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.
At least as long as we are stuck at home, museum staff are offering some online options to keep our families learning. 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.
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!
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.
"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 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.
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.
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!
Birthday Parties at the Science Museum
The Science Museum 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. Packages include:
- Frozen Fun
- Summer Fun
- Colossal Construction
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!
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