If you are interested in seeing even more of our fist day on vacation in Daytona Beach, head on over and check out the full adventure on our YouTube video here.
I’ll be honest this vacation actually took place months ago and I’m only just now getting around to sharing it all with you. We just got so busy with all the new Disney pennies and other adventures that I got behind. My family did have an amazing time on this vacation and I’m happy to finally be able to share everything with you. We got up early and headed out towards Daytona Beach for a couple reasons. First I wanted to try and avoid as much traffic as possible, and probably more importantly I wanted to stop at Buc-ee’s for breakfast. My family hadn’t been to one yet, and after my previous visits I was anxious to get back for some amazing snacks. Since I already posted about the Buc-ee’s in Daytona Beach I’ll leave the link here if you want to read all about it. We did completely load up on breakfast items, snacks, slushees and even a few souvenirs before jumping back on the highway for our next stop.
We couldn’t check into our hotel until later in the afternoon so with a full morning ahead of us I thought we would take the opportunity to check out a museum. I’ve mentioned in the past that I am a sucker for a good museum, be it a history museum, science,e nature, art or whatever I’m all in. Just outside of Daytona Beach they have a Museum of Arts and Science so this was like a two for one. During the week when we visited there were not many other visitors which was nice, we almost had the place to ourselves.
As you enter the main entrance to the museum there are various wings that lead you to different areas. In my mind I’m always at a theme park and try to maneuver myself in a circular path to ensure I visit every available area. One of the first sections we can to was an incredible collection all about the classic soda Coca-Cola. There was a huge collection of coke bottles, delivery vehicles, factory machinery, a replica of a pharmacy that would have sold coke and so much more. It was really a unique exhibit.
When I was young I remember a science museum we had in Ottawa Canada that had a huge steam engine train on display and you can actually jump aboard and sit in the engineer’s seat. The sheer size of the vehicle was incredible especially as a child. In this museum they had something that immediately reminded me of that childhood memory. Unfortuatnely we couldn’t actually climb board any of these train cars, but you could look in the windows along the platform and see all the incredible furnishings inside. It’s always been on my bucket list to take a cross country train trip, maybe someday that will happen.
Around every corner of this museum we encounter more and more unique exhibits. As another example the above is a picture of a huge what I assumed was a doll house. It was probably around 15 feet tall, had three floors and various rooms inside that were filled not with dolls but with teddy bears. Some of the bears were cooking, some were caught in the shower, others were playing in their bedrooms. My kids and I found ourselves just calling out to each other as we found a bear doing something silly, and it was really a highlight of this visit.
We did come across this one little hallway that opened up into one large room with these two animal skeletons on display. The one of the right is a Giant Ground Sloth and is the largest complete skeleton of this creature in the world and was discovered just three miles south from the museum. The one on the left is a glyptodont which is another large mammal that was covered head to toe in armor made up of over 1000 bony plates. They were both impressive in person and I bring them up now just as a hint of something to come that I’ll reference back to shortly.
Now we came to my kids favorite part of the museum which was the Children’s section. We have visited in the past quite a few different Children’s museums which are always very hands on and a lot of fun. This was similar but instead of an entire museum it was just a smaller exhibit but it still had lots of interesting things we could try together.
There were some microscopes where we could look at different insects, rocks and gems, and my favorite some coins. Then we found a pitching cage were we could see how fast we could throw a baseball. We also found a race track with some radio controlled cars that we enjoyed, but I think one of our favorites was this Roller Coaster challenge. They were different lengths and styles of tubes that we could stick to the wall and try to get a ball from the top to the bottom. In so many museums the exhibits are hands off, but here it was all about experiencing the exhibits and experiments together.
I was aware that there was a pressed penny machine in the museum somewhere and usually they found in the gift shop or at the main entrance. This one however was hidden back in the Children’s museum section which I think goes great with this area. The cabinet had plenty of clear plexiglass so you could see all the gears and inner workings of the machine as your press you coins.
The designs on the pennies included one of the train cars we saw at the beginning of our visit, a few of the classic cards we found near the Coca-Cola exhibits, and that Giant Ground Sloth skeleton (see I told you I’d bring it up again). After pressing my pennies we headed into the last few sections of the museum which had various types of artwork on display. The museum had requested no photography so I complied, but we always really enjoy the talent of the artists and what they create be it a painting, a sculpture or something I may not be able to put into words.
We had spent a good portion of the morning taking in the entire museum and really enjoyed it. I think the low crowds helped us not feel rushed and were able to spend a good amount of time in each section. But we had places to be and other things to do on this trip. This was just day one and we hadn’t even got to our hotel yet, and as I’m sure you can guess plenty of new pressed pennies to track down and collection. Stay tuned for more posts about the rest of our vacation to Daytona Beach.