Located in St. Paul between the Mississippi River and Kellogg Boulevard, the Science Museum of Minnesota ("SMM") 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 in this BIG museum. And it is big! According to the Science Museum's website they encompass 8.5 acres of exhibits!
Anytime Free Online Resources from the Science Museum
SMM provides a lot of free, fun extras that families can grab online anytime. These freebies include:
The Science is Learning - Virtual Tookit
Find hands-on activities to encourage science at home, like printable puzzles and coloring sheets, experiments and DIY activities. Find at-home learning materials here.
Families can dig a little deeper into the topics of the current movies before or after a screening. Find interviews, videos, extra facts and more. Check out what's playing at the Omnitheater and the extra fun here.
Science for All
Dig deeper into SMM's permanent exhibit, RACE: Are We So Different? with videos that explore the topic and conversation starters for around the dinner table. Watch the 10-minute drama, The Idea here.
Aimed at educators, families can also view use materials created to provide resources for learning, such as online lessons and learn from home ideas. Find educator resources here.
Gianna's Review of the Science Museum of Minnesota
When Family Fun Twin Cities was offered the opportunity to enjoy the museum, its featured exhibits, and Omnitheatre presentation, 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 day we visited, the Science Museum wasn't 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!
Science Museum Of Minnesota Omnitheatre
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. 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. 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.
"I'm flying!" came a little 3-year-old voice as the movie panned over the trees to the Mayan ruins.\
Bonus Fun: Science Museum of Minnesota Omnifest
This is one of our favorite our favorite Science Museum of Minnesota events. During the cold dark days of winter (some time in January - March), the science museum usually offers its magnificent Omnifest. If there is ever a great time to have a Science Museum membership its during Omnifest because they bring out a host of movies and members can watch for FREE. Watch for it again in the first quarter of 2022!
Science Museum Of Minnesota Exhibits
Following the Film, we explored the exhibit that went with the film. 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.
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: Since Gianna originally published this article, the Big Back Yard has permanently closed, but see our Birthday Party section below. SMM now offers outside birthday parties in the summer.
- 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.
Gianna's Top 3 SMM Favorites
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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. Go 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!
Science Museum Of Minnesota "Virtual Field Trips" for Families
The museum staff have pulled together some fun online options to keep our families learning virtually from home. Take advantage of their Science Is Learning toolkit page to learn about diatom, archeology and dinosaurs. Bigger kids may enjoy reading articles on the Learn page. Either way, you could take "virtual field trips" on your favorite subjects and then culminate the learning with a visit to the museum.
Science Museum Of Minnesota Summer Camps
Each summer the Science Museum offers a host of week-long summer camps with various science-y themes. This popular program is known to sell out. I know families who use this program in place of summer daycare, signing up for different programs throughout the summer. We include annual details here: Twin Cities Summer Camps: Science & Tech Camps.
Birthday Parties at SMM
The Science Museum traditionally offers full-service birthday parties with packages that include admission to the museum for all guests, a private room, a hands-on science activity, decorations and set up & clean up. For an extra fee, the museum will also provide a cake. In the summer of 2018, the museum added outdoor birthday parties that include games and activities outside. Kids of all ages will love celebrating science in the sun with friends before exploring the museum! Birthday Parties are currently on hold, but check back in the fall of 2021 or early 2022. We believe they will be offered again, soon.
Science Museum Of Minnesota Admission Prices
Prices are subject to change but, as of July 2021, general admission is as follows:
- Ages 13-64: $19.95
- Ages 65+: $16.95
- Ages 4-12: $14.95
- Children under 4 are FREE.
Omnitheatre Tickets are extra:
- Ages 13-64: $9.95
- Ages 65+: $8.95
- Ages 4-12: $8.95
Science Museum Discounts
- Family Membership: The best anyone discount to the Science Museum is membership. Members get FREE admission, FREE Omnitheatre admission (one per visit), discounted parking and a bonus of FREE admission to other museums when traveling. Sometimes local museums offer a membership or admission discount if you pull out your Science Museum membership card. A household membership is $139/year, which breaks down to less than $12/month. If you are a teacher, your family can also get a discount on membership.
- Limited Income Family Memberships: If you qualify for the Limited Income Discount, which is available to families using one or more of several government programs (including WIC and MA), then a family membership is only $49.50/year. Your College
- Student Discount Ideas: There is no Science Museum Of Minnesota Student Discount, but a nanny or personal care attendant, can sign up for a "Nanny Card" to get discounted admission when accompanying charges. A Dual Membership ($89/year) would make a nice gift for any student on your list. They then can visit the Science Museum and Omnitheatre for FREE with a friend all year long.
- GreatTix - Limited Income Discount for single tickets. If you don't plan to visit more than once in a year, then you can purchase single limited income tickets at $3/entrance ticket and $3/omnitheatre ticket. Note, however, that a family of four would only need to visit twice in a year to pay for the full-year discount.
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