Friday, April 19, 2013

St. Louis Science Center, St. Louis City

Location:  5050 Oakland Ave. St. Louis, MO 63110

Amenities: hands-on science themed exhibits for children, cafe*, planetarium*, OMNIMAX theater*, gift shop, private room for nursing mothers, ATM, lockers*

*additional fee


The first thing I want to mention is that they charge $10 to park in the lot at the main science center building on Oakland ($12 during summer). So I always park at the Planetarium side at Clayton Ave in Forest Park because it's free. They have a decent sized parking lot and it's a very short walk into the building. Right when you walk in the door they have a ticket booth so you can buy tickets for the Discovery room, Omnimax, or Planetarium shows and then kill time by looking at all the displays on the walk over to the science center. My kids always enjoy the walk over because they love the skybridge over the highway.  I think most parents in St. Louis have a photo similar to this:

The new statue outside the planetarium is super cool!

I will mainly discuss the Discovery room (second floor) cause it's such a great thing for kids.  You get 45 minutes in the the room (geared toward ages 3-7) and it starts on the hour every hour. Most people find it's not near enough time for their kids to explore all there is to play with in there. Just to name a few things, there's a table to set up your own zoo of plastic animals, rocket ship with slide, musical instruments, fish tank, space table, magnetiles, and seasonal craft tables.

 A lot of people gather at the door and wait for it to open. They brought the train table out here and have some other toys for kids to play with while they wait.

They used to have a big water table but for some reason they just took it out. Now they have this water table which is 2 smaller tables.

Lego table

Space table

Magnetile table 

Magnifying table

They made a pad filled with liquid and pumpkin seeds and when you push on it they move around.

Fish tank

STEaM Easel

Rocket ship slide

Imagination playground

Wind tunnel with scarves and baby ball pit

Shadow puppet theater

Star room with glow in the dark stars on a felt wall


Hooded outfits for pretend

Mini corn bin

Plastic animals

 Doll house

 Musical instruments cube

Space shuttle ride on toy

 Egyptian crafts

My daughter made a rocket with the magnetiles

The Structures exhibit is on the walkway over Hwy 40, and this is where you can build an arch of foam blocks, and watched the cars driving beneath the highway thru windows in the floor. Older kids seem to find using the radar guns to see how fast the highway traffic is going very interesting. I thought the time-lapse video of the highway 40 reconstruction was pretty neat. You can also use a digger to pick up tiny beads and move them around, and experiment with bridges and more.

The dino dig area next to the huge animatronic dinos is always a hit.

They have a newer area on the second floor called the Makerspace. There are lots of fun things in here to do including:
  • Air Ball – Play to experiment how wind effects different objects. Then use the materials to create a game to teach to someone else! 
  • Float and Fly – Create an object using simple materials and then test it to see if it flies. Then Adapt your design to make it float! 
  • Sail Race – Design a sail using Tinkertoys and fabric and then send it down the racetrack. Can you Modify your sail to beat the best time of the day? 
  • Ball Run – Assemble the magnetic pipes to get a ball from start to finish on one side of the ball run. Work Together with others to try and get the ball around all four sides of the cube! 
  • Rigamajig – Imagine and Build something larger than yourself using our Rigamajig building materials! 
Don't forget the huge dinos outside! If you're walking in to the planetarium it's to the left of the entrance down the hill.

They have a t rex and a triceratops!

There's also a Blue Angel Jet on display

The Science Center is just a great place to spend time with your kids. They have all kinds of events, storytimes, special exhibits, classes, and more. It's great that it's free and usually not very busy. I used to spend so much time here when my kids where toddlers and I just needed to let them run. The great thing is that it grows with your kids as they get older and start to understand more. We are thankful we have this wonderful place in St. Louis!

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