Hands On Fun at the Michigan Science Center in Detroit

Michigan Science Center in Detroit

Kids LOVE the Michigan Science Center

The Michigan Science Center is a mix of over 200 hands-on exhibits, working labs, an IMAX theatre, a planetarium and multiple entertaining shows. It was quite a treat!

01_SC exterior

Here’s a look at the place, level by level.


My kids moved quickly into the museum and headed straight toward the Roads, Bridges & Tunnels exhibit. Here they walked a mini-Mackinac Bridge, checked out a gigantic tunnel boring machine, and learned how cement is made. They LOVED this part of the museum. It was educational, hands-on and much fun!

02_SC tunnel

Adjacent to it, and just as cool, was the Fun Factory. Here the kids worked an assembly line along with other factory tools and chatted with robots.

03_SC Fun Factory

We then made a quick stop to the Nutritional Kitchen and Health and Wellness wing. Although there is an area on this floor where you can eat, don’t be fooled like I was. This is not it! Instead, here you are able to study nutrition labels and learn how to make good decisions about what you put into your body. It also features a giant heart, MRI machine and see through body.

04_SC medical

Located in this area was the Cell Lab, one of the museum’s three labs. The kids observed various bacteria here and then, using a microscope, compared the leaf of a lily with a piece of lung.

05_SC lab

What would a Detroit museum be without an automotive section?

They have this too, as well as an exhibit on space and energy!

Also on this floor is the planetarium. Although we opted out of squeezing in a show because of time, we heard great things about it! They had a nice variety to choose from including a laser show set to the Beatles, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Solar System, and The Secret of the Cardboard Rocket, among others.

Back to the food part…we brought in our own lunch and enjoyed it their large dining area, but they also offer beverages, snacks and entrees at their Cosmic Cafe.

06_SC main level


After lunch we headed downstairs to the Toyota Engineering 4D Theater to catch their show. We rocked in our seats and had (stale) wind and water spraying us as we participated in a live ‘game show.’ There was a movie portion that was entertaining, but the live part might have been (as my 9 year old journaled) “a little cheesy.”

For the most part, everything mentioned above focuses on kids age five and older. However, they do have a great area available called Kids Town for the littles. Despite the age recommendation, my nine year old kept busy in the water lab while the little ones checked out the library, danced on stage and played in the ball pit.

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It was in Kids Town that we also met Ssssstela, the museum’s snake, as well as Chris, a friendly and helpful employee who gave me many recommendations for making the most of our day.

07_SC Kids Town

The remainder of the floor had some cool hands-on exhibits focusing on motion, light, simple machines, force and more. It also featured a super cool light structure which included some fun exploration.

08_SC hands on


Although we didn’t have time to check this out, our Kids Town friend Chris highly recommended this special treat at the Center: Michigan’s only IMAX dome. Four movies are offered daily in their 70-foot-wide, five-story high screen!

09_SC Imax


  • The museum is generally open seven days a week. Check their website for hours.
  • With a membership to the Grand Rapids Public Museum or other ASTC Museum, admission is FREE!
  • Additional fees are required for the IMAX, Planetarium, and traveling exhibits.
  • There is a small restaurant and dining area located inside the museum. Outside food is also allowed.
  • Many parking options are available. When we visited we found ample FREE street parking, just blocks away.
  • The building is located in a cute little area adjacent to the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Museum of African American History, all three miles from the center of town. It is here where you can get a peek at Canada – my kids got a kick out of this!


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