Our History

MISSION STATEMENT: The Discovery Center of Ocala strives to provide community members of all ages an interactive educational experience which stimulates a desire to expand personal knowledge.

The Discovery Center has been providing hands-on, interactive education opportunities for our community since 1997. It’s relocation to the old Armory in Tuscawilla Park in 2009 has proven to be advantageous. And the center is busting at the seams with programs offered from 2-year-old preschool children to adults in the Florida Master Naturalist program.

The facility has an upstairs (hosting 5,012 sq. ft.) that provides the potential of tripling the buildings usable space and enabling it to host traveling exhibits and greatly multiply its educational value and outreach to students and families within our community. Complete utilization of the space for all citizens will include the addition of an elevator and a third-floor mezzanine allowing: an additional 1300 sq. ft., bathrooms, breakout rooms, and utilization of landmark built in 1941.

Architectural drawings are complete and preliminary construction estimates indicate the cost of renovation to be approximately two million dollars. The Discovery Center Foundation, Inc. is a not-for-profit, charitable organization that has accepted this challenge and is actively working towards the renovation.

Presently, the Foundation is partnering with the Rotary Clubs of Marion County and the City of Ocala to host the Blue Jean Ball and Rotary Discovery Fest: Cracker Cattle Drive and Cowboy Round Up. Both have become annual events occurring in February. These events enable our community to assist in the fundraising objective of all partners and provide an opportunity to showcase the Discovery Center and Tuscawilla Park.

Ocala’s Discovery Center is a member of The Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC) – a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of science centers and museums dedicated to furthering public engagement with science among increasingly diverse audiences. ASTC encourages excellence and innovation in informal science learning by serving and linking its members worldwide and advancing their common goals. Individuals may purchase an ASTC Passport that enables free admission to over 300 science centers and museums around the world.