From science museums to children’s museums, here are some of the best places to explore and learn something new with your family around the Midwest.
The Henry Ford
Just a few hours north in Dearborn, Michigan, The Henry Ford offers a huge variety of exhibits and experiences. See the bus where Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park laboratory, and the Wright Brothers’ bicycle shop — then visit an all-abilities playground in Greenfield Village and take a ride on a vintage Ford automobile or train. Opportunities for fun and fascination abound. Ticket prices vary depending on the attractions you choose to see. It’s advised to plan for more than one day to see all there is to see at this extraordinary museum!
It’s no exaggeration to say there is something for everyone at the City Museum in St. Louis, Missouri. Built around the spiral chutes of an old shoe warehouse, there are more than 30 slides in the museum (two of them are 10-story spiral slides!), treehouses and tunnels, a circus, the world’s largest pencil, a miniature train for kids to ride and toddler town — an area for kids 6 and under to slide, climb and explore. Tickets are $20 each and kids 3 and under are admitted free!
Center of Science & Industry (COSI)
Columbus, Ohio’s Center of Science & Industry should be on every Midwestern family’s “must visit” list! It offers classic exhibits about topics like dinosaurs, space, oceans and the human body, but there are also live shows where visitors can appreciate science on stage (ever heard of rat basketball?)! Check out COSI’s newest exhibition, featuring King Tutankhamun and more than 1,000 reproductions of the burial treasure discovered with him. These items include the king’s throne, coffin and state car. There is also Big Science Park where adults and kids alike can physically interact with science by lifting an entire car with the help of a lever, roll a giant granite sphere, and experiment with air pressure. Fun and education collide at this amazing museum! Tickets for adults are $25, youth ages 2-12 are admitted for $20, and children under the age of 2 are free.
The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
No list of outstanding museums in the Midwest would be complete without The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. Ranked #1 in the USA Today Best Children’s Museum contest, this museum currently features Dinosaur Train: The Traveling Exhibit and Minecraft: The Exhibition. The permanent exhibits include Carousel Wishes and Dreams, Playscape (especially for children ages 5 and younger), Take Me There: Greece, Fireworks of Glass, ScienceWorks, Beyond Spaceship Earth and more. The Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience is open for the season, so take advantage of the warmer weather and hop in a pedal car, shoot some hoops, and swing for the fences! Tickets range in price from $32-$23.75 for adults and $25.75-$18.75 for youth ages 18-2. Visitors under the age of 2 are admitted for free. (You can save 20% on your tickets by purchasing them at least two weeks in advance.)