STEM Fun Calendar + 6 Places for Any Time Hands-On Science with Kids

Wondering where to take your small fry to experience STEM fun through hands-on science? We offer six ideas of places that offer education programs for a wide range of ages, many of them ongoing. Plus we have several upcoming events you won’t want to miss!

Current & Upcoming Events featuring STEM Fun

Fridays Through December 6, 2019 • Public telescope viewings • 8pm • UM Astrophysics • All ages. This FREE program includes a presentation followed by outdoor observing. See the Fall Semester Schedule below:

  • 12/06/2019 TBD

Friday, December 6, 2019December Star Party: Apollo’s Last Landing • 7:30pm-9pm • Bell Museum • Explore the sky with the Bell Museum. FREE telescope observing nights take place monthly during the University’s Fall and Spring semesters. These are very informal and family-friendly. Museum Admission is NOT included, FREE, but $5 donation requested.

Saturday, December 7, 2019First Saturday Science • 12pm-2pm • Metropolitan State University, Science Education Center • Each month, students are guided through an exploration of a specific field of inquiry in a hands-on laboratory. FREE and Open to All Ages

Saturday, December 7, 2019Discovery Days: Coding • 11am-3pm • The Bakken • Try your hand at using code to control robotic creatures, program a light show, and create music. Included with Regular Admission – $8-$12/pp

Monday, December 9, 2019 • Robot show • 2:40pm-4:30pm • McNamara Alumni Center All ages. Public show featuring robots built by more than 200 engineering students. FREE.

Saturday, December 14, 2019Spotlight Science: Plant Love/Hate Stories • 11am-3pm • Bell Museum • Live storytelling event featuring plant love stories and a drop-in activity where you can contribute your own story. Included with Regular Admission – $9-$12/pp.

Sunday, December 15, 2019Solar Sunday12pm-2pm •  Bell Museum • Use a variety of our solar telescopes on the observation deck for safe solar viewing, plus hands-on interactive activities to better understand the Sun. Included with Regular Admission – $9-$12/pp.

Sunday, December 15, 2019Curious George: Let’s Get Curious – FREE Third Sunday • 9am-5pm • Minnesota Children’s Museum • Kids will engage in STEM activities modeled after Curious George’s own adventures in this fun exhibit. Included with Regular Admission Sept. 28 – Jan. 5. FREE on Third Sundays.

Curious George: Lets Get Curious at Minnesota Children's Museum

Thursday, December 26, 2019 – Sunday December 29, 2019 • December Discovery Days: Winter WeekendBell Museum • Science-related family fun for the long weekend. Included with Regular Admission – $9-$12/pp.

Sunday, December 29, 2019December Story Time: Georgia’s Terrific, Colorific Experiment, by Zoe Persico • 11:30am-12:30pm • Bell Museum • Families are invited to listen to a story and participate in an engaging STEAM hands-on activity. Included with Regular Admission – $9-$12/pp.

Saturday, January 25, 2020Family Zoo Adventure: Penguin Party!1pm-3pm • Minnesota Zoo • Peek at the penguin kitchen, touch penguin eggs and feathers, and learn all about our penguins of the African coast. • Register Online: $50/adult-child pair; $25 additional family members

6 Places for Anytime Hands-on Science with Kids

Raptor Center Tours | Gabbert Raptor Center
1920 Fitch Ave, St. Paul

When: Every half hour, 10:30am-3:30pm, Tues-Fri & 12:30 pm-3:30pm, Sat/Sun
Cost: $3-$5/pp
Details: Bring kids of any age for a fun and educational visit to the University of Minnesota’s Raptor Center. Check out their remodeled raptor habitats, and get up close to bald eagles, kestrels, owls and falcons. The Raptor Center treats about 800 injured birds a year with the goal of releasing them back to the wild. Read more about taking kids to the Raptor Center here.

Hands-On Science at Gabbert Raptor Center

Gabbert Raptor Center

Bakken Museum
3537 Zenith Avenue South, Minneapolis

Cost: $10/adults, $8/students & seniors, under 4 FREE
Details: Whether you go on your own schedule or for a special program, The Bakken always has hands-on science fun to explore. Read more about it here.

Learning About Electricity at Bakken Museum

The Works
9740 Grand Ave, Bloomington

When: Hours vary throughout the year
Cost: $9/pp
Details: Dig into the guts of machines and electronics and figure out how those gadgets work! All supplies provided.

Science Museum of Minnesota
120 W. Kellogg Boulevard, St. Paul

When: Open Daily. Sun-Wed 9:30 am-5:00 pm; Thurs-Sat 9:30 an-9:00 pm
Cost: $12.95-$18.95 (additional for Omni-Theatre).
Details: Three stories of permanent and traveling science exhibits. Find find hands-on science activities to go with whatever you are studying.


Hands On Science at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Science Museum of Minnesota

Kroening Interpretive Center
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis
When: Hours vary throughout the year
Cost: Free (Some special activities have a fee)
Details: Explore on your own or in a special activity. Find this are more ideas for nature play here.

Window Games at Carl Kroening Interpretive Center

The Bell Museum of Natural History
2088 Larpenteur Avenue West, Saint Paul, MN, USA
When: Daily 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Cost: Ages 21-64: $12; 65+: $10; 3-21 $9; Under 3: Free
Details: The newly re-built and updated Bell Museum re-opened in the summer of 2018 and has brought back its popular planetarium along with natural history exhibits.

Hands-On Science At Home

We’ve recently found two alternatives to those expensive subscription boxes that could keep a family happily occupied with STEM activities all year long!

Ramsey County Library STEM Kits – Check Them Out & Bring Them Home!

Two cool facts about Ramsey County Library: 1) Patrons can checkout STEM kits designed for families with children ages 3-7. They come in a variety of themes, including magnets, motion, buoyancy, length, weight, volume and capacity, shapes and colors, patterns, and counting and numbers, and can be borrowed for three weeks at a time and can be renewed if there are no requests. 2) Anyone in the 7-county metropolitan area can get a Ramsey County Library Card. Bring in a current picture ID. Kids need to have a parent’s current picture ID. 

Environmental Education Kits for your Home School Group!

These kits are not available to individuals or those outside Hennepin County, but groups located in Hennepin County can borrow Education Kits, Supplies & Event Displays. If you belong to a home school group, PTA, club or scouting group, it appears your group could qualify. While these kits range from propaganda to demonstrations to hands-on activities, they discuss environmental topics such as recycling, water management and waste prevention. For individual families, this same site offers Curriculum Ideas and Activity Guides to download.

3M offers these (somewhat product-heavy) ideas for Creating a STEM-friendly home environment. 

For more fun hands-on science activities, Gianna has found some great activities you can try at home:

Hands-On Science Activities for Kids

Click Here for More Science Fun

More to Look Forward to Throughout the Year!

Tech Fest
The Works Museum, Bloomington, MN
When: Early February.
Cost: $9-$12/pp
Featuring kid-friendly demos of emerging technology and activities led by scientists, engineers, and educators

Throughout the year, kids are invited to a variety of one-time outreach events that are created to help spark and increase interest in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics. Some of these events require pre-registration:

Math & Science STEM fun

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