Top 10 Science Museums in the Midwest (6-10)

Top 10 Science Museums & Places to Visit in the Midwest (6-10)

Posted by Doug / in Museums & Science Places

6. Binder Park Zoo, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Binder park zoo

The sciences of ecology and biology are important for kids to understand. The Binder Park Zoo is a great place to visit with kids to relax, enjoy, and learn about these areas of science. The zoo is split into two sections including the lower zoo area which includes more traditional zoological exhibits. The Conservation Discovery Center and Children's Zoo are very good areas for kids to get up close to animals. The upper zoo is call Wild Africa. This area is what makes Binder Park Zoo such a great place to visit. Wild Africa can be accessed by a 5 minute tram ride or a 20 minute hike. This area has plentiful trails to see native plants and trees along with African animals. One of the highlights for kids is the giraffe area where food (usually lettuce) can be purchased and guests can feed the giraffes. The giraffes are very gentle and will wait for the food to be offered and then use their long tongues to take the food. The giraffes will sometimes let you pet their head if you are gentle. Very cool! (7400 Division Drive, Battle Creek, Michigan,

7. Field Museum, Chicago, Illinois


The Chicago Field Museum is one of the most popular museums in the United States since it is located within walking distance of a huge tourism belt along Lake Shore Drive. This museum has the best dinosaur exhibit in the Midwest which includes Sue the T-Rex who greets you at the entrance. There are many other spacious displays, such as birds, reptiles, Africa, mammals, evolving planet, plants of the world, underground adventure, earth sciences, and the family Playlab. There are also some great exhibits at the Field Museum that have more to do with history than science such as Inside Ancient Egypt, Ancient Americas, Arctic People and the North American Indians exhibits. Keep in mind if you are visiting that the Field Museum has a very "world is flat" view on evolution as the only opinion for many of the displays. (1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois,

8. Carnegie Science Center, Pittsburgh, PA

Carnegie Science Museum

The exploration station, located at the entrance has some nice hands-on science activities to try. The new Sportsworks exhibit demonstrations physics in action as kids learn about the physics of sports. The exploration station and seascape areas are great for elementary school kids or younger. The museum also has a planetarium and submarine that can be toured (weather permitting). It also boasts one of the best model train exhibits on display. (One Allegheny Ave., Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,

Review of Carnegie Science Center

9. The Cleveland Natural History Museum, Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland Natural history museum

The Natural History Museum located near Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland offers guests nice exhibits on both biology and space. The museum also boasts one of the best exhibits on dinosaurs in the Midwest. Audio tours are available to help bring the biological displays to life. The museum has several outdoor areas where native plant life can be studied along with a mini-zoo which is a very nice experience for kids and is also handicap accessible. For space fans, there is an interactive space learning area with a planetarium which offers constellation shows. (1 Wade Oval Drive University Circle, Cleveland, Ohio,

10. Imagination Station in downtown Toledo, Ohio

This little-known science museum made the top Midwest list because of the amount of interactive displays and overall focus on helping kids learn about science. The Little Kids Space is very nice for younger kids. Older kids will be kept plenty busy with all there is to see and do including the "Energy", "Mindworks", "Water Works" and "Engineer It" areas. The roller coaster ride simulator and tight rope bicycle ride (20 feet up!) are particularly cool. We are told the bike is complete safe. Parking is a little difficult since there is not a public lot adjacent to the museum. Parking in garages is available in lots across the street to the north of the museum. Take in your parking ticket if it is at an Imagination Station designated lot for validation at the desk for discounted parking. (One Discovery Way, Toledo, Ohio,

Detailed information for Imagination Station


Honorable Mention

Louisville Science Center, Louisville, Kentucky

This location receives a honorable mention for the top Midwest science museum list. Although this museum is one of the smallest on this list, it is very well done and located in one of the hidden gem cities in the Midwest. This museum is great for preschool kids though early teens. The Louisville Science Center has four main exhibit areas including The World Around Us, The World We Create, The World Within Us, and the KidZone. All the areas feature very interactive displays that ramp up the interest in science for kids of all ages. The museum also features temporary exhibits so the experience is never the same and an IMAX theatre. (727 West Main Street, Louisville, KY,


Shedd Aquarium, Chicago, Illinois

With its position on Lake Shore Drive, the Shedd Aquarium is probably the most visited aquarium in the Midwest. It is a very nice aquarium, but the ticket structure is a little confusing. There is a general admission Ticket which gets you into the Oceanarium, Wi8ld Reef, Polar Play Zone, Amazon Rising, Caribbean Reef and Waters of the World areas. The 4D show, Jellies, and the Shedd aquatic show are all add-ons. The best feature of the aquarium is the Shedd aquatic show. It is the best indoor marine animal show available anywhere. The aquatic show pools are spectacular since they are designed as an infinity pool with Lake Michigan. The effect is very dramatic. If you plan to attend the aquatic show, get there early since seats fill up quickly. (1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL


National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, Riverside, Ohio

The US Air Force Museum is one of the best aviation museums in the world. The focus of this museum is not science, but there are many aspects of this museum that promote science interest in kids. The aircraft and weapons are in different building of the museum arranged by time period. The Early Years gallery may be particularly interesting for kids since it has some the early military aircraft the Wright Brothers designed for the Air Force. The Cold War Gallery, World War II Gallery, and Missile and Space Gallery aircraft displays are vast. There are many opportunities for kids to be able to walk through the aircraft. There is also an interactive museum that helps to teach kids about flight using models and video games along with many other displays. Admission is completely free although there is a charge for the IMAX films. (1100 Spaatz Street, Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio,

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