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7 New Science Museum Trips

Dinosaur skeletons, gross bugs, space exploration! Your family's museum tour just got more exciting.

A skeletal cast and model head of a carcharodontosaurus will be among the dinosaurs on view during Giants: African Dinosaurs at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Wilmington, opening Dec. 3.

Delaware Museum of Natural History

A skeletal cast and model head of a carcharodontosaurus will be among the dinosaurs on view during Giants: African Dinosaurs at the Delaware Museum of Natural History, Wilmington, opening Dec. 3.

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Try one of these seven ideas for a fresh, fun and educational family outing to a science museum. We predict your experiment will yield satisfying results. Both skeptical and curious kids will be intrigued by the interesting exhibits and hands-on activities!

 

What's the Cost?
Here's how admission prices stack up at the featured museums. We priced a trip for a family of four (two adults, two children).

Delaware Museum of Natural History = $28
The Insectarium = $28
Johnsville Centrifuge and Science Museum = $32
Penn Museum = $32
Wagner Free Institute of Science = $32
Academy of Natural Sciences = $44
Garden State Discovery Museum = $44
Mütter Museum = $48
Delaware Children's Museum = $48
The Franklin Institute = starts at $58; for CSI exhibit + museum, $87

1. Go on a scavenger hunt.

Many museums supply pre-made scavenger hunts that you can request when you visit or download online ahead of time. Encourage friendly competition between siblings or go on a family search for artifacts. At the Wagner Free Institute of Science in Phila., you can choose a hunt by topic (minerals, insects or ocean life). The Penn Museum: The University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology will offer a new scavenger hunt made for teachers and available for parents at the beginning of November.

2. Be “wowed” by dinosaurs.

Gigantic dinosaur skeletons are likely to inspire awe in all ages. You can see them at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and the Delaware Museum of Natural History in Wilmington, DE.

The Academy hosts Dinosaur Days over Thanksgiving weekend with dinosaur presentations, make-and-take crafts and live bird shows. From Dec. 3-Feb. 26, 2012, the Delaware Museum of Natural History welcomes additional life-size skeletons to its dinosaur collection in the special Giants: African Dinosaurs exhibit.

A great outing for younger kids who would rather touch than look at dinosaurs is the new Dinosaurium at the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ. Kids can hunt for dino bones, prepare fossils, go climbing and enjoy other dinosaur-inspired activities.

3. Get your game on.

Turn off the Xbox on Sun., Nov. 6 and head to Penn Museum’s World Culture Day, where families can “Travel the World with Games.” Through logic games such as mancala and chess, you and your kids can exercise your brain’s left side. At the end of the day, the “Super Domino Brothers,” Mike and Steve Perruci, set up a 10,000-piece domino run.

Climbing the rock wall at Delaware Children's Museum "Power of Me"4. Explore the human body.

Did you know that you can see the tallest human skeleton on display in North America right in Philadelphia? The Mütter Museum at the College of Physicians of Philadelphia is home to the bones of the 7-ft., 6-in. man. The Splendid Skulls exhibit of various animal skulls is another kid-friendly highlight of this medical museum.

The Delaware Children’s Museum in Wilmington takes a different approach to discovering anatomy in its Power of Me gallery: by encouraging kids to test their abilities and limits through a chin-up bar and other hands-on lessons. This museum is designed for toddlers through age 12.

Older kids, teens and adults can use anatomical clues to solve crimes during CSI: The Experience at The Franklin Institute in Phila. through Jan. 2. Inspired by the popular TV show, this forensic science exhibit takes you through evidence testing and the autopsy room. Once you’ve built your case, compare your findings with the experts.

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