With 15-foot lightning bolts in the Theater of Electricity and a 20-foot-long Tyrannosaurus rex model, this is just the place to ignite any child's scientific curiosity. Located just north of Massachusetts General Hospital, the museum sits astride the Charles River Dam. More than 550 exhibits cover astronomy, astrophysics, anthropology, medical progress, computers, the organic and inorganic earth sciences, and much more. The emphasis is on hands-on education.
At the "Investigate!" exhibit, there are no wrong answers, only discoveries. Children explore such scientific principles as gravity by balancing objects. They learn the physics behind everyday play activities such as swinging and bumping up and down on a teeter-totter in the "Science in the Park" exhibit. Other displays include "Light House," where you can experiment with color and light, and the perennial favorite, "Dinosaurs: Modeling the Mesozoic," which lets kids become paleontologists and examine
dinosaur bones, fossils, and tracks.
The Charles Hayden Planetarium, with its sophisticated multimedia system based on a Zeiss planetarium projector, produces exciting programs on astronomical discoveries. Laser light shows, with laser graphics and computer animation, are scheduled Thursday through Sunday evenings. The museum also includes the Mugar Omni Theater, a five-story dome screen. The theater's state-of-the-art sound system provides extra-sharp acoustics, and the huge projection allows the audience to practically experience the action on-screen. Try to get tickets in advance online or by phone.
The planetarium shows are best for children older than five.
After touring the museum, refuel the family at one of the six eateries in the Riverview Cafe located in the Red Wing on the first level.
From April through November, you can catch a Duck Tour from the first level of the museum. You'll need a reservation, so plan ahead. You might be in the mood to sit and tour the city after spending a morning on your feet walking through the exhibit halls.
Combine your admission with tickets to either the planetarium or Omni Theater and save $4 overall.