A visit to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit offers infinite possibilities for engagement, learning and fun for curious minds of all ages. There’s so much to do, so where should you start on your next trip with your little ones?
We decided to go straight to the source: the kids. This video follows Metro Parent CoverKid Sophia who takes us through some of the coolest attractions at the popular hands-on museum.
Check out the video below, plus learn more about these and other attractions with our list of the top 10 things to do at the Michigan Science Center. Take it along with you on your next visit and then let us know in the comments section which activities your kids liked best.
1. Special exhibits
There’s always something new to explore at MiSci, including limited engagement exhibits. A T. rex Named Sue, a casting of the largest, most complete T. rex skeleton ever found, opens October 17. Toytopia, focuses on the science of play and the importance of invention for all ages and features a giant dollhouse, arcade games, a building area with LEGO® blocks and more. Read more about Toytopia here.
2. Kids Town
This child-scaled town gives kids 5 and younger the chance to develop their social and motor skills while exploring the basic science concepts we encounter every day.
“It gives them a very comfortable place to interact and engage in the informal learning process,” says Andy Zulkiewski, presentations coordinator at the Michigan Science Center.
Kids Town features water tables, a veterinary area, crafts, a stage where kids can play dress-up, and more.
3. Live stages
The Michigan Science Center’s live demonstrations and shows make the MiSci experience unique. With five stages and additional lab spaces, the museum gives kids access to actual science experts offering engaging programs on a daily basis.
“We really pride ourselves in the fact that we offer a lot of human interaction,” Zulkiewski says. “Our staff is really good at reading the audience and adjusting how they explain the concepts. They keep it fun, but at the same time make sure they’re teaching science concepts.”
4. IMAX® Theatre
The experience you’ll find at the center’s Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre is unlike any other in the state. The screen itself is 67½-feet wide and five stories high, making it the largest movie screen in Michigan.
“It gives guests an immersive experience,” Zulkiewski says. “It’s the biggest domed screen in Michigan and a unique experience you’re only going to get here.”
Two new films, Mysteries of the Unseen World, and Dinosaurs Alive! open Oct. 17. Mysteries of the Unseen World takes audiences to places on the planet they’ve never been before and reveals things that are beyond their normal vision yet are literally right in front of their eyes. Dinosaurs Alive!, a great pairing with the A T. rex Named Sue exhibit, is a global adventure of science and discovery – featuring the earliest dinosaurs of the Triassic Period to the monsters of the Cretaceous.
MiSci’s Dassault Systèmes Planetarium is a popular draw for families, especially because astronomy is a topic that gets many kids interested in science for the first time.
“It’s one of those gateway topics for people to get into science. It’s something that people are generally interested in and it’s a great place to start,” Zulkiewski says.
Shows rotate throughout the day and include a staff member who interacts with guests. A brand-new show, Stories in the Sky, is geared toward PreK-1st graders and teaches the rotation of the Earth, light pollution, animal friends in the night sky and the stories that go with them.
6. DTE Energy Sparks Theater
The live electricity theater at the Michigan Science Center is one of the museum’s most popular attractions. The show includes live demonstrations featuring static electricity and even an exploding wire. “People have a blast in there,” Zulkiewski says. “It’s a very visual and interactive show.”
7. Chrysler Science Stage
The Chrysler Science Stage features interactive shows led by live performers. Brand-new demonstrations include launching rockets, shrinking balloons, and more with liquid nitrogen, which boils immediately at temperatures more than −320 °F!
“We involve the audience and we ask for volunteers to help us perform our demos,” Zulkiewski says. “It’s an exciting way to make science more accessible.”
The Chrysler Science Stage offers 20-minute presentations several times daily.
8. Space Gallery
Here you’ll find telescopes, rockets, an actual NASA training capsule, interactive displays on space exploration, and more. Learn how rockets work, see how Apollo astronauts traveled to the moon, discover the scale of our Solar System and explore space.
9. Centennial Lab
Would your kids like building and launching a rocket? What about making slime? This lab gives kids the chance to try these experiments and more, all while learning about the science behind them.
10. Bring science home
Be sure to stop at the Explore Store, the Michigan Science Center’s one-stop shop for at-home experiments, science kits and educational toys.
You might consider a small robotics kit, chemistry set or even a geode. “It’s a great way to continue that learning experience and keep that spark going,” Zulkiewski says.