Emerald Coast Science Center: A Perfect Rainy Day Activity Near Destin

Entrance to the Emerald Coast Science Center

A hop, skip and a jump away from the sandy beaches of Destin is a museum that may be small, but mighty. Scientists of all ages will discover a world of intriguing hands-on exhibits at the Emerald Coast Science Center.

Become a master of topography,  shoot an air cannon and conquer robotics all in a single afternoon.  This only touches the surface of what your little scientist will uncover.

Here is why we feel the Emerald Coast Science Center is one of the best spots for kids of all ages in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.

We would like to thank the Emerald Coast Visitors Center for providing complimentary admission so we could write this great article. 

Know Before You Go

  • Great things to do with a toddler in Destin
  • Be sure to check the schedule for upcoming STEM Events, Planetarium Nights, and More.
  • Animal encounters are throughout the day however, the animals are always on display for guests to view. Keep a close eye to ensure little fingers don’t make their way into the cages.
  • The Science Center has a large parking lot with handicap accessible spots. There is no charge to park.
  • The entire museum is on one level and is handicap accessible.
  • There is a nice playground right next to the Science Center. We did encounter quite a few homeless folks at the park during our visit however, I feel this is a common sight at the parks throughout the area.


What You Will Discover At The Emerald Coast Science Center

Emerald Coast Science Center: Mini Makers Lab

The museum’s exhibits are separated into different rooms. There is a huge open space in the middle of the museum that is scattered with fun experiments, robotics, and more.  They have an outdoor area, which is fenced and worth exploring.

Mini Makers and Experimenters Lab

Great Toddler Activity in Fort Walton Beach

I was quite taken aback at all there is to do with a two-year-old. I was able to acquaint her with new concepts and materials, that I haven’t been able to yet.  Not many museums have plastic beakers and test tubes made for toddlers. My daughter promptly took them to the stove because she was making “tea”.  Even scientists need to take a break for tea every now and then.

Every inch of the Mini Makers and Experimenters Lab was outstanding.  Look in every tub and bin, because there are great items that might not be on the table, but are just waiting to be discovered.

Augmented Reality Sandbox

Emerald Coast Science Center

Guests can even experiment with virtual rainfall! Truly a sight to behold. The Ecosystem Exhibit is great for learning more about the flora and fauna of the Emerald Coast and what factors impact the delicate coastal ecosystem.

Robots, Robots and More Robots

Robotic Hand

It is more difficult than it looks and little hecklers stand by waiting for your failure.  There are a few different robotics to try your hand at, from underwater exploration to health there is plenty to keep you entertained.


This room-sized Ipad takes learning to an entirely new level.  Every person is up, moving, and collaborating to solve puzzles, study the world, create stories, and more.  The floor is transformed into the screen as movement is tracked through motion capturing cameras.  The SMALLab does have set hours due to the nature of the program.

Discover Science Saturdays and other workshops are a great way to see the SMALLab in action. Calling ahead to see when it will be open is recommended. Don’t forget to bring your socks,  they don’t allow shoes in the SMALLab.

Displays That Are Fun and Teach

Toddler Activities in Destin Florida

Working your way through the museum you will get the opportunity to learn what makes airplanes stay in the air, experiment with a Bernoulli Blower, and explore many of the fascinating realms of science.

Animal Encounters

Animal Encounters in Destin Florida

Guests get to learn all about the different species taking residents at the science center during animal encounters throughout the day.


Unique Events at the Emerald Coast Science Center

Sip N Science

Who said the science museum was only for children? Round up your friends or those you are traveling with and head to the science center for an after-hours party you don’t want to miss.

Sip on a cocktail concoction, a local brew or a glass of wine while unleashing your inner scientist. Local fare is available for munching and a fun theme is always the highlight of the evening.  You will need tickets, so purchase them ahead of time.

Discover Science Saturdays

Emerald Coast Science Center





Looking for more great family-friendly activities in Destin? Check out our Guide to Visiting Destin with Kids.

Discover all there is to do in Destin Florida here.

 Emerald Coast Science Center

emerald coast science center

Emerald Coast Science Center: Best thing to do on rainy day in destin