Got a kid who loves to tinker, build and create? Whether you have a LEGO lover, S.T.E.M.-stoked young scholar or even a SimCity addict, there's a good chance they're going to feel right at home.
After a successful run last fall/winter, the Kidstruction Zone exhibit returns to the Michigan Science Center in Detroit for some serious summer vacation fun. It re-opens June 21 and is slated to run till Dec. 31 2014. This attraction, open during Mi-Sci's normal hours, is "engineered" to be one big circle of fun, particularly for kids in preschool to grade 5 (roughly ages 4-12).
Packed with 10 "build zones," the new 3,000-square-foot exhibit is easy to find: It's right on the main level, near the entrance. And each "station" has some seriously cool building materials, including big foam blocks, PVC pipes, classic Lincoln Logs, KEVA Planks (a wooden block building toy), K'NEX, construction play trucks and LEGOs – both standard and jumbo.
"We wanted to make an engaging exhibit experience that'll appeal to all ages, and then across from boys and girls," says Kerri Budde, Mi-Sci's senior marketing manager. S.T.E.M. (science, engineering, technology and math) is definitely at the heart of it – "The 'E' being prominent," Budde adds, "but it engages all the principles."
You might say there's a place for S.T.E.A.M., too – the "A" standing for "art" – thanks to a little station that features popular Arts & Scraps of Detroit. Its table is filled with salvaged stuff kids can transform into their very own creations, from foam and googly eyes to loads of other castoff materials, plus essential crafting supplies like scissors, glue and tape.
Each "zone" features identifying signs, and the area also will be boasting different displays that highlight cool building facts and engineering feats from around the world.
Wondering where to start? Mi-Sci made that easy, too. There's a single entry point, and kids work their way around all 10 stations in a circular fashion, until they reach the exit. And in the center of the circle is a space just for mom and dad – in fact, it's called the "Parent Safety Zone," a comfy little nook complete with benches and some faux tree flair.
"The parents can just go and sit down and relax while the kids go from station to station playing," Budde says.
You can bring your young engineer or architect to start creating detailed buildings, futuristic cars or anything else they dream up – any time Mi-Sci is open. Summer hours, which run from June 16-Aug. 31, are as follows:
- Monday-Friday: 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
- Saturday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
- Sunday: noon-6 p.m.
Normal hours are 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Wednesdays-Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays and noon-6 p.m. on Sundays. The museum is closed on major holidays.
It's covered with general admission, which is $13/adults and $10/ages 2-12.
Visit the Metro Parent listing to learn a bit more about the Kidstruction Zone exhibit at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit.