West Palm Beach Point of Interest:
South Florida Science Center and Aquarium
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium can be found in West Palm Beach, Florida, at 4801 Dreher Trail North. Founded in 1959, the organization’s mission is to inspire a curiosity for science in everyone via engaging exhibitions, community camps, and events. Now, the SFSCA is home to over 50 hands-on exhibits and an aquarium that is 3000 square feet in size. There’s also a mini-golf course and an exhibition area large enough to show a traveling exhibit. A membership in the SFSCA is redeemable at any other ASTC scientific and technology center (Association of Science-Technology Centers). SFSCA is located near the Palm Beach Zoo, and bundle deals for entry to both facilities are available.
The Junior League of the Palm Beaches established the Junior Museum of Palm Beach County in 1959 with a concentration on the natural sciences. Exhibits covered marine and land life, as well as geology and agriculture. The museum was opened on October 21, 1961. Dedicated by astronaut Buzz Aldrin in 1964, Buzz Aldrin’s Planetarium opened in Los Angeles. In 1971, the Museum doubled in size to include classrooms, an auditorium, and a larger exhibit area. The theatre and auditorium were renovated in the 1980s, and the museum was renamed the South Florida Science Museum to better represent its evolving mission.
The planetarium and theater underwent a renovation in 2008 to make room for additional guests. Adding a 3000 square foot aquarium and a 3000 square foot permanent display area featuring the “River of Grass” Everglades exhibit as well as the NOAA Science on a Sphere, the South Florida Science Museum began growing again in 2012. On June 6th, 2013, the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium reopened under its new name. The Hall of Discovery in the SFSCA’s West wing was restored and enlarged in 2015 to include a nanotechnology display and a space for early childhood education.
“Aquariums of the Atlantic” features numerous tanks housing native Florida species including Queen Angels, Pink Wrasse, and sharks, as well as invasive species like the Lionfish in a 3000 square foot space. The largest tank is “Shipwreck Cove,” a 3500 gallon tank including sharks, a spotted moray eel, white fin remoras, lobsters and barracudas. There’s a 6-foot coral reef tank with a hollowed-out core in the aquarium as well, so guests can walk right into the tank’s heart. Fish from the Red Sea, Hawaiian Islands, Indo-Pacific and Atlantic Oceans may be found in this tank.
Alligators, turtles, and other marine life endemic to the Florida Everglades are on show at the aquarium as well. The aquarium operators have “Touch Tanks” where guests may get up up and personal with some of the aquarium’s aquatic creatures.