-old next week as part of Mommy Camp.
Much of the 300,000 square-foot space is not being used and the facility has downsized into one main area. As Julian was telling me, decreasing their footprint has created more energy and inspiration in the space. I would have to agree. You could hear and feel all the children, each exploring and learning something different. A smaller space also means lower ticket pricing, which is fantastic. Julian shared that by only using part of the available space, they have saved a million dollars. Less space also leads to fewer employees, which isn’t always a bad thing. Julian explained the staff is one large team with multiple roles. These alterations have lead to a year of profits that have not been seen at MOSI since 2012. Clearly, they are doing something right.
One may assume that if there is a smaller space to work with, there is less to offer. That could not be further from the truth in this case. There is literally something for everyone at MOSI, roughly focusing on children ages five to fourteen. This is great news for a parent with multiple aged children since it’s a one-stop shop activity.
There were a ton of kids inside MOSI during my visit, and the enthusiasm was evident. These kids were laughing and playing while expanding their minds. This is what makes MOSI such a wonderful attraction, especially at this time of the year, as summer slide rears its ugly head. It is not easy to get our kids to read and study over summer break, so spending time here is a wonderful solution for both parent and child.
MOSI is heavily focused on STEAM. Not STEM…STEAM. Yes, the added A stands for Arts. According to Slate.com, “the STEAM movement isn’t about spending 20 percent less time on science, technology, engineering, and math to make room for art. It’s about sparking students’ imagination and helping students innovate through hands-on STEM projects. And perhaps most importantly, it’s about applying creative thinking and design skills to these STEM projects so that students can imagine a variety of ways to use STEM skills into adulthood.”
Every exhibit is open and viewable for everyone to get inspired.
Children are sitting and sketching alongside artists as they are both creating their masterpieces.
This open-air art studio is an interactive exhibit where the children are helping to create something amazing and beautiful while understanding the process of art.
Curious about drones? MOSI believes that understanding the history of aviation and topography, along with their relationship, is the best way to start. What about the relationship between telecommunications and irrigation? Yep, your child can learn about moisture detection and how a farmer can automatically irrigate through telecommunications. Pretty neat stuff. How about a live feed from the Space Station?
Space is a big part of MOSI’s programming and your child can explore another world in their NASA-funded Mission: Moonbase Lunar Colony. All the exhibits have such detail and one can even experience what it would be like to walk on the surface of the moon. To understand space is to educate about the science behind it and kids can do just that via a three-phase exhibit.
Connectus, the major new exhibit at MOSI, allows visitors to come face-to-face with the future, using new technologies and ideas not yet available to the public. Visitors will get hands-on with tomorrow and discover how innovators put STEAM skills to use in real life.
Exhibits like Connectus are causing our children to ask really important questions. Instead of “Mom, can I play FortNite AGAIN?”, they are figuring out the answers to “How do scientific ideas apply to improve our everyday lives?”,”How will the interconnectivity of our ideas, our data, and new technologies shape our future?” and “How does a brilliant idea get researched, developed, improved, and then shared with the world?” YES PLEASE!
Create something amazing in MOSI’s makerspace and fab lab! From building robots to ordering electricity to obeying your commands, MOSI’s team of inventors and tinkerers have hands-on projects waiting for you every day. Idea Zone® is home to different themes and projects each month, so there’s always something new to see and do at MOSI! Check out this robot’s Rubik’s Cube skills. Seriously impressive.
I could literally write for days and not cover everything offered at MOSI. You will just have to go visit, explore and experience everything for yourself to truly understand the magnitude of what MOSI provides, both in learning and entertainment.
MOSI’s innovative exhibits urge kids to ask questions and expand their mind. They really show how cool curiosity can be and spark conversations about the world and the future among kids and those around them. What’s better than that?
If you take a look at what MOSI is doing outside the facility, that is a whole other article. Julian Mackenzie’s leadership has certainly created a new MOSI that I believe is even better than the previous MOSI. He also told me about plans to increase its science outreach visits to school campuses, focusing on classrooms in underprivileged areas.
I know what you are asking yourselves. What about the move to downtown Tampa? It was, of course, a question I proposed to Julian but by no means a focus for him right now, especially since it is not a done deal. Julian has many visions for MOSI, all of which are phenomenal. As a community, we are very lucky to have MOSI and the people behind closed doors.
For ticket information and to plan your visit, click HERE:
YOUR TICKET PURCHASE SUPPORTS MOSI’S NON-PROFIT MISSION OF MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN PEOPLE’S LIVES BY MAKING SCIENCE REAL.