Cool Things for Kids at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

Kids could spend a whole day at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and never realize they’re in a learning institution.

As little ones enjoy getting their hands wet, putting balls down ramps and building things then tearing them down, they’re getting first-hand experience with physical science in an interactive environment they’ll love.

Opened in 1982, the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum sees more than 250,000 visitors of all ages each year and has a special focus on educating the pre-K through eighth grade age group. If you’re looking for things to do in Ann Arbor with kids, this Ann Arbor kids’ museum is sure to keep the kids entertained.

We visited the museum over spring break and while we don’t recommend this particular time period if you want to avoid the crowds, there was no shortage of things to do and see. Here’s a look at some of the things kids were most drawn to at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

1. Put yourself in a bubble

Kids lined up to step inside the Bubble Capsule, where you can lift a thin bubble veil around yourself and try not to let it pop along the way.

2. Launch a rocket

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This popular exhibit lets visitors fill a rocket with pressurized air and then launch it (cover your ears!).

3. Drive an ambulance

Kids will love climbing inside a full-size ambulance in the gallery that focuses on the human body. They’ll also have fun testing their reflexes.

4. Google Earth

Zoom into your own neighborhood using Google Earth and see if you can spot your house on the big screens.

5. Build the biggest tower

One area of the museum is filled with oversized foam building blocks where kids can build massive towers and forts.

6. Endless water tables

Kids love playing and splashing in the popular water tables. Bring a change of clothes and consider saving it for last because your kids might not want to leave.

7. Have a ball

In the Preschool Gallery, a room for children 4 and younger, kids love collecting buckets of plastic balls and sending them off on an intricate series of ramps and tracks.

8. Touch a tornado

This popular exhibit lets kids watch a tornado form (and then stick their hands in and watch the funnel dissipate).

9. Whisper machines

Multiple “whisper dishes” in the museum let kids whisper something to a friend all the way across the room.

10. Rock wall

What kid doesn’t love a rock-climbing wall? It’s located on the top level surrounded by a padded floor for safety.

Plan your visit

Address: 220 E. Ann St., Ann Arbor
Phone number: 734-995-5439
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $12/adults and ages 2-plus, free/0-23 months, $5 after 5 p.m. on Thursdays only

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