Minerals galore, a full-sized T. rex skeleton cast and a huge model of a Michigan mastodon. Your kids might remember these things most after they visit the Cranbrook Institute of Science, but it’s only the beginning of what they’ll experience.
The family-friendly natural history and science museum in Bloomfield Hills is full of wonder for kids of all ages, says deputy director Nancy Swords.
“We have so many things to touch, see and do while they’re here,” she says.
You’ll find 14 permanent galleries, hands-on experiments and rotating features – like the current Rainforest Adventure followed by a Megalodon exhibit – mean there’s always something new to explore, too.
“It’s a great value for what they’re going to see and do,” Swords says.
Cranbrook’s planetarium has daily programs during the summer and the observatory is open every Friday and Saturday night and 1-4 p.m. the first Sunday of each month.
Visiting the museum with young kids is made easier with the institute’s Scavenger Hunt and the help of knowledgeable staff.
“The staff are very adept at talking with families about what their child’s interests are,” she says.
You won’t be stuck indoors, either, since the museum is shaped like a square with a science garden in the center.
Planetarium and bat shows are offered every weekend throughout the year, and daily between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
The museum also offers birthday parties, a science shop and a cafe with healthy snacks and “the best cookies ever,” Swords says.
The Cranbrook Institute of Science, located at 39221 Woodward Avenue in Bloomfield Hills, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday-Saturday and noon-4 p.m. on Sunday.
General admission is $13/adults, $9.50/ages 2-12 and seniors 65+ and free for kids under age 2. Admission is free after 5 p.m. on the first Friday of each month.
Visiting for the first time? Keep this in mind: If you know you’ll return at least once, put what you paid for admission toward a membership before you leave.
“That amount can be used toward the membership fee,” Swords says. “If you love it, you’ve covered your next visit already.”
For more information, visit science.cranbrook.edu or call 248-645-3200.