You know your kids are going to like a museum when they get hooked on an exhibit before they even enter the building. And that was the case with my kids at the Kentucky Science Center (formerly known as the Louisville Science Center). A giant parabolic mirror greets visitors outside the museum. We’ve visited this museum twice in the last couple years and both times I had a hard time pulling my kids away from the mirror.
The museum has three floors and organizes exhibits by “worlds”–The World We Create, The World Around Us, and The World Within Us. When we visited the museum last year, my kids liked The World We Create so much that we never made it to the World Within Us, and so writing this article had to wait until we could get back to see the rest of the museum.
The World We Create focuses on the physical sciences including chemistry, physics, architecture, and engineering. It has lots of hands-on, interactive exhibits that kids love. You may have read in my bio that travel writing is a second career for me. My degree is in Mechanical Engineering and I worked in that field for ten years, so I love geeky museums like this. The World We Create covers both simple and more complicated topics. Kids can learn about simple machines in this hands-on exhibit.
They can also learn the basic architectural concept of an arch by building one themselves, perhaps with the help of a parent to reach the top.
Then there are more advanced concepts like wind tunnels.
The process of engineering design is introduced in a very kid-friendly way. Kids sit at a computer station and design a bicycle.
When their design is complete, the computer evaluates it for durability, weight, and aerodynamics. My kids loved this.
The other exhibit I couldn’t get my kids away from was the Zoobbuilding area.
Of course, these are just a few of the many exhibits in this area. As I stated earlier, if you don’t make a point of visiting the other parts of the museum, you could stay in this section all day.
Also on the second floor is The World Around Us which focuses on natural and earth sciences. The kids learned about meteorology and were able to pretend to be a meteorologist and record a weather forecast in front of a green screen.
When you’re done recording the forecast, you can watch yourself on TV. Fun!
We also had fun with this quiz game about energy.
The Discovery Gallery has a natural history collection including a mummy and this polar bear.
You’ll find The World Within Us on the third floor. This area focuses on human biology. Exhibits explore the different systems in the body: nervous, reproductive, musculoskeletal, immune, circulatory, digestive, and respiratory. These are all very well done, but be aware that you will encounter diagrams of reproductive organs. Here’s a display of the digestive system.
There were also additional activities for the different systems. My kids enjoyed this game about the immune system where they learned about T cells, B cells, and macrophages.
Amazing Beginnings is a fascinating exhibit that displays real human embryos and fetuses at various gestational ages.
There are some mature content areas that are marked with signs. These cover birth control and substance abuse. The driving simulator is a popular exhibit that simulates the difference between driving sober and driving after drinking. That’s a good lesson to learn, even when they are too young to drive.
The first floor has a Kidzone that was designed especially for children ages 7 and under. I didn’t visit this area because my kids are too old, but my friend Laura explored the area with her 4-year-old who loved it. It has climbing structures, science experiments, lots of hands-on learning opportunities. It also has a section just for babies.
The Kentucky Science Center also has an theater and daily demonstrations including an Explosion of the Day. Be sure to check the show schedule when you arrive. Since you could easily spend an entire day here, it is convenient that a Subway® restaurant is located on site.
One really cool thing I like about this museum is that it is open late on Friday and Saturday nights. Often it’s hard to find kid-friendly activities in the evening. And not only is it open, but admission is only $5 after 5 p.m.
Ready to Visit?
727 West Main St., Louisville, KY 40202
$13 Adults, $11 Children (2-12)
Free admission for ASTC Museum Members
IMAX® films are $7. If you want to see the museum and a film, combo prices are available.
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