Science Museum of Minnesota
Sunday 9:30 am-5:00 pm
Tuesday, Wednesday 9:30 am-5:00 pm
Thursday, Friday, Saturday 9:30 am-9:30 pm
120 W. Kellogg Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55102
Latitude: 44° 56′ 34″ N
Longitude: 93° 05′ 54″ W
Located in St. Paul between the Mississippi River and Kellogg Boulevard, the Science Museum of Minnesota welcomes all visitors to explore and interact with the world of science–all different kinds of science. Biology, Chemistry, Archaeology, Sociology, Paleontology, Environmentology, all -Ology you can think of. It’s all there for you to discover.
Family Fun Twin Cities was offered the opportunity to enjoy the museum, its featured exhibits, and Omnitheatre presentation, so the Kordatzky family made a day of it. We spent the entire day at the museum and still missed an entire floor. My husband stated, “Well, then, you’ve got something to come back and see.”
The State Fair (and maybe the fact that it was Sunday) kept the museum from being crammed full of patrons. It was bustling, but very manageable. We arrived when the museum opened (9:30 am) and stayed until 3:30. In those six hours, we got a little taste of everything. And we dragged ourselves out exhausted and happy because we all had fun. Every single one of us!
Our Family Vacation Day started in the Omnitheatre. During Museum hours, the film is shown every hour on the hour. We decided on the 10:00 am show, The Mystery of Maya. As they lowered the screen, the kids were in awe.
When the movie started, Chris and I were suddenly reminded that it’s helpful to sit farther in the back. It makes it easier to see the whole screen, but this had no effect on the kids. They were entranced.
“I’m flying!” came a little 3 year old voice as the movie panned over the trees to the Mayan ruins.
Honestly, I cannot really tell you much about the movie itself. It was narrated and followed a story line, but I was too involved with the whole experience (ie trying to keep myself from feeling nauseated). Our kids were encompassed by the film. It was the boys’ favorite part of the whole day.
When I picked up the tickets, I asked them if we could leave the theatre if the kids were not doing well. I was assured that I could. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Which completely shocked me. I thought two active boys, 3 and 5, would not make it through, but I guess they showed me.
Following the the Film, we explored Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed. The first part of the exhibit is another short film. No more than 5 minutes, but after seeing the movie, I did not need another educational movie. However, it was really interesting to explore hands on what we had just seen.
Going to a museum with children means that your eyes are automatically drawn to the interactive displays. In the Maya exhibit, we created Maya names and had them printed in hieroglyphics on cards. We learned our Mayan birthday dates. Tori and I tried to build an arch like the Maya did (it had disaster written all over it–ours, not theirs). Dash went on a virtual archaeological dig. And that was just the beginning.
The exhibit wound around in a labyrinth. At first I thought it was just one small little room and was very disappointed. Then, I realized that the whole exhibit was leading me on a journey through different aspects of the Maya culture.
I didn’t do much reading about the artifacts or history. It was all I could do to keep track of the kids, but we still enjoyed it together. If we could keep Jack moving, he was happy, and subsequently, so was I. Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed runs until January 5, 2014.
When we came out of Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed, we were led into the museum’s ongoing arrangements, specifically the display of Minnesota’s Native Americans.
Then, we wandered into the Collectors’ Corner and ultimately to the mummy. We learned all about mummification. I think this was the first time I have ever been able to take a good long look at this guy. In the past, I have always been a little disgusted. A staff member was placed next to the mummy to explain mummification and answer any questions.
We decided to have lunch in the museum’s cafeteria (great mac and cheese, not so great pizza), and then went exploring.
- Dinosaur and Fossils Gallery: actual dinosaur skeletons–triceratops, allosaurus, camptosaurus, diplodocus, as well as many other fossils.
- Experiment Gallery: play with light, wind, water pressure, waves. and a tornado. Endless possibilities.
- Math Moves: play with weights and graphs and ratios and proportion
- Big Back Yard: take a walk around the prairie maze, learn about porous rock and how water is stored underground, play mini-golf or pan for gems (both of these for an additional fee)
- Minnesota River Gallery: take in the pride of Minnesota–the Mississippi River with an actual tugboat mounted on the top of the museum, interactive displays, and a live news show put on by you!
- Science Live Theatre: watch short presentations combining “theater” with science. We watched a “funny” lady demonstrate the triangle of fire: heat, oxygen, and fuel.
We completely missed the Human Body Gallery and the Cell Lab. They looked fascinating with blood pumping above our heads and a large-sized display of the chambers of the heart. But alas, it will have to wait for next time.
Our Science Museum Favorites
The Omnitheatre Experience
I thought everyone would be a bit nervous by this gigantic and odd theatre, but I was clearly wrong. If a 3 year old will quietly sit through a 45 minute documentary about Maya, you know they’re doing something right.
The Musical Stairs
The kids were halfway done the stairs before I realized what I was hearing. So back up the stairs we ran. Then, down. Then, up. Down and up and down.
Chris stood on the steps and swung his foot back and forth without touching the stairs to make the music.
Everyone loves when Daddy is being funny.
The Sound Lights
When we ran under these lights, we heard piano notes and sounds of nature. Maybe there were more sounds, but we didn’t encounter them.
Currently during the State Fair, the Science Museum is running a special. Kids get in free with a paid adult ticket purchase. This is good for general admission to the museum and for the Maya exhibit (there is an extra fee for Maya: Hidden Worlds Revealed). See here for more details.
Also, the museum will be open on Monday, September 2, 2013–Labor Day–from 9:30 am-7:00 pm. Generally the museum is closed on Mondays, but they are making an exception for the holiday.
Go take advantage of the discounted offer and enjoy some time with your family! It’s a great way to beat the heat and spend some great time together as a family! It worked well for us!