From the March 2015 issue

The Michigan Science Center is Fun for Parents Too

Discover 10 reasons kids should take their moms and dads to the Michigan Science Center. There's plenty of fun here for grown-ups, as well.

Most people think of the Michigan Science Center as a place for kids, but it’s actually a pretty fascinating place for adults, as well. Sometimes you’ll even find senior groups or couples on dates enjoying all the exhibits. “You’ll have fun and bring out your inner child!” says Marlena Penn, assistant manager for visitor services at MiSci.

Next time you’re looking for an exciting way to spend a free day, check out these 10 grown-up-friendly reasons your kid should take you to the Michigan Science Center.

1. Find your element as a MiSci member.

For the average cost of a visit for a family of four, you can enjoy a whole year of science! A MiSci family membership includes free general admission for one year, invitations to exclusive events, discounts, free admission to other science centers around the world and more. Click on this link for a special family membership offer.

2. Relax with a movie in the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theatre.

MiSci boasts the largest screen in Michigan. One film, Humpback Whales, let visitors see these majestic mammals in life size on the 70-foot screen (it also marked the first time these creatures’ lives were captured by IMAX cameras).

3. Fly through the stars at the Dassault Systemes Planetarium.

Several different shows will take you through the night sky and show you what stars, planets and comets are visible at a given time, or show you the real distances between the sun, the planets and the stars. You can even see what sort of discoveries are being made by unmanned spacecraft as they fly farther into space than we ever imagined before.

4. Spark some electricity.

If you head to a show at the DTE Energy Sparks Theater, you might just be the lucky one picked to touch the Van de Graaff generator for a truly hair-raising experience. Just outside the theater, you can touch different types of energy encased in glass and watch how your own electrical conductivity affects it.

5. Play pretend at KidsTown.

Maybe you’ve always wondered what it might be like to work in a diner, or be a veterinarian, or sing onstage. In KidsTown, you can play right along with your 5-and-under child as you imagine any number of fun jobs. “That imagination element is not something a lot of us get in our daily life,” says Sarah Faist, educator at the Michigan Science Center.

6. Brush up on your science knowledge.

Use a lever, ponder the pendulum, or whisper messages across the lower level in the Motion gallery, which explains principles of matter and energy in a fun and hands-on way. “It helps adults get over their science phobia,” says Faist. “Having something hands-on shows you something in a cool new way that’s not only attracting to your eye, but lets you have that discovery moment that never goes away regardless of age.”

7. Make a killing in the stock market and get in a workout.

Pick your stocks in Moneyville, a traveling exhibit sponsored by Bank of America, and experience what it’s like to go through a year’s worth of trades in about 10 minutes. Unfortunately, you don’t actually get to pocket any profits, but you can use what you learn to approach your own finances differently. Then, head over to Eat Well, Play Well, sponsored by DMC, and test your fitness with balancing activities, an electronic jump rope and more.

8. Finally get over the trauma that was junior year chemistry class with a chemistry demonstration.

You can wield the test tubes and Bunsen burners again, but this time it’s fun because you’re making things like slime or snow instead of worrying about sending the whole school up in flames if you mix the wrong two substances. Plus, there’s no grade to worry about.

9. Discover how engineering affects our lives.

You probably know a few engineers, but you might not understand what they do. In the Engineering Gallery, you can go inside an assembly line or learn about how roads and bridges are built. It might even spark interest – instead of dread – when you see those orange barrels popping up!

10. Imagine what it would be like to serve on a NASA launch team in the Space Gallery.

You can look through a telescope, peer inside different space modules and even watch a simulated rocket launch. The Mars Voyager visualizer helps you picture what it would be like to make that long interstellar journey. “It surrounds you and makes you feel like you are in space,” says Penn.

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