Top 10 Science Museums in the Midwest

Top 10 Science Museums in the Midwest

Posted by Douglas / in Matter Experiments

1. Children's Museum, Indianapolis, Indiana

See the Dinosphere at the Childrens Museum

The Indianapolis Children's Museum is the best science museum in the Midwest. It offers an immersive experience with many science exhibits and others just for fun. As you approach the museum it appears as if life-size dinosaurs are trying to get into the museum. It is visually stunning and gets kids very excited for the day. The themed audio in the parking lot demonstrates what you will find throughout the day, that there is extreme attention to the details of the guest experience. Start with the Dinosphere, the Scienceworks, and Playscape if you only have a short time to visit. The Children's Museum is a large place and you will not have time to see everything so choose your favorites and relax and enjoy the fun. Here the planetarium show is free, but tickets are needed for entry. Reserved your show time at the beginning of the day to assure seating. (3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis, Indiana,

Review and Photos of The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

2. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois

Probably the best museum to visit in the Midwest's largest city is Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry. This is the largest science museum in the country with too many exhibits to see in only one day, in fact it is touted as the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere. There are plenty of great permanent exhibits like the hands-on Idea Factory area, the Space Center, the Coal Mine, the Storms exhibit or the very cool Toy Maker 3000 fully robotic factory where you can watch your own toy being made. There are also other very fun exhibits like the scale train model of downtown Chicago that is not only very impressive from ground level, but used as a forced perspective display for an airplane display above. (57th Street and Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, IL,

Review and Photos of Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

3. Saint Louis Science Center, St. Louis, MO

The Saint Louis Science Center includes 3 large buildings that are connected by a bridge and a tunnel. There is a planetarium, the entry building, and the Exploradome. There is also a large science park outside if the weather is decent. The Saint Louis Science Center is extremely interactive and appears to be designed with making the displays as hands-on as possible. There is plenty to do for older elementary kids through early teens, but the center also has plenty of space for families with little ones to explore. (5050 Oakland Ave., St. Louis, MO,

4. Ripley's Aquarium of the Smokies, Gatlinburg, Tennessee

The first time I visited Ripley's Aquarium in downtown Gatlinburg, Tennessee, I was surprised at the quality of the museum. After visiting many different aquariums, as far away as Singapore, one of the best is located right in Tennessee. This is a great museum to learn about marine biology. The main saltwater tank is worth the visit alone. The underwater viewing tunnel is spectacular. Sharks and stingrays are only a few of the many sea species living inside the saltwater viewing aquarium. Kids will also love the new penguin area, the interactive discovery area where then can pick up a horseshoe crab, or stingray bay where they can touch a real stingray. The staff has live demonstrations at periodic times where a diver is in the tanks either feeding the marine animals or just showing off while a guide talks about the fish and animals. If you are visiting Gatlinburg, the location could not be better. Ripley's Aquarium is near the heart of the Gatlinburg strip. (88 River Road, Gatlinburg, TN,

5. COSI, Columbus, Ohio

COSI Columbus Ohio

COSI in downtown Columbus is an excellent science museum for kids. What makes it excellent is the attention to designing the exhibits to be as interactive as possible. While COSI is rated the number 1 science museum in the United States by Parents Magazine, it also ranked in our top 10 because of the size of the museum and the attention to details. It is a great half-day to full-day place to visit, particularly if you are traveling near Columbus. Some of the best exhibits for kids are the Gadget area, KidSpace and Space exhibit. Our personal favorites were the Ocean area and the Progress Exhibit. Progress is really neat because the changes in technology from a town in 1898 to 1962 are recreated. The Tesla Coil demonstration on the 1898 street is particularly cool. The Ocean area is quite unique. From the Poseidon underwater playground to the submarine area where you can go inside a real sub, control a robotic sub, or visit an underwater city. The museum new temporary displays throughout the year and an IMAX theatre. (333 West Broad St., Columbus, Ohio,

Review and Photos of COSI in Columbus

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