Looking for a fun and educational weekend hangout? Look no further than Discovery Center in downtown Springfield MO ( https://www.discoverycenter.org/ ). Open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and for a reasonable fee, your kiddos can enjoy hours of hands on electrical, engineering, natural science stations and that’s just the beginning.
In February, I spent two hours with both grandkids building bridges, hanging out with dinosaurs, and exploring 3 floors of activities. It wasn’t enough time. I had to pull them away from the Minecraft® room to meet my granddaughter’s other grandparents to ensure she got home on time. Minecraft® is an exhibit that has taken over the 5 year old and under room and involves building structures with sturdy blocks and other activities in an enclosed space. This is a great place to take a break from the more open areas, especially with younger children who keep their parents hopping.
Discovery Center is relatively small for a children’s science museum in comparison to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry or other large city museums. But for the price: adults $12 and children $8 with discounts for seniors and veterans, I believe it’s worth it. The staff is friendly, helpful and takes an active role in showing off the various experiments, helping children’s excitement about science grow. Some exhibits require staff to be present, like the giant hamster wheel that generates electricity to power a Jacob ’s ladder electrical arc, and the Tesla experiment.
My grandkids are hands on building types, so the water table, giant Legos®, and bridge building area were their favorites. They were less interested in the space and chromosome exhibits, though we learned fun facts about planets and the Star Chamber was a hit as well. Sage always has fun with the magnetic car racing and Olivia did not want to leave the water table.
Older children may be more interested in the high wire bicycle, weather, mechanical and engineering stations throughout the building. The high wire bicycle costs a little extra, takes some bravery and will be saved for another day for my grandkids. There is also a mini golf course that was not open on the day I visited in February, but would definitely be worth a look in the future when the 2 kids have a little more patience.
I do recommend that you bring a snack or two as this place burns some energy. Everyone should wear clothes that can get dirty as some experiments and exhibits required being on the floor to build, dig and get a little wet. Parents, be prepared to get involved and have fun!
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