Family Visit to the Michigan Science Center

Michigan Science Center ExteriorI’m all about mixing and combining and multi-tasking; what mom isn’t? The Michigan Science Center knows this — and knows that providing an interactive approach to science helps kids young and not-so-young to engage and participate.

I recently had the opportunity to visit the Michigan Science Center, located on John R. Street in Midtown Detroit’s Cultural Center, as part of a social media campaign. My husband and two kids arrived as the science center opened and spent five hours wandering the museum, taking in the exhibits, live shows, and an IMAX movie.

One of our first stops was the Health and Nutrition gallery, where the kids learned about calories and food intake. They loved the Start Working it Off! exhibit, where they could ride a bike, climb a stair machine or propel a wheelchair to find out just how much effort it takes to burn calories. There were signs posted to show the number of calories burned, as well as how many calories it takes to burn off a double cheeseburger or a piece of broccoli.

Michigan Science Center Reduce the Fat Game

Several whack-a-mole-style games let kids knock out the fat or reduce the salt. (My daughter played the ice cream one several times.)

Michigan Science Center Giant Pendulum

Next, we headed down to the lower level, where we found the Giant Pendulum. The Earth’s rotation causes gradual shifts in the direction that the pendulum swings, eventually making a full rotation after about 30 hours. As the shift occurs, marbles set up on the outer perimeter are knocked off their pegs by the pendulum, causing them to circle around until they drop down inside the circle. My husband and I were fascinated by the pendulum and waited anxiously to see the next marble fall; the kids were a little too young to appreciate it.

Michigan Science Center Luminarium Magnifying GlassesThe Luminarium, on the other hand, was a delight for both kids. They loved looking through the magnifying glasses and seeing how light changes colors, and experiencing how their shadows could be cast in different colors, based on which color of light they were standing in.

Michigan Science Center Lumenarium KidsAfter the Luminarium, it was time for a break. We took the stairs (burning calories!) to the Chrysler IMAX Dome Theater, where the kids watched their very first theater movie, “Animalopolis.” They loved watching animals from around the world play and frolic, and learned about the Christmas Island red crab migration.

Michigan Science Center IMAX Theater

Onward we went to the assembly and manufacturing area, where kids and grown ups could try operating a vacuum lifter, assemble gears on an assembly line, and see what sorts of protective gear different workers have to wear for their jobs.

Michigan Science Center assembly line

 My family’s admission including IMAX tickets were provided as part of the social media campaign in which I participated; all opinions expressed are my own.

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