Spending some time in Boston and looking for a fun way to spend an afternoon that is great for both children and adults? A trip to the Museum of Science should definitely be part of your itinerary.
The Museum of Science experience is an immersive plunge into the way things work at a biological level, an environmental level, a physics level, and many others.
Check out our helpful guide for visiting Boston’s Museum of Science, packed full of ways to save on admission, tips for visiting, other nearby attractions, and much more.
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Tips for Visiting the Museum of Science
You’ll hear it here first, and you’re sure to see it as soon as you take a look into the blue wing: the place is massive and full. Just the blue wing’s lower level is filled with an assortment of disparate exhibitions from robobees to dinosaurs, from a moon-landing module to basic cartography. Knowing its size, you’ll want to get there early. From there, I suggest starting with the larger, more interactive exhibitions.
Another good way to make sure you have the best experience possible is to have everyone in the group look through the map and highlight the scientific areas that interest them. Use this as a loose itinerary. “Loose,” because there is no way that none of the previously un-highlighted exhibits won’t draw you in. Still, having a general sense of purpose as you walk through the vast museum will help you spend more time on the exhibits the group really wants to see. Otherwise, you’ll likely run out of steam and not make it to something you really wanted to see.
This loose itinerary should also take into account that some of the best features of the Museum of Science run on schedules. The planetarium presentations, the Van de Graff Generator, the 4D movie times, and the Butterfly Garden all adhere to schedules throughout the day. Keep these showtimes in mind so that you can view them without having to rush through an exhibit, or down a flight of stairs to make it in time. Also, this way you can schedule your time to make sure there are no conflicts between remaining showings at the end of the day.
After spending a solid amount of time immersed in science, break for lunch by taking the family or group to the eating area by the Riverview Cafe. Then, since you’re already in the area, this could be a good opportunity to watch the planetarium presentation, depending on the ages in your group. Moons: Worlds of Mystery plays at 12:30 and again at 3:30, while Inside NASA: From Dream to Discovery plays at 1:30. For younger kids, you may want to wait until the Big Bird’s Adventure: One World, One Sky that plays at 2:30.
Before beginning the second floor of the blue wing, have a parent or member of the group get tickets for the movie playing in the 4D theater, and the Butterfly Garden. In the time before the show, make your way through the engaging Light exhibits. The “Mirror, Mirror,” is especially interesting to some, spooky to others. Further along the way, the Energy Conservation exhibit provides an always important reminder to do your part with conserving energy resources by limiting energy use, containing house heat efficiently, reusing clothes, and recycling.
On the other side of the atrium, there are optical displays and illusions under the “Seeing is Deceiving” exhibit that exercise the mind as much as the playground did the body. It’s a great string of demonstrations that keep adults just as curious as children.
Take the group down to the lower level of the blue wing when you’re ready for some good old fashioned ah-hoc exploration. There isn’t exactly a logic to the extravaganza of exhibits for all interests and ages packed into the two blue wing floors. If you have kids and if they are old enough, this could be a good room to let them roam within eyesight, and really discover things based on what catches their eyes and at their own pace.
What You Should Bring
- One water bottle per person should do the trick. The Museum does a good job of providing water fountains throughout the building.
- Comfortable walking shoes.
- For young kids, the museum suggests you pack a change of clothes.
- Snacks and a lunch if you don’t feel like spending money at the Riverview Cafe. The museum does allow re-entrance, so you could also go to a nearby restaurant and come back.
- a camera to catch all the memories at distinctive museum attractions, like next to the huge T-rex or inside a space module.
What to Do There
Constantly showcasing new temporary exhibits and activities, the museum is sure to be a great experience even if you have been there before.
The Museum is full of permanent exhibits that will dazzle you and your family. Here are a few of our favorites we suggest you check out during your visit…
The Hall of Humans
The Hall of Humans is arguably the most informative and interactive room at the Museum of Science.
The left side of the room essentially breaks down human life into its most basic, yet compelling building blocks. These activities help structure kids’ developing perceptions in scientific fact, not to mention remind adults some of the fascinating facts that make up human life.
The stations builds a biological understanding of humans from our social nature, to how DNA, cancer, diseases and antibiotics all work inside the body.
The right side is even more interactive, featuring a series of tests to collect your own personal attributes and health. But before you get caught up in the fascinating topics and experiments, make sure you visit the free-to-use Link Stations.
Here, you’ll receive a wristband to “link up” with the stations’ interactions via barcode.
This feature will track your scores at each station, like the height of your foot arch at the aptly named “How High are Your Arches” Station, or station to see how efficient your walking motion is, or how warm or cold you feel relatively.
Afterwards you can access your scores from the Museum of Science website in order to help measure, and manage your health.
The “Modeling the Mesozoic” and the “Colossal Fossil: Triceratops Cliff” exhibits will overload a dinosaur lover with fascination and facts in the best way possible.
The life-size T-rex, and the reconstructed bones of a triceratops bring the seemingly larger-than-life, ancient creatures to life like you’ve never seen before.
The “Modeling the Mesozoic” exhibit delves into the methods of science behind hypothesizing where and how these animals lived, giving texture to the archeological remains we have today.
Science in the Park
The Science in the Park educational playground will help your kids spend any pent-up extra energy they’ve been harboring since lunch, making good use of body and mind.
Here, there are swings not just for swinging, but for demonstrating the physics of efficiency.
There is a track to test speed with lights that light up as you pass them. The seesaw is fully equipped with a scientific explanation.
Take a Closer Look
I would especially recommend the Take a Closer Look exhibit for both kids and adults.
There is relativity of hot and cold, the SEM camera, and the visual “sound” waves all contribute to suspending our static, commonplace view of stimuli, while at the same time drawing connections between seemingly disparate sensations that demonstrate the unification of reality.
Need to Know
- Saturday–Thursday, 9:00am–5:00pm.
- Friday, 9:00am–9:00pm.
- Closings: Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day.
- Open from 9:00am – 2:00pm Thanksgiving Eve and Christmas Eve.
- All hours are subject to change without notice. Please visit mos.org/hours for the most up-to-date information.
Directions & Address
1 Science Park
Boston, MA 02114
Public Transportation: Take the T: Green Line, Lechmere train, to Science Park stop. Note: Science Park stop is not wheelchair accessible; call the MBTA at 617-222-5000 for assistance.
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