The CSI Experience opened in March 2012 at the then new Exhibition and Event Center. Located on Orlando’s main artery, International Drive, the building seems like it was plucked straight out of the TV series. The Experience is housed in a bright, white ultra-modern looking building – all clean lines and tinted glass. You cannot miss it for the distinct signage.
The CSI Experience is supposed to be a hands-on pursuit involving your powers of observation and deduction aided by the latest forensic and investigative techniques. The place is jam-packed with a variety of multi-media tools, props, special effects and ‘state-of-the-art’ crime labs. It is all very authentic and impressive looking.
The Experience involves guests (paying ones, that is) donning the mantle of crime scene investigators and solving the set-up mysteries. There are three crime scenes involving different clues and CSI techniques. There are clues that you have to note and take into account when trying to solve the mysteries. The show includes DNA and blood splatter analyses, toxicology tests and fibre analysis. There are labs to carry out all these tests. There are even morgues!
Before you go getting your hands all dirty while solving a crime, you are taken to a briefing room and shown a short video on how the programme works. You are then let loose on the crime scene to seek out clues and solve the case(s).
That is where the problems begin. At the end of the briefing you are left to your own devices. You have to wander around the facilities and through numerous labs with no guide to help you locate what you want and need to solve your case. This can be very confusing and frustrating because any staff you locate are most unhelpful. There have been numerous complaints about their lack of interest, behaviour insensible attitude.
Despite the rather steep ticket price, they still charge you for a “diploma” and try to get you to have your photo taken – for a hefty price. You are also not allowed to take cameras in or take pictures on your own.
The CSI Experience is pretty unique but it appeals only to a certain kind of audience. You have to generate your own excitement to get a thrill out of solving a case. It is definitely not one for the kids or youngsters!
Exhibition and Event Center
7220 International Drive
Orlando, FL 32819
• Hours of operation: Daily 9am - 9pm (last admission at 8pm)
• Adult admission: $19.95
• Child admission: $12.95 (ages 5-12)