Michigan Science Center: Hands on Fun For All

My preschooler and second grader love science museums. As a homeschool mom, I love them too. It’s a win when I can take my kids to a place that weaves exploring, touching, and learning together. It was an easy yes when the chance to make the drive to the Michigan Science Center came up this summer.

The Michigan Science Center is located off of John R, right in the middle of  Midtown Detroit’s cultural center, a district packed with art museums, cultural centers, and perfect for exploring.

Yes, You Can Touch Almost Everything

Visiting a museum with kids can be an exercise in patience, especially if the museum hides their collection behind glass windows. Luckily, the Michigan Science Center is designed for visitors to experiment with and touch just about everything. It doesn’t matter how small your kids are, there is a place for everyone to get their STEAM on.

My kids immediately noticed the miniature Mackinac Bridge and tore across it, ready for a day of exploring. When they disappeared into the steel smelting “machine” to be tumbled, I knew I was going to be in for a day of learning, as well as squeals of delight.

Here’s why I think your kids will love visiting the Michigan Science Center, and why you will too.

Detroit Science Center mini-mac bridge
01

Hello There, 5 Senses!

Kids learn best when they experience life with all of their senses – and the Michigan Science Center doesn’t disappoint. No matter what corner you go around, kids are greeted with exhibits that encourage them to not only look, but to touch, smell, and listen.

Water play, turning your hair into a vibrant rainbow, whacking musical pipes like the Blue Man Group, and using the whole body to move balls around with a mechanical vacuum, are all ways of interacting with the exhibits and help bring home everything that’s learned.

02

Live it Up at Kids Town

Younger kids could spend the entire day here alone. Set up like a miniature town, this area is only for smaller tykes ages 2-5 and their families, and screened to make sure it’s kept that way. Kids can play in the water area, which is full of hands-on science experiments for a splashing good time, or explore various careers.

The veterinarian area is full of cages with stuffed animals, dress up gear, and you can’t miss the very alive and non-stuffed Madagascar hissing cockroaches hidden in the corner. There’s even an area for 2 and under.

03

You Can Manufacture Yourself

Michigan is known for manufacturing and engineering, and the Michigan Science Center specializes in teaching kids all about it.

Walk the 80-foot long Mini Mac Bridge, work in the U.S. Steel Fun Factory, check out the road cameras, or have fun smelting yourself through play equipment kids walk through, including a tumbling tunnel.

Detroit Michigan Science Center smelt yourself
04

Touring Exhibits are Out of this World

When we visited, the visiting exhibition was called DEPTH.

It taught families about human impact on the ocean through art, virtual reality, and multi-sensory underwater experiences like listening to the sound of a penny dropped into the water.

Gigantic jellyfish made of plastic bags floated overhead, and passing through curtains made you feel like you were underwater without ever getting wet.

Now the Michigan Science Center has switched from the ocean to the other great mystery: space, and it promises to suck kids in like a black hole

05

Super-charged and Super-fun Interactive Science Shows

When you need a break from exploring, take a seat on the carpeted bleachers near the center of the ground floor and get ready for twenty minutes of interactive fun.

Our show celebrated the Apollo 11 anniversary. Kids were vacuumed up, treated to Newton’s Laws of Physics, and for a grand finale, we saw our first ever fire tornado.

06

Immersive Theater Experiences

Shows at the Michigan Science Center have live components, so while kids sit back and stare up at the stars in the Planetarium, or hear the frogs calling during the Global Soundscapes film at the 4D Theater, they are fully immersed and interacting with the show, and not just passive observers.

07

No Need for Kids or Adults to Pack a Lunch

After a morning of hands-on fun, it’s easy to get your hands on lunch. The Cosmic Cafe is full of easy-to-access seating, as well as inexpensive food, including kid-favorites such as pizza and hot dogs, and salads, soups, and paninis for you. And when you need it, the restroom is right next door.

08

Easy Parking, You Won My Heart

The Michigan Science Center’s small lot can be hard to find. But for less than $10 for the entire day, the Detroit Institute of Arts has a parking lot less than a block away. It’s gated, illuminated, large, and easy to get in and out of.

There are other places to park near the Michigan Science Center, but this lot is by far our favorite. So don’t be afraid to drive yourself into downtown Detroit and see everything that the Michigan Science Center has to offer.

Learn How to Visit and Save at the Same Time

The Michigan Science Center participates in the reciprocal ASTC museum program, so if you have a membership to another ASTC museum 70 miles away, your admission is free for you, or your family, depending on your membership level.

There are several discounts offered, including for the following with ID: active military personnel, high school and college students, and educators. Bank of America cardholders receives free general admission on the first full weekend of every month. Learn about more discount options here.

If you check out a Michigan Activity Pass from your local library, you receive a free theater ticket with admission.

To learn more about the Michigan Science Center, visit their website, or their FaceBook page.

Michigan Science Center
5020 John R Street
Detroit, MI 48202
(313) 577-8400