|Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.|
This is the second time in 5 years that we've bought a membership at Science Museum of Virginia. It's not so much because it's the most fantastic science museum ever, as it is because membership there opens us up to free admission at so many other great museums (more on that below!).
Our kids’ favorite part is the traveling exhibits. We’ve seen their exhibits on China, bugs, and candy. All are interactive. For example, the candy exhibit demonstrated how peoples’ taste buds are different by providing visitors with a piece of super sour candy. You had to suck on it while others observed your expression and timed you to see how long you could suck the candy before having to spit it out (which in my case was about two seconds).
The current (special exhibit is Arctic Adventure, a new traveling exhibit that's really cool (literally!). Explore the Earth’s Arctic region and learn about polar bears, climate change, and Arctic science. Interactive, hands-on exhibits include comparing polar and bear skulls, examining Arctic whales artifacts, and more.
A past traveling exhibit which we loved was "Zap" which we also saw at Virginia Air & Science Museum. It's was like being in a modern, high-tech remake of the B-movie "Amazing Voyage" where you're "injected" into a patient's body to see how Gamma Knife surgery works.
|Our kids love the hands-on physics exhibits.|
On a science museum scale of 1-10, 10 being best, I’d give Science Museum of Virginia a 6-7. While not as good (and well-funded) as the science museums in Chicago, Toledo, and Orlando, our kids always enjoy it and are entertained for a good two hours (not including time for an IMAX movie).
The museum is housed in the 1920’s era former Richmond train station, which still has the ramps that used to lead down to the trains. As you stand in the main entry hall, be sure to look up at the cavernous ceiling and try to imagine the place teeming with travelers in fedoras and pill box hats and white gloves.
Straight back from the front entrance is the physics and space exhibit, which features hands-on, interactive exhibits that demonstrate gravity, motion, and other physics principle and detail America’s space exploration.
|What could be better than an exhibit on chocolate?|
Upstairs you’ll find exhibits on the human body, a forensics exhibit where kids can figure out “whodunit” a la “CSI,” a small animal room, and an exhibit on crystals and computers (skip that one—it’s very underwhelming).
Our kids’ other highlights include:
The last IMAX we saw there was on Greece. Unlike some IMAX theaters, SMV’s is a tall, flat screen, rather than curved and concave. That’s a relief for me, because it means that I can watch an IMAX movie there without feeling nauseated (unlike with the concave screens).
If you live close enough to SMV, take advantage of their ongoing program of educational lectures and field trips, as well as their summer camps.
Membership at the museum gives you automatic membership in the ASTC program, which gets you into other participating science museums for free.
SMV sweetens the pot even more, by giving new members six free IMAX tickets, and four free visitors' tickets, so you can bring friends at no charge.
SMV is open seven days a week every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. Hours are Monday - Saturday, 9:30 am - 5:00 pm, and Sunday, 11:30 am - 5:00 pm.
Admission to the exhibits is $11 for adults (13-59) and $10 for kids (4-12), seniors 60+, and active military. Members are free.
IMAX tickets are $9 for all visitors age 4 and up, and $5 for members. Your best value is a combo Exhibits/IMAX ticket, which is $16 for adults (13-59) and $15.00 for kids (4-12), seniors 60+, and active military.
Guess what? Teachers with current school ID always receive FREE admission to the exhibits!
Science Museum of Virginia address: 2500 West Broad Street. Science Museum of Virginia phone number: 804-357-6552.
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