Tag Archives: orlando science center

End 2015 and start 2016 on a generous note

We can all agree that 2015 has been memorable for one reason or another. With only a few hours left of 2015, we wanted to reflect on the past, present, and look toward the future.

For the past six years, we at Central Florida Top 5 have been extraordinarily humbled to partner with and support many local area charities and non-profit organizations. Many of them you will see listed below. We encourage you to support your local community in whatever way you can; some have money to spare, some have resources or even a little bit of time. Any and all help is needed and appreciated.

If you have done your part in 2015, good on you! Our friends at the Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida share with us their Top 5 Year End Charitable Giving Tax Tips:

  1. Double-check eligibility. You’ll only receive a deduction for organizations that are qualified to receive deductible donations.
  2. Do your research. To make sure your giving is as efficient, ethical, and effective as possible, check up on charities.
  3. Keep records. Get a receipt for all monetary donations, not just for contributions of $250 or more.
  4. You can supercharge the tax benefits of your generosity by donating appreciated stock or property rather than cash. On the other hand, if you’re looking for top-notch property management services for both rental owners and tenants, click here.
  5. Don’t miss the deadline. Your 2015 year-end gift needs to be postmarked by December 31 or made online by 11:59pm.
Remember to check with a tax professional first. Everyone’s tax reporting is different, and a professional may have more tips and pointers for you. 

Have you ever heard of the website CharityNavigator.org? CN are a charity all their own based in the United States. They help giving people of all kinds (like you!) find and support great charities and organizations by rating them with an overall score and 5-star system. Their evaluations take into account Financial Health and Accountability & Transparency, and will also eventually factor in Results Reporting. Charities they grade include public, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) charities who need support from individuals and file an IRS Form 990. It’s also worth mentioning, Charity Navigator has a fantastic section featuring Tips For Giving In Times Of Crisis.

Guidestar is another nonprofit, providing up-to-date data and is the world’s largest source of information on nonprofit organizations.

While double and sometimes tripling your donation at the end of the year is always a great thing, charitable organizations and non-profits need your help year-round to keep their doors and hearts open to those who need their services. Below are a small few of the MANY great local and national organizations we like and have supported over the last six years. Some have even personally helped our Top 5 Team and our families. (In alphabetical order);

Local Charities:

A Gift For Teaching: We are Central Florida’s primary provider of FREE school supplies to teachers for their students in need. With a gift of just $50, we can provide a classroom with supplies for every child.  Even better, any gift made in December will be DOUBLED, thanks to the generosity of several local foundations; The Galloway Foundation, the Mary Palmer Family Foundation, Harriett’s Charitable Trust, and The Martin Andersen-Gracia Andersen Foundation, Inc. Donations doubled before midnight December 31st!

A Gift For Music: Using a combination of after school, in-school, weekend and summer programming, AGFM has one of the most comprehensive string music education programs in the state of Florida, tuition-free. A Gift For Music faculty members work with elementary students in six Title 1, low-income schools, teaching them the basics of playing a string instrument while empowering them to explore their creativity, grow their self-confidence and embrace teamwork. Donations also doubled before midnight December 31st!

Albin Polasek Museum, Sculpture Gardens and Capen House: The Polasek is a 501(c)3 public charity whose budget is funded by donations, admissions and memberships. Your contribution is a meaningful investment in an important piece of history, community and natural beauty, such as Penny Stocks. You can support The Polasek with a tax-deductible donation in one of the following areas: Grant Match, General Operating Support, Preservation and Conservation, Gardens, Exhibitions and/or education. Click here to support!

Bike/Walk Central Florida: Promotes walkable and bikeable communities through raising public awareness and advocating for safe, active transportation, and recreation by educating walkers, cyclists, motorists and transit riders about Florida’s road laws, their rights, responsibilities, and courteous behaviors, supporting transportation corridor planning and design using Complete Streets principles, encouraging the development and maintenance of trails throughout Florida and promoting a built environment that supports physical, environmental and economic health, provides for safe transportation choices, and encourages interaction among citizens of all ages, incomes and abilities. Donate here.

Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum: The mission of the Friends of Casa Feliz – to protect, operate and maintain the integrity of the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum and its collections; to educate the public on the life and legacy of noted architect James Gamble Rogers II; and to engage the public through education and advocacy for the purpose of preserving and promoting the community’s rich architectural, historic and cultural heritage – is timelier now than it ever has been.  As a historic home museum, Casa Feliz stands as a beacon to historic preservation in Central Florida. We celebrate the legacy of architect Gamble Rogers (1901-1990), designer of Casa Feliz, now a home museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Donate here.

Central Florida Community Arts: CFCArts exists to enrich our community’s quality of life by making the arts accessible and affordable for all. They provide an inclusive and welcoming creative platform where individuals can connect by joining an artistic family, perform for audiences across the socioeconomic spectrum, and use their talents to serve the community. Shine on, CFArts! Donate here!

Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida: Say goodbye to 2015 with a final act of kindness and compassion. There is no better way to end one year and begin another than by making a gift that can change lives. Before the clock strikes midnight, make an easy online donation.

Cocktails & Chemo: The Cocktails and Chemo Foundation’s mission is to create a support network for the often forgotten caregivers of cancer patients by providing one-of-a-kind care packages. The Foundation is focused on making the caregivers feel loved, special and most importantly… not alone. Thanks to the generosity of Xander Blue 8 in Dr. Phillips, C & C hosted a Stay Glam event where 18 caregivers got to relax a little and were pampered for a few hours. I was one of them. Please help them help local caregivers by supporting them with whatever you’ve got here.

Compassionate Hands and Hearts Breast Cancer Outreach: With a mission to extend their hands and hearts to support those needing help by improving the quality of life for them and their families, CHHBCO has provided financial and in-kind services to more than 200 patients in the Central Florida area. 100% of their donations go directly to local breast cancer patients and their families. My family was one of them, and we will be forever grateful to founder Vanessa Echols and her volunteers! Extend a heart and hand to donate here.

Crealdé School of Art: For the Louvre of Loos! Making a donation to Crealdé will help this 40 year old school in Winter Park build new bathrooms! So far they have received $7,925 from planet maids cleaning service, and are very close to reaching their $10,000 goal. Help them make their renovation goal by clicking here.

If you need quality pressure cleaning services to Fort Myers, FL and surrounding areas. Visit home cleaning naples fl, we’re ready to meet your house cleaning needs!

Enzian Theater: Serving 110,000 annually with over 1,100 events, including 5 film festivals, community collaborations, and free public programs, Enzian Theater’s big wish is to expand to three screens. Having already updated the theater itself with new seating, carpeting and more, having two more screens will allow for more curated, educational programs for arts organizations, schools and social partners. With this expansion – a new kitchen! Click here to donate to the Enzian Forever Campaign.

Give Kids the World: Over 140,000 children have had their dream come true at Give Kids The World. No child in need has ever been turned away – and no child ever will. Give Kids The World is a place where families find joy, laughter, serenity, and a lifetime of memories. Through the tireless support of our volunteers, employees and generous partners, we dedicate each and every day to these special families. Donations of all kinds are welcomed year-round!

Harbor House of Central Florida: Harbor House empowers domestic abuse survivors to take control of their lives – rediscovering safety and self-esteem. Offering a 24-hour crisis hotline, shelter, counseling, legal advocacy, and other services to literally thousands of people. Harbor House seeks to eliminate domestic abuse in Central Florida by providing safety, shelter, empowerment, education and justice. Help Harbor House help neighbors in need here.

Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation: Founded in 2007 by Robin Maynard in memory of her mom, Libby’s Legacy provides comprehensive breast health care to the underserved Central Florida community through education, mammograms, follow up diagnostics and Hope Coaches on the journey from diagnosis to treatment and beyond. Libby’s Legacy also helps stage IV breast cancer patients battling by granting wishes in order to create cherished memories with loved ones through the LIVE BIG program. Their annual events mobility scooters 4 Hooters and Ellen’s Walk With the Angels in the Spring are not to be missed! Click here to donate.

Mad Cow Theatre: This magical chance to be part of our first ever Cowathon and double the impact of your gift ends at midnight tonight! Please consider a gift to Mad Cow Theatre to help us start the new year off strong. There’s another wonderful year of outstanding plays ahead! Every donation received by midnight tonight will be 100% matched up to $50,000 thanks to a wonderful, anonymous donor. Click here to give!

Osceola Council on Aging: Created in 1971, the Osceola Council on Aging, Inc. is the largest social services organization in Osceola County, providing a wide array of services and programs to meet the needs of our community. Though the name implies services for just the elderly, our scope of services extend to families as well, helping during crisis to enable generations of residents to cope with challenges. Give the gift of independence here.

Orlando Science Center: OSC turned 60 in 2015! Parents, increasingly in households where all caregivers hold full time jobs, need a place for quality time with their children, to reinforce good educational habits. Your generous donation helps support programs like Orlando Science Center’s Science for All Fund, which provides scholarships for camps, field trips, and family memberships to those in our community facing financial need. Click here to donate.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida: Through the generosity of the community, Second Harvest are driven to close the gap of unmet need in Central Florida in a variety of effective ways. Their core program of distributing tens of millions of meals per year for the clients of more than 550 local nonprofit feeding programs continues to have a growing impact. Click here to Feed Hope Now. 96.9% of your donation goes directly to feeding people in our area.

National Charities:

American Cancer Society and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network: On a personal note, I had to mention the American Cancer Society. This year has been a very tough one for my family personally, as well as for our Central Florida Top 5 family. The amount of support ACS has provided to my mom in the last year alone – at no cost – is immeasurable. Donation & volunteer information is here.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America: IAVA provides valuable resources and empowers veterans to connect with one another, fostering a strong and lasting community. Through education, advocacy and community building, we strive to create a country which honors and supports veterans of all generations. They are the leading post-9/11 veteran empowerment organization (VEO) with the most diverse and rapidly growing membership in America. They don’t just support veterans, IAVA empowers them! Connect & donate here.

Sunshine Foundation: A Philadelphia Police Officer took out a boat loans and started the Sunshine Foundation to help dreams come true for young children. 37 years later, the Foundation has opened chapters in Central Florida (Davenport), Cocoa, and all across the United States! Their sole purpose is to answer the dreams of chronically ill, seriously ill, physically challenged and abused children ages three to eighteen, whose families cannot fulfill their requests due to financial strain that the child’s illness may cause. 80% of every dollar is applied to programs serving children. Help check off their National Waiting List here.

UNICEFUSA.org: Every donation will be matched – $2-for-$1 for a $1,525,000 match – to make TRIPLE the impact for children in need. Make your 100% tax-deductible gift now and it will help provide children with desperately needed water, food, and medical supplies. Of every dollar spent, 90.2 cents goes toward helping children. Triple your impact HERE.

Baby It’s Cold… In Orlando (Somewhat)

It’s the last week of fall and here in Central Florida we’re experiencing temperatures 10 degrees higher than average. What’s an Orlandoan to do when they’d like a taste of a Winter Wonderland? Here are my top five:

1) Ice Skating
I remember skating on a pond outside our house in Michigan as a child. It was a tiny little thing, and you couldn’t really get up enough speed to do even an arabesque, much less any kind of twirls. Luckily we have rinks here in Orlando like RDV Sportsplex that has public skating hours, and in Kissimmee there’s  The Ice Factory where they also have open skating AND you can skate with Santa this Friday night (December 18, 2015)! Light Up UCF has an outdoor (albeit warm) rink plus lots of other holiday activities including a film festival and light show. Other synthetic ice rinks include and I-Drive 360  and the Orlando Science Center both warm yet (pardon the pun) COOL!

If watching ice skating gives you a shiver, SeaWorld Orlando’s Winter Wonderland on Ice is a show-stopping, ice skating extravaganza. Though far from making one think of ice, “Hot Chocolate” is my favorite production number. Check it out! (♫ Oh We Got It! ♫) Best of all, all #SeaWorldChristmas events are included with admission.

2) Ice Bars
Ice Bar on International Drive is one “hot” spot (pun intended) where you can “taste the cold” along with your drink! Visit during happy hour every Sunday through Thursday from 7–9p for discounted admission (drinks extra).

At Minus5 Ice Bar at Pointe Orlando everything is made of 100% ice including the bar, tables, benches, walls and even the glasses guests drink from. Check their calendar for events and specials.

Though both bars are marketed to the tourists, locals can have a night of cold fun if to just imagine what it would be like to live in a cold clime, or to remember the days when they “used to” live up north.

Another option is On The Block, a “pop up” VIP ice bar inside ICE! at Gaylord Palms (read more about ICE! below). This add-on experience is for guests 21 and over.

3) Frozen Treats
Can’t get TO the snow? How about a snow… cone?! Or ice cream? Orlando is home to great restaurants and shops with delicious frozen treats. Vivoli Gelateria in Disney Springs offers a variety of Italian frozen creations including seasonal flavors. Also at Disney Springs, Downtown Snow Company (near Fulton’s Crab House and across from Portobello), offers shaved ice and a multitude of festive flavors. Thinking French instead? Check out L’artisan des Glaces at Epcot’s France Pavilion. Kona Ice serves up shaved ice at multiple locations and you can’t go wrong with a Concrete from Shake Shack (not very “holiday”, but I LOVE the Key Lime!) or Freddy’s Frozen Custard (they have a Pumpkin Pie one seasonally that’s OH so good).

Want to make a frozen drink at home that tastes like the holidays? Emily Ellyn created some of my all-time favorites. (Her Eggnog Martini is my go-to holiday drink with spirit!)

4) Snow and Ice IN Florida
You’d be hard pressed to find anywhere in Florida colder than ICE! at Gaylord Palms. It’s a chilly 9 degrees inside! Enjoy ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas carved out of over two million pounds of ice. After your chilly stroll through a true Winter Wonderland, add to the fun with Alpine Rush! Who knew you could snow sled in the Sunshine State?! My son has been down the slides at least 50 times (conservatively). This is by far my favorite Florida cold spot, though remember to bring your touch-pad gloves for the walk-through if you intend to take pictures or Instagram your #CAGP15 trip. My phone froze up before I made it to the last room, the Nativity.

ProTip: Keep your phone or camera as close to your body as you can between shots and by all means wear closed-toed shoes. (I did not during one of my walk-throughs this year and I found myself doing a Prancer imitation as I went from room to room.) ICE! featuring ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas runs through January 3, 2016. Season passes are available, too, so you can enjoy the Frozen Fabulousness over and over. It’ll be like you live in snow country. But without the tire chains.

This Friday (Dec. 18), guests age 21 and older can visit Gaylord Palms Resort to zoom down the Alpine Rush Snow Tubing hills and jaunt through the 9-degree ICE! attraction wearing only a bikini or board shorts (shorts and a T-shirt can also be worn)! Their one-night-only Polar Bear Plunge 2015 is $50 plus tax and processing fees and include access to Alpine Rush Snow Tubing and ICE!, appetizers and two drink tickets to be redeemed during the event. A portion of all ticket proceeds from the Polar Bear Plunge will be donated to Special Olympics Florida.

The City of Winter Haven is holding Snow Central. Play in 70 tons of snow and go down 3 lanes of the Snow Slide,  meet Santa and more, all for free, Thurs. Dec. 17 from 6–9pm.

5) Fake It ‘Till You Make It
While there are no places to build snowmen (though you can sing along to the family frozenDisney Frozen soundtrack…), you can close your eyes and imagine the attraction industry’s soap-bubble concoction or tissue paper cutouts are snow. Theme parks have snow nightly now through the end of the year (Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld all have Florida-friendly “snow” nightly; check park maps for details), and it’s “Now Snowing” at Celebration Florida, too!

I only lived in Michigan for a couple of years. The rest of the time I lived in my birth place of Central Florida. It did snow here one year when I was a kid. I hadn’t seen snow prior to then and it seemed other-worldly. I think we managed to scoop up enough for a single snowball, but in that moment it was winter here in Orlando. There are no forecasts for flurries this year, but I can “feel” winter just a little more though fun frozen activities and treats all around town.

We Want to Send You to Maker Faire Orlando!

Maker Faire Orlando defines a Maker as “We are parents, students, scientists and garage tinkerers. We are young and old and we share a love for innovation, creativity and inspiring others to make something – anything – as long as it makes people happy.” In short, we are ALL Makers!

Here, people can show off what they are making and share everything they’re learning,” said Candy Cole, President and co-founder of The Maker Effect Foundation. “Our continued expansion will allow even more makers to participate, and others in the community to see and learn from the incredible talents of our neighbors.

The event is even BIGGER this year as the DIY fun expands across Loch Haven Park and over into the Orlando Museum of Art! Via the 2015 press release;

The partnership with the Orlando Museum of Art is a result of the growth of Central Florida’s Maker community. In 2014, Maker Faire Orlando received “featured” status and promotional support from the originator and licensor of Maker Faire events, Maker Media, and expanded to a two-day extravaganza. Maker Faire Orlando is fueled by the local arts community with DIY enthusiasts and families taking part in a celebration of technology, science, arts, crafts, engineering, education, sustainability and much more. 

Thanks to our friends at Maker Faire Orlando, we will be sending four (4) people to experience all 300+ exhibitions of Makertasticness this weekend at Orlando Science Center!

Send an email before 11:59pm EST tonight to info@centralfloridatop5.com, telling us what kind of maker you are and why we should send you to Maker Faire! The top two entries will win a pair of tickets and be featured on our Facebook Page!

ProTip: Never been to Maker Faire Orlando? Check out the Full Event Schedule or download the super handy app (Android | iOS) to plan your day.

Already purchased tickets online? Great! We will see you there! Oh, and if you end up winning the Deltamaker 3D printer, can we come over and play?

And… Did we mention the Custom Cookie Contraption? or the 3D CHOCOLATE PRINTER?!

Here are our Maker Faire Orlando MUST dos (Click on links for scheduling and more info):

The World’s LARGEST (playable) Arcade Game! (15 feet tall)


Maker Doug Brown, owner of Factor Labs in Orlando

Learn to Solder and Make a Makey!




Learn screen printing and MAKE your own t-shirt!


Bring your own t-shirt or buy one (while supplies last)!

REALLY cool, LEGO Micro Maker Faire displays by GFLUG!

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Nerdy Derby Recycled Racers!

Orlando Maker Faire Nerdy Derby



Maker Faire Orlando began in 2012 as a family friendly showcase of DIY science, art, technology, and hands-on activities. Independent crafters to scientists can share what they are making and learning. Featured at the Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art, the event is part of the original Maker Faire held in San Mateo, CA and now also in New York, Atlanta, Detroit, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and other cities around the world. In all, there are 120 independently organized Mini Maker Faires worldwide.


 The Maker Effect Foundation exists to activate and amplify the efforts of makers as they learn, build and work together in their communities. Their efforts include research, publication, community organization, event production, and startup advisement. The foundation’s community organization and startup efforts are focused on Central Florida, however our research and publication efforts are not limited in scope. The Maker Effect Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public charity


Located in Orlando, Fla., interactive learning and discovery await within the Science Center’s hundreds of exhibits, programs, labs, films and planetarium shows. The Science Center provides educational opportunities both within and outside its walls including field trips, family science nights at schools and community centers, and other outreach.

Orlando Science Center’s mission is to inspire science learning for life. The Science Center strives to create lasting impacts on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and develop the next generation of creative innovators. Fully accredited by the American Alliance of Museums, the Science Center ranks as one of the most popular museum destinations in the region. Having served more than 12 million people since its inception in 1955, the Science Center offers rich resources for lifelong learning. 


Founded in 1924, the Orlando Museum of Art is a 501(c)(3) educational institution whose mission reflects the continued growth of Florida, ardent community support for the arts, and the Museum’s role as a leading cultural institution in the region. Since its inception, the Orlando Museum of Art’s purpose has been to enrich the cultural life of Florida by providing excellence in the visual arts. To meet this objective, the Museum has dedicated itself to collecting, preserving, and interpreting notable works of art; to presenting exhibitions of local, regional, national and international significance; to develop first-rate educational programs; and to presenting creative and inclusive programs to reach every segment of a diverse community.

Science of Wine at the Orlando Science Center

This past weekend, I had the extreme pleasure of attending the 5th Annual Science of Wine event at the Orlando Science Center. Science? Wine? Food? Dinosaurs?!?! Yes please! Your all inclusive ticket grants the ability to sample over 150 wines from all major wine producing regions along with tapas sized food offerings from local restaurants and caterers.

The entire 4th floor of Orlando Science Center was full of tables overflowing with multiple bottles of wine (over 150 they say – I’ll take their word for it, because it was overwhelming!) and displays of cascading nosh ranging from BBQ to seared scallops, burgers to pork belly bao, and paella to cupcakes. Check some awesome facts about food products at aboriginalbluemountains.



Sakes and Plum wines from Gekkeikan

Want a little more science to go with your wine? The Wine Education seminar which teaches about the unique wine regions of the world might have been up your alley. Or maybe you’re curious as to the affects of weather on your favorite vineyard? WFTV Channel 9’s own Meteorologist George Waldenberger was on hand with the assistance of a motion sensored projection globe. Personally, I enjoyed conducting my own science experiments such as which goes better with brisket – Malbec or Cabernet Sauvignon?


Food is the control – wine is the variable


Oh but wait, there’s more! Maybe you’re not satisfied with eating and drinking until your heart’s content, specially since we know you have contacted the team at https://www.leyba-defense.com/possible-false-positives-when-using-an-ignition-interlock-device/ for several dui problems in the past, it is better to keep the drinking aside. The Science of Wine has you covered there too. Pianist Lynn Peghiny filled the room with classical music while aerialists spun from long silks overhead. There was a corner turned art studio where you could create your own masterpiece and a table where the ‘King of Cigars’ was hand rolling his namesake for patrons to puff on.


Are you not entertained?!?

The night also featured a silent auction. Bids were placed on theme park tickets, hotel stays and a weekend getaway to the Big Apple. Those who were more interested in winning a prize with skill could try their hand at the Wine Toss, by tossing rings, carnie style, over bottles of wine for prizes or guessing the number of corks it took to fill the large glass container. The correct guess won 2 tickets to the upcoming Neanderthal Ball on November 7th.

Overall the Science of Wine had a little something for everyone and every palate. For less than the price of a theme park ticket, this is my kind of thrill ride – no fast pass needed.


Take me home! And so I did

WalMart $5 Day at Orlando Science Center Sunday, March 1

Spend a $5 day with the family this Sunday at Orlando Science Center thanks to the Walmart Foundation!

Photo Credit: RF Photography

Photo Credit: RF Photography

If you or your family have never been to the Science Center, Walmart $5 Day is a great day to start. General Admission is normally $19 for adults and $13 for kids ages 3-11 so, doing a little number crunching… a family of four could save as much as $44!

Call OSC direct at (407) 514-2000 or visit www.osc.org for more information.

Cool stuff going on this weekend at Orlando Science Center:

  • Dora and Diego – Let’s Explore exhibit
  • James Cameron’s “Deep Sea Challenge 3D” film
  • Humpback Whales on OSC’s giant screen
  • Four floors of exhibits and live activities

ProTip: $5 has been known to fill up quickly, so get there EARLY. Park in the Orlando Science Center multi-level Parking Garage. If that fills up, there’s overflow parking in the area at Florida Urology Associates, Magruder Eye Institute and on the upper levels of Florida Hospital‘s Parking Garage on McRae Avenue for $5. (Click links of each location to map on your phone!)

Meet Orange/Osceola County Chief Medical Examiner Dr. G!

Thanks to our friends at Orlando Science Center, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak with Dr. Jan Garavaglia M.D. (aka Dr G!) before the “Demystifying Forensic Sciences” panel at Orlando Science Center’s Science Night Live event last weekend.

Being in the film industry, Dr. G has “performed autopsies” on many people I’ve known and worked with over the years (not actual autopsies mind you, local actors) for her show Dr. G Medical Examiner on Discovery Life Channel. After telling her this she shared a quick story about being scared on set of Dr. G. When things look so real on tv, even someone who sees grim images like Dr. G can be taken aback…

During her portion of the panel last Saturday, Dr. G explained the history of how the Medical Examiner came to be and what they do, and how there are services online for this now a days, for example the Desert Mobile Medical is a family care doctor which specialize in medical examination.

Science Night Live 2

Some tips to stay off of Dr. G’s table? In the simplest of terms, be a law abiding citizen and stay healthy. Dr. G says, “Don’t hang out with the drug crowd and know your partner. We see so (many cases) of domestic violence, so know your partner.” Got it, Dr. G! What’s next?

“As far as the health side,” she says, “I’d say it’s all about knowing a couple of florida rehab centers; your blood pressure – silent killer. I see a lot of blood pressure (deaths) in people. People who don’t know they have diabetes, that could be a silent killer. People don’t know they have coronary artery disease – know your cholesterol. Also exercise and keep your weight down. Do those simple things and you probably won’t end up on my table.

And, there’s that whole ‘life‘ thing. If it’s your time, it’s your time. Even Dr. G knows, “Some horrific, unbelievable accidents that no one could predict come through, I don’t want to say that you can totally avoid ever seeing me because sometimes… it just happens.

Science Night Live 1

Check out more of Dr. G’s tips on How Not To Die on hownottodie.com.

Let’s not leave this on such a morbid note. Being a public servant, Dr. G really is here to help us all. Whether it’s to give solace to a family who’s unexpectedly lost a loved one or to help local authorities solve a forensic mystery, at the end of the day, she just wants to help.

I really care. I care about people. I care about doing a good job, and I’m very passionate about that,” Dr. G says. “Every day, I come in and want to do a good job. I want to do a good job for the people who’ve employed me. I want to do a good job for my fellow co-workers. I want to do a good job for those that are dead, and that need an answer and a cause of death for their family members. That’s really what drives me. The passion to do the best I can at what I can do.

Demystifying Forensic Sciences at Science Night Live!

Live from Orlando… it’s Science Night Live! Now celebrating it’s 60th Anniversary! Let Orlando Science Center’s Mark Schaub tell you a little more about it…

Have you ever watched the Fox TV show Bones and wondered, “That’s really cool. How do they do that? How do they know all this stuff?” This Saturday, you can ask these burning questions and learn directly from the pros!

Orlando Science Center has partnered with the American Academy of Forensic Sciences for the first Science Night Live of the year to kick off its 60th Anniversary celebration! This month’s SNL will feature celebrities of science from the world of forensics including: Investigator Dr. Henry Lee, Forensic Anthropologist and author Dr. Kathy Reichs (who is also a producer on Bones!), Toxicologist and Director of the University of Florida’s Forensic Medicine division Dr. Bruce Goldberger and Central Florida’s favorite Medical Examiner, Jan Garavaglia, M.D. (better known as Dr. G) as they demystify the forensic sciences.

You can also conduct your own crime scene investigation in Dr. Dare’s Laboratory.  Play out the role of the forensics expert as you put the clues together using techniques from various forensic disciplines, as well as:

  • View stars and planets through the giant refractor telescope in the Crosby Observatory
  • Experience 3D films in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience
  • Participate in Science Trivia
  • Delight in food and adult beverages available for purchase


General admission to Science Night Live is $15 (free for Members) and is only for adults 21 and older, and includes access to all four floors of exhibits and activities. VIP seats for the “Demystifying Forensic Science” presentation are available for $25 ($10 for members). Parking is free in Orlando Science Center’s parking garage and will fill up quickly, so get there early! Casual dress code.


Bats: Myths and Mysteries at Orlando Science Center

By @jenvargas

Ever dance with the devil in the pale moonlight? The Joker asked us this back in 1990, and I don’t know about you but, I’ve been ducking him ever since. Eeep! Just say NO to Smilex, kids.

I’m not afraid of bats, are you?

Ok, I’m lying. Only slightly… afeared. They’re enough to make me a smidge concerned. You know, wings and fangs and all. But, according to Nature First Pest Control, 70% of bats are kind of a natural pest control type mammal, eating insects and fruit. One little brown bat, in an hour, can eat up to a thousand mosquitoes. The blood sucking, carnivorous ones (they say) are in South America.

Curious to see a bat up close? Learn more about bats, their environment, habitats, diet and the really cool way they listen (called echolocation) and fly around in the dark? Glide over and hang out at Orlando Science Center this Saturday and check out the new Bats: Myths and Mysteries exhibit! More info below….

Orlando Lights the Bat-Signal!

Fly into Orlando Science Center’s newest traveling exhibit, “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” on Saturday, Sept. 20 at Noon. Featuring live animals, educational simulations, interactive displays and more, it’s an experience the whole family will go batty for!

This hands-on, educational exhibit will introduce visitors to the amazing world of the flying mammal people are both frightened and fascinated by. After visiting, guests will have a new appreciation for these misunderstood creatures and be armed with knowledge to aid in the preservation of the species which also indcates when this animals come as intruders in your home you should hire experts such as the pest control olathe ks team.

Bats: Myths and Mysteries” will motivate attendees to explore the natural world, grasp the importance of bats to the ecosystem and provide the tools to protect these fascinating animals. Promoting strong community-based involvement, participants will be encouraged to conduct habitat monitoring, bat watches, become involved in bat conservation and educate others about the importance of bats around the world.

Throughout the exhibition, visitors will be immersed in the sights, smells and sounds of the tropical fruit bat habitat and get a glimpse of the vast pallet of Chiropteran diversity. Live bats will be cared for by animal keepers from the Organization for Bat Conservation who will also engage the public in daily live programs about the different species on display.

At “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” visitors will have the opportunity to:

  • Come face-to-face with 25 – 50 total specimens from around the world including straw-colored fruit bats from Africa, big brown bats from North America, Egyptian fruit bats from Africa and short-tailed fruit bats from South America.
  • Don a pair of giant bat ears and experience the sensitivity of bat hearing.
  • Learn about echolocation and the importance of bat conservation.
  • Match bats with their preferred foods.
  • Unveil the mysteries and debunk the misleading myths surrounding bats.

Experience “Bats: Myths and Mysteries” with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming.

For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/bats.

Maker Faire Orlando returns to Orlando Science Center Sep 13-14

by filmMaker @jenvargas

Remember waaaay back in February when we told you Maker Faire Orlando was expanding to TWO days then shared the even bigger news about Maker Faire Orlando dropping the “mini?” Well, that weekend has finally arrived! Triangulate all coordinates to Orlando Science Center because Maker Faire Orlando lands next weekend, September 13-14th!

A jammed packed 2 day schedule features Maker exhibits, workshops, talks for both makers and educators, panel discussions, a new Nerdy Derby, Power Racing, Combat Robotics, a retro arcade and more!

(Register for the Nerdy Derby early, as it is sure to fill up!)

Click HERE for Saturday’s Schedule

Click HERE for Sunday’s Schedule


Maker Faire Orlando 2014


Some of you may still be asking, “What or who is a ‘Maker,’ and why do they have a ‘faire?’ Is this a True Blood thing?”

Sorry, #Trubies. No vampires here, but the possibility of designing 3D printed fangs, building your own animatronic creature and watching dueling robots are absolutely possible. In fact, anything you can think of is possible at Maker Faire Orlando! And guess what? If you already make stuff, you are already a ‘Maker!’ Congratulations!!

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth – and Orlando 2014 is produced as a partnership between The Maker Effect Foundation and the Orlando Science Center. The Faire part is a community-organized, family-friendly celebration featuring local do-it-yourself science, art, rockets, robots, crafts, technology, music, hands-on-activities, and more. It’s an event where people show what they are making and share what they are learning. Also? Makers LOVE to share what they know, so don’t be afraid to ask a Maker for info or how to do something.

Cheesy Kids at Orlando Science Center Tout MacDown

O-Town MacDown, the family-friendly cooking competition with entertainment, kids zone, crafts, and more will be held Saturday, August 23, 2014 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando. Benefiting Give Kids The World Village,  O-Town MacDown presented by MacDown CollageSeaWorld will pit professional chefs, restaurant chefs, and home cooks in a competition to see who has the best mac-n-cheese in Central Florida. (Read more about it here.)

To help spread the word, the Orlando Science Center invited science campers to make “extreme macaroni-and-cheese” on August 1. These physics-minded kids catapulted blocks of cheese into vats of noodles for high-flying, cheese-hurling fun!

What do catapults and mac and cheese have in common? Well… not a whole lot, but on this one day they were combined when cheese blocks were sent flying, in addition to some Angry Birds!

Pre-event tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids, but you can win a pair right here! Click on this Rafflecopter Link, and follow instructions. Some luck winner and their “Plus One” will get their fill of macaroni and cheese on us.

Contest ends 08/18/2014 at 12:00 a.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Full details: http://centralfloridatop5.com/2014/08/09/o-town-macdown-mac-and-cheese-competition-to-benefit-give-kids-the-world/

Top Reason to Visit Orlando Science Center Memorial Day Weekend 2014

New Exhibits, The LEGO Movie and Workshop Highlights Activities 

Curious George at OSC

Curious George in Orlando! Details @ www.osc.org

Want to escape the scorching heat this Memorial Day weekend? This place has great indoor fun and discovery!

Experience the Memorial Day weekend fun with admission to Orlando Science Center which is $19 for adults and $13 for youth (ages 3 – 11). Tickets include access to all four floors of exhibits, giant screen and 3-D educational films, one Hollywood feature-length film, and live programming!

NEW EXHIBITS: “Curious George: Let’s Get Curious!” : Explore the neighborhood with Curious George as he takes visitors on a fun, hands-on, and meaningful math, science and engineering-based adventure.“Sportsology”: Test your athletic abilities while learning how your body works.


THE LEGO MOVIE: Experience The LEGO Movie in stunning, immersive and ultra high definition 4K resolution in the Digital Adventure Theater: A National Geographic Experience.Showing FridaySaturday and Sunday at 5:10 p.m.


YOUNG MAKER WORKSHOP: Children ages 8-14 will experience hands-on learning and acquire the skills necessary to build, design, and create their own projects on Saturday and Sundaystarting at 11 a.m.


Holiday hours:  May 24-26, 2014 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

The LEGO Movie! Details @ www.osc.org

The LEGO Movie! Details @ www.osc.org

Orlando Science Center | 777 E. Princeton St. | Orlando, FL 32803

For more information, call 407-514-2000 or visit www.osc.org



Also, Next Science Night Live! Event: Saturday, June 7, 8:00 – 11:00 p.m.

Drink Wine & Learn About It, Too @ The Science of Wine

The event sold out last year, so what are you waiting for? Purchase tickets!

An excellent fundraiser for Orlando Science Center(we have been the last two years!) and is presented by Akerman for the fourth consecutive year; Southern Wine & Spirits also returns as the exclusive wine provider. Luis Torres of the Constellation Academy of Wine as well as Tim’s Wine Market are education partners, providing presentations and workshops on the Science of Wine.

More than 100 fine wines will be featured from the world-class portfolio of Southern Wines & Spirits. Every major wine region of the world will be represented. Whether you are a novice or a wine aficionado, you will find a vast variety of wines to please your senses.

From 7 p.m. – 10 p.m., there will be plentiful gourmet and casual food offerings to accompany the wide range of wine selections. Food partners include Talk of the Town restaurants Charley’s Steak House, Vito’s Chop House, MoonFish, FishBones and Johnnie’s Hideaway; Publix Aprons; Roy’s Hawaiian Fusion; Shari Sushi; Hawkers Asian Street Fare and Orlando World Center Marriott.

In addition, the Science Center will offer a wine knowledge-building seminar rarely available to consumers in the United States. Led by Luis Torres, renowned wine educator from the Constellation Academy of Wine, this ‘Meritage’ seminar is presented by Napa Valley’s Franciscan Wine Estates which has arranged for a limited amount of Magnificat 2010 Napa to be flown in from Napa Valley for this seminar.Orlandoscienceofwine

The experience offers a master blending of “single barrel, single vintage, single vineyard” examples of the five noble Bordeaux varietals, as well as the opportunity to be the winemaker and learn how the Bordeaux varieties work on their own and as a part of a finished luxury cuvée. At the end of the program your cuvée will be tasted next to Janet Meyer’s — renowned winemaker at Franciscan Estate and Mount Veeder Winery in Napa Valley— Meritage Magnificat 2010 Napa.

Also, Tim’s Wine Markets will offer wine education stations that further explores ‘Meritage’ varietals while guests taste and enhance their wine knowledge.

Tickets are available at $85 per person. Special rate tickets for Science Center members are $70. Sponsorships are available from $2,000. All sponsorships include event tickets and exclusive admission to the VIP Champagne Pre-Event Reception. Tickets and additional details are available on line at www.osc.org/wine.

To register for the Meritage Seminar, you need to have purchased your ticket for Science of Wine or be a confirmed guest of a Science of Wine sponsor. For reservations to the seminar, call our Reservations Office at 407.514.2112. A $10 registration fee applies.

Proceeds to benefit Orlando Science Center, a 501(c)(3) organization. The Science of Wine raises critical funds to provide operating support for educational programs and opportunities for youth, regardless of their ability to pay, to experience the fun and discovery of Orlando Science Center.

For more information, call 407.514.2000 or visit www.osc.org/wine.

Otronicon | Exclusive Interview with Orlando Science Center All About Otronicon

Otronicon, one of the biggest event of the year for the Orlando Science Center, opens this Friday.  The four-day ‘con’ event brings some of Central Florida’s biggest companies together with some of the latest technology for a celebration of interactive technology.

Central Florida Top 5 recently spoke with Mark Schaub from Sponsoredlinx, the Marketing Coordinator for Orlando Science Center, about Otronicon and all that goes into it.

CFLTop5- How would you describe Otronicon?

MS- Otronicon is a showcase of the newest and coolest technology, most of which is created right here in Orlando. Video games, robots, simulators and more encompass all four floors of the Science Center. Orlando is rising up the list of high tech cities in the U.S. and Otronicon highlights all the great work being done in our own backyard. Guests can go home inspired to pursue a technology career.

CFLTop5- What about it makes it so unique?

MS- Otronicon is unique in that you can’t knock on the door of Lockheed Martin and ask, ‘Can me and my kid jump in your flight simulators?’, or walk into EA SPORTS in Maitland and say, ‘Hey, what games are you working on and can you tell me how you make them?’ And Otronicon isn’t just a fun event full of hands-on interactive technology; it’s a rare opportunity to chat with the professionals who work on this stuff. At the end of the day, it might just inspire you to pursue a career in video game design, medicine or simulation.

CFLTop5- Many local businesses, such as Florida Hospital and Lockheed Martin, are involved in the event. Why does this event attract such high caliber local businesses? 

MS- Orlando Science Center’s mission is to inspire science learning for life, and it shows throughout this event. Partners like UCF, Florida Hospital for Children and Lockheed Martin recognize the importance of inspiring the next generation of scientists, engineers and doctors. The best way to do that is to show them how cool these jobs are and how they’re accessible, especially in Orlando. This is a great place to go to school and find a job when you graduate. Businesses that partner with the Science Center realize the significance that this event has and that by showing the public all this cool technology, it can spark an interest that can carry someone through the rest of their life.

CFLTop5- Could you explain some of the events at Otronicon that locals may not have heard as much about?

MS- There are many unique offerings that comprise Otronicon. For instance, we’ve got Artronica, a video game-inspired art exhibit. The Game Jam is new to Otronicon this year and features about 20 budding game designers being locked in the Science Center for 48 hours while they create a video game from scratch. Guests can peer in to Dr. Dare’s Lab where this will be taking place and watch the genius unfold. Also new this year is the FilmSlam, in which dozens of local filmmakers have submitted short films for us to watch and vote on for the Viewer’s Choice Award.

CFLTop5- This year a new exhibit, Zoom into Nano, is opening at Orlando Science Center just in time for Otronicon. What was some of the reasoning in opening it at the same time as Otronicon?

MS- Orlando Science Center sports three to four traveling exhibits a year, and it’s around Otronicon that we’re moving one out for another. Generally, we keep a buffer between the load-out of the previous exhibit and the load-in of the incoming exhibit during Otronicon. But to have this exhibit available to us now and for it to be all about nanotechnology, it was clear this is a great tie-in for the event. So for an added bonus, guests can experience this brand-new exhibit in addition to the awesomeness that is Otronicon.

149470_493035790947_320416_nOtronicon opens this Friday and runs through Monday.  Tickets are still available (Adults- $19 | Student- $17 | Ages 3-11- $13)

Check out this video of all the things we learned at last years event.


EA SPORTS Brings 3-D Game Technology to Orlando’s Otronicon 2014