Ever wonder what it’s like to be in a bubble or how solar energy works? Southeast Michigan kids can explore the answers at Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum – among its tons of fascinating, touch-away exhibits.
The museum features nine galleries that inspire families to discover the wonderful worlds of science, math and technology.
Located in the heart of downtown Ann Arbor, the AAHOM is at the center of a thriving campus-area metro area and offers more than 250 exhibits to explore.
Since opening in 1982, the museum has attracted over 4.3 million visitors. It caters to families looking for some fun, school field trips and even camp-in sleepovers.
Each month promises special educational activities to bring out the little scientist in your child.
One favorite, which happens one to two (sometimes even three!) weekends per month, is Professor Ray’s Everyday Science. These interactive, kid-friendly workshops explore stuff like air pressure, electricity, gravity and more – all with eye-popping demonstrations sure to snag kids’ interest. It’s included with admission (bonus).
Spring months typically bring Physicspalooza, a Car Carnival (around April/May) and the pop-ular (pun intended!) Bubble Fest, around June.
Kids off on vacation? AAHOM’s got you covered here, too. The winter break brings several days of Hands-On Holidays starting in late December – plus there are activities and fun during mid-winter and spring breaks.
Peppered in between, watch for story time events, FIRST Robotics team interactive appearances – even family scavenger hunts and live tunes – and other creative events geared to young learners.
Wondering what’s going on right now? Check out the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum calendar of events. Many are included with the entry fees, though some may have an additional charge; be sure to check and know before you go.
Take a video tour!
AAHOM is always offering new exhibits to explore.
One that’s crazy popular started out as a temporary setup: The Block Party. In this 1,600-square-foot space, children of all ages let their imaginations run wild while they play designer, builder and architect with thousands of foam bricks. This interactive exhibit encourages creativity and teamwork, too.
“The museum is committed to providing an atmosphere where visitors can get an up-close look at what moves the world around them,” says Mel Drumm, AAHOM executive director.
Those nine galleries all work toward that goal. Take the first-floor concourse, where kids can make a tornado and discover “whisper dishes,” among other crowd pleasers. Or, over in the human body-centered All About You area, hop aboard an actual ambulance and examine X-rays.
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There’s even a spot just for little ones, designed especially for ages 4 and younger. In the Preschool Gallery, tykes play in the water table and climb aboard a child-size fire engine while dressed up like a firefighter.
Chidren experiment with simple machines and learn how the Internet works in the Legacy Gallery. And, in World Around You, they get to climb a rock wall, make music with a walk-on piano and get immersed inside an actual, pull-it-up-around-you bubble (see the video above for more!).
Feeling old school? Experience the 1920s in the Lyon’s Country Store. Playful? Catch your shadow on the wall like Peter Pan and play a stringless laser harp in the Lights and Optics area. Or, for tech types, learn the science behind the TV, telecommunications and more in MediaWorks.
Children and families can roam the galleries about our world and experience our advancements though innovative hands-on learning.
“From flight to the Internet to bees,” says Drumm, “the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum gives visitors a chance to interact and better understand science and technology … and have a good time.”