Learning about Jax Natural History at the Museum of Science + History (MOSH), in Jacksonville, Florida

Located near the heart of downtown Jacksonville is the Museum of Science and History, or MOSH as it’s more affectionately known.

I’d been meaning to go to MOSH ever since I first moved to Jacksonville (or Jax) ever since I moved here nearly 2 years ago because I’m a huge fan of museums, especially science and natural history. I finally made it out to MOSH one rainy spring afternoon.

MOSH entrance

MOSH, as you can guess from it’s name, is Jax’s local, private and non-profit science and history museum. It’s located on the Southern Riverwalk – a beautiful place to see the downtown Jacksonville skyline in all it’s glory. Tickets are $15.95 for adults, $12.95 for children, students, seniors, + military. There’s quite a bit of free parking on the premises. MOSH also has an amazing planetarium with really awesome shows (more on this later), but those tickets are not included and cost $5-10 depending on the show.

I’ll admit – compared to some of the other museums that I’ve been to, MOSH is quite small and underwhelming. It has 3 floors with various exhibits, and a few traveling exhibits and special events throughout the year.

When you first walk in, you enter through the “Atlantic Tails” exhibit. This exhibit is actually really cool because it features facts about the local marine wildlife, a giant whale sculpture, facts about manatees and a little tidal pool where you can touch various sea creatures under the guidance of the museum staff.

Atlantic Trails exhibit

After walking through the Atlantic exhibit, there’s a fairly large dinosaur fossil, and two exhibits – “MOSHtopia” which features a pretty cool exhibit on how Jax gets its power, and the Florida “Naturalist Center” with a variety of animals like fish, turtles, snakes, and even birds (it’s kind of sad to see some of the birds in their small enclosures though).

MOSHtopia powerplay exhibit
Naturalist center

Also on the first floor is the “Health in Motion” exhibit, all about personal health; a playground; and there’s also an outdoor “native plant courtyard.” I had some time to kill before my planetarium show and really enjoyed just sitting outside in the courtyard. There’s a few facts about the local plants on placards, and a small pond with fish and a snapping turtle.

When I visited, the second floor central area was dominated by the traveling exhibit “Playing with Light,” which I’m pretty positive that I experienced when I visited Space Center Houston at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. This exhibit was really fun and definitely the most popular exhibit for kids to play in.

On the second floor you’ll also find the Planetarium and space exhibit. I was a bit disappointed in the space exhibit section considering that I work in aerospace. It featured a bunch of spacesuit replicas, a meteor you can touch, and a few facts about telescopes.

Space exhibit

Now, the Planetarium at MOSH makes the whole ticket worth it, in my opinion. Instead of going to their “normal” planetarium show, where you learn about our solar system and galaxy, I went to one of the shows that plays a light show to music. HOLY COW this show was trippy! And not for the faint of heart – it took me a good 10 minutes of feeling slightly nauseous to get used to the spinning lights. It was really unique and unlike anything I’ve ever experienced though, so I would recommend it! (If you can handle it.)

Beginning of the planetarium show

My favorite of the exhibits was the “CURRENTS OF TIME: A History of Jacksonville & Northeast Florida.” This exhibit walks you through the history and development of Jax from it’s very early beginnings thousands of years ago when the region was dominated by Native Americans up to nearly modern day (they were in the process of updating + renovating the most recent era during my visit). I REALLY enjoyed this exhibit because I love learning about the history of where I’m currently living – I’ve always enjoyed history museums for each place that I’ve lived. It provides a deeper understanding of the people, culture and respect and appreciation for the region. I’d learned quite a bit about the Native history of the region during some of my previous explorations, but this exhibit also educated me on how Jax experienced the world wars and how the naval air base started and operated here. It’s a fascinating history and I recommend looking into it!

Native American history section of the history exhibit
WWI/WWII section of the history exhibit

Overall, I think that the tickets for MOSH are a bit pricey but if you’re like me and want to support local businesses or learn about the local history, I would recommend a visit!


Thank you for reading! Have you ever visited MOSH in Jax? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!




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