History and Mission

 

Founded and incorporated in 1959 by the Junior League of the Palm Beaches, the South Florida Science Museum (SFSM) opened in 1961 as a learning environment specific to natural science and natural history. In 1964, a new wing housing the planetarium opened, originally dedicated by and named after astronaut Buzz Aldrin.

In 1971, a third phase of the facility was unveiled, more than doubling the floor space of the Museum to its current size, and adding exhibit space, classrooms, an auditorium and organizational support areas. The institution eventually became known as the Science Museum and Planetarium of Palm Beach County and in the 1980s, was renamed the South Florida Science Museum, reflecting the organization’s increasingly broad subject matter, educational purpose and geographic appeal. In 2008, the planetarium and theater were completely renovated and renamed through the support of the Dekelboum Family Foundation. The rapid growth of the Science Museum is testament to the significant role that it assumed, and continues to fulfill, within the community, serving as an educational and cultural resource for visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Now, The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium (SFSCA), formerly the South Florida Science Museum, operates as a “best-in-class,” community-based science center providing visitors with engaging and interactive science education experiences. Since originally opening our doors, we have hosted over five million visitors and we are on track to serve 215,000 this year with 65,000 public and private school children from Palm Beach, Martin, Broward, and Miami-Dade counties. In April 2012, with a successful $6 million capital campaign, we broke ground on an exciting expansion project that led the way towards the transformation of the South Florida Science Museum into the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium. With a grand re-opening on June 6th, 2013, guests now enjoy a 6,000 square foot building addition that houses the 3,000 square foot. “Aquariums of the Atlantic” gallery and a 3,000 square foot Florida-themed permanent exhibit hall complete with a “River of Grass” Everglades exhibit, an interactive NOAA Science on a Sphere exhibit, and a Student Science Showcase area for winning science projects from the Palm Beach County School District. Most recently, we completed re-construction of our 5,000 square foot Hall of Discovery, containing 30 new and rehabilitated hands-on exhibits, an upgraded planetarium,  a new 1,000 square foot early childhood education room with water play, photo booth, seating area and a light/bright wall; an upgraded theater, a new science laboratory and upgraded amenities. Our mission is to "open every mind to science".