Skeletons: Museum of Osteology

By James | Last updated May 10, 2024

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Skeletons: Museum of Osteology offered a uniquely fascinating educational experience for the whole family combining entertainment and science but in 2020 it closed and has been replaced by the Museum of Illusions.

Skeletons: Museum of Osteology is now a touring exhibition. The rest of this page is purely for historical interest.

Located in the new ICON Park complex close to The Wheel (formerly called the Orlando Eye), Skeletons: Museum of Osteology opened on April 29, 2015.

There are over 40 exhibits and dioramas featuring around 500 real animal skeletons. Everything from a tiny hummingbird and a shrew all the way up to an 11 ft tall, 1,500 lb African bull elephant. Assembling the skeletons is painstaking work. Each skeleton exhibit can take more then 500 hours to prepare and articulate.

The exhibits cover different regions of the world and different types and species of animal. You will find some of the largest skeletons represented by animals from Africa including an elephant, giraffe, white rhinoceros and hippopotamus. All the skeletons have been obtained as deceased animals from zoos, aquariums and state parks.

One of the rarest skeletons is that of an endangered Sumatran rhinoceros that passed away in a zoo and the now extinct Tasmanian devil from Australia.

Many of the skeletons are carefully displayed in action poses which “brings them to life” like the cheetah in a high speed chase or a rhino charging.

For the less squeamish, there is a special exhibit where you can see how flesh eating Dermestid beetles can strip a body back to bare bones, with live insects and videos.

Amongst the exhibits are some famous animals including an orca killer whale from SeaWorld, an alligator that once belonged to Michael Jackson and a chimpanzee from NASA’s early space programme.

Skeletons: Museum of Osteology promotes education both through the museum and through the local community. It makes an ideal location for a school field trip.

The exhibits are designed to introduce students to many aspects of nature. Topics include locomotion, hominid evolution, primates, different types of teeth and horn, marsupials, bats, differences between carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores, rodents, reptiles, birds and farm animals.

There is also an exhibit devoted to Florida with manatees and alligators.

One of the more unusual displays is the Myths and Legends exhibit that shows how myths have grown up around creatures like the centaur (half horse, half human) and big foot.

The obligatory gift shop is a little different. As well as the usual gifts like t-shirts and mugs, you will also find the more unusual and exotic like scorpions and bugs encased in acrylic, real animal skeleton and skulls and replica humans skulls. You can even buy genuine human skulls and whole skeletons.

Skulls Unlimited International

The exhibit is operated by Skulls Unlimited International Inc. and is their second museum. The first, the Museum of Osteology opened in Oklahoma City in 2010.

Details about the various ticket options can be found on our ICON Park tickets page including combination tickets with The Wheel.