It’s no secret that kids learn best by doing – by using all of their senses to explore and discover through exciting, hands-on activities that truly engage them with the material at hand. It’s also no secret that one of the best places for local families to find this type of interactive exploration is at the Saint Louis Science Center.
The Saint Louis Science Center has been entertaining – and educating – guests of all ages for decades, but with new exhibits and attractions opening regularly, there’s always a good reason to plan yet another visit.
Current and upcoming special attractions that St. Louis families will enjoy include:
Do your kids love dinosaurs? Then they will love Dinosaurs in Motion, the latest exhibit where science, art and innovation combine to bring these prehistoric creatures to life. Now through September 1, visitors to the exhibit will stand in awe of its life-sized metal dinosaur sculptures, all imagined, designed and created by artist John Payne.
Kids – and kids at heart – can bring the dinosaurs to life using a variety of pulleys, levers and remote controls to make the sculptures move and roar. Without even realizing it, they’ll be learning about the science of kinetics, biomechanics and robotics in the process. Other hands-on, kid-friendly activities – like creating sketches of favorite dinosaurs and building kinetic structures – are also part of the fun.
Exhibit visitors even have the opportunity to purchase a photo of their group being attacked by a ferocious dinosaur beneath the Gateway Arch. (Don’t worry; the picture is snapped in front of a green screen and the background is computer-generated, so kids won’t get scared. And the result is pretty fantastic – the photo actually looks like a scene straight out of Jurassic Park.)
A few other things worth noting about the Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit:
The Science Center will offer special Low Sensory Days from 10-11 a.m. on July 16, August 6 and August 20. During these times, the exhibit will have regular room lighting (instead of the usual theatrical strobe lighting), and all video and dinosaur sounds will be either turned off or down very low. If you think your child may be scared by either loud noises or theatrical lighting, these days represent the perfect time to visit.
Dinosaurs in Motion: Creative Saturdays will take place every Saturday throughout the summer, with artists on site throughout the day to help visitors discover where art and science meet. Each week has a different theme, and will include activities and demonstrations in watercolors, printmaking, comic book art and more.
For Science Center Members, admission to Dinosaurs in Motion is $5 for children and $6 for adults. For non-Members, admission is $10 for children and $12 for adults.
If your kids love the lemurs in the popular Madagascar films (remember King Julien?), they’ll be intrigued by this opportunity to learn more about the lives of these laid back, free-spirited creatures.
Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the IMAX documentary Island of Lemurs tells the true story of how lemurs first arrived in the remote world of Madagascar, and how they evolved to become the highly endangered species they are today. Thanks to the five-story, wrap-around screen in the Science Center’s Omnimax Theater, audiences are immersed in the sights and sounds of the African wild, and get to enjoy a front row seat to the amusing exploits of these always entertaining primates. You will even see them dance!
Although the film documents the many fires destroying the lemurs’ natural habitat, it is overall an upbeat documentary which is suitable for children of all ages. And with a fairly short running time of 39 minutes, it is well-suited to younger viewers with short attention spans.
Tickets for Island of Lemurs: Madagascar cost $9 for adults and $8 for children and seniors. Titans of the Ice Age and D-Day: Normandy 1944are also playing in the Omnimax Theater this summer.
Can’t make it to the Saint Louis Science Center during the day this summer? No problem! Just take advantage of their Open Late ‘Til 8 Nights.
Thursday evenings through August 28, the Science Center will stay open until 8 p.m., giving local families a few extra hours to see all of its coolest, current attractions. From the Dinosaurs in Motion exhibit to special rates on evening show times at the Omnimax Theater to showings of Live Sky Tonight in the James S. McDonnell Planetarium, there’s something for every member of the family to enjoy.
And if you can’t make it on a Thursday evening, don’t forget about First Fridays, when the Science Center stays open until 10 p.m. on the first Friday of every month throughout the year.
Trying to save money on your visit? While parking in the main lot behind the Saint Louis Science Center costs $10, it is FREE to park in the small lot at the James S. McDonnell Planetarium in Forest Park. And with visitors constantly coming and going, it is almost always possible to score a spot there.
Photos courtesy of the Saint Louis Science Center and Imagine Exhibitions
Alyssa Chirco is a freelance writer, mother and margarita lover, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for STL Parent, she is Contributing Editor at Parenting Squad, and covers parenting, health and lifestyle topics for publications across the country. She recently moved from the suburbs of St. Louis to a small town in rural Jefferson County, where she is learning to survive with no Target or Starbucks in sight. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaChirco
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