The six Orlando museums and theaters clustered in Loch Haven Park make up the city’s cultural center. Loch Haven Park is a beautiful 45-acre park that sits between Lake Estelle, Lake Rowena, and Lake Formosa. It’s at the north end of Orlando, adjoining Ivanhoe Village and the Mills50 district, just about a half-hour’s drive from Windermere or Winter Garden.
These cultural attractions are true Central Florida gems, offering all sorts of fun and enriching experiences for adults and children alike. Area residents are encouraged to take advantage of membership opportunities at their favorites; it’s a highly cost-effective way to enjoy these institutions over the course of the year, and to get invitations to plenty of special events.
It’s also worth noting that these Orlando museums and theaters have spring break and summer break camps that are great for the kiddos! A few even offer school closing camps on all weekdays that Orange County schools are closed. Keep this in mind, especially if you work in or near downtown Orlando or Winter Park, as they’re conveniently located close by.
Here’s a brief look at the cultural treasures of Orlando’s Loch Haven Park:
Orlando Museum of Art
Founded in 1924, this may not be a huge art museum, but it packs a lot in. Its primary collections include American Art, African Art, Art of the Ancient Americas, Contemporary Art, and Contemporary Graphics. These contain works from local, state, national, and global artists and from most of human history. There are always interesting traveling exhibits on display, as well.
Mennello Museum of American Art
This is the converted former home of Howard Phillips, the son of famed local philanthropist Dr. P. Phillips. The museum was established in 1998 and contains the most extensive collection of works by Earl Cunningham, as well as other pieces by American artists. There’s also a lakeside outdoor sculpture garden set among the beautiful Loch Haven Park scenery.
Orlando Shakespeare Theater
Seasons at “Orlando Shakes” are packed with Shakespeare productions along with a wide variety of classic and modern plays and musicals, as well as children’s shows. Founded in 1998, the theater attracts the best of regional acting and production talent. It has achieved a national and international reputation and is a leading performing arts venue in the state of Florida.
Orlando Science Center
This is one of Orlando’s coolest attractions for kids of all ages. This highly interactive museum has been around for about 60 years and offers lots of hands-on fun and learning. Explore a dozen different exhibition areas dedicated to different science and technology disciplines and nature, as well as the current large-scale temporary exhibit.
Orlando Repertory Theatre
Tracing its lineage back to the Orlando Little Players founded in 1926, “The Rep” is Loch Haven Park’s children’s theater. Operated in conjunction with UCF, its seasons include all sorts of expertly executed family-friendly stage fun. There’s also a Youth Academy, which offers classes, workshops, and casting opportunities for young aspiring Orlando-area actors.
Orlando Fire Museum
The original two-story Orlando Fire Station Number 3, built in 1926, has been relocated to Loch Haven Park and converted into this unique museum. Check out an array of historic firefighting vehicles, equipment, and photographs, some of which date back about a century. There’s also a memorial to fallen Orlando firefighters.