What to Expect at the Museum of Science in Boston

It’s tough finding a place that appeals to kids of all ages, and doesn’t bore the adults in the group either. The Museum of Science in Boston is full of engaging hands-on exhibits, amazing live presentations and natural mysteries. In fact, one of the exhibits shows how a toilet flushes – that’s sure to interest young kids and maybe an adult or two as well. Haha!

Visitors can spend hours at the Museum of Science and still note be able to full enjoy everything there is to do. Here’s what you can expect during your visit, and the MUST-SEE things I loved exploring.

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Carltonaut's Travel Tips Museum of Science Boston Van De Graaff Generator Lighting Show bolt guy cage

Getting Started at the Museum of Science

The Museum of Science allows you to buy your tickets online before you arrive. But you’re also welcome to purchase them at the admission counter in the main lobby in the north side of the museum. Be sure to look at all the options available to you, because once you purchase a main attraction ticket, adding on another attraction saves you a few dollars.

Northwest of the museum is a parking garage that is connected to the museum, making it easily accessible. However, if you choose to park at the museum, the cost ranges from $10 to $22, depending on how many hours you stay at the museum.

Public transportation – namely the T (or subway) – makes getting around Boston super easy and inexpensive. Plus, the T has a stop right next to the museum. You can access the T from in and around Boston, so if you’re staying at a hotel, leave the car there and take the T to the Museum of Science. You could also look at taking a taxi or a car-sharing service like Uber or Lyft.

Make a Plan: Check Live Presentation Times

Before you enter the main museum, stop at the information booth and grab a map. You’ll find a list of showtimes, live presentations and drop-in activities. You’ll want to make a list of the ones you want to check out, then fill in the vacancies in your schedule with the other exhibits in the museum.

In my opinion, if you miss the Lightning! show, you’ll have missed something that will have you and your kids talking for years to come. At the end of the Blue Wing, you’ll find the Theater of Electricity, which features two large towers with large balls on top. It’s known as a Van de Graaff generator, which was built in the 1930s by the inventor of the generator, Robert Van de Graaff.

You’ll also notice other neat items around the room, including some Tesla coils. In the video above, you can see the magic of what can be done when you create electricity and control how fast or how slow it vibrates – you get music!

At one point, the presenter gets into a large metal bird cage and gets a close encounter with some bolts of lighting. In short – be sure to check out the Lightning! show.

Carltonaut's Travel Tips Museum of Science Boston Apollo command module space NASA

Explore the Blue Wing

The Blue Wing has three levels of things to explore. My favorite was on the bottom floor, but that’s because I’m a little bit of a space nerd. I was able to climb inside a life-sized Apollo command module to see just how much (or how little) room three astronauts had on the way to the moon. There was also a Mercury capsule nearby so you could see the size difference between the two space program capsules.

If dinosaurs are your thing, visit the exhibit across the hall and look up at Tyrannosaurus Rex. There are fossils from other prehistoric creatures there as well.

The second floor offers numerous hands-on exhibits. I was able to play with shadows to determine proportions, clicking wheels to understand circumferences, and how models are used in the invention of new products and ideas. My kids would’ve loved playing with the exhibits – and I saw a lot of school group kids doing just that.

The third floor features a Butterfly Garden, but that is an extra admission charge. The other exhibits include the science around homes – including how a toilet flushes – and equipment at a park that help you understand science better. But don’t miss the Seeing is Deceiving exhibit across the way. I enjoyed seeing the pulsing rectangle and the two faces having a conversation.

Carltonaut's Travel Tips Museum of Science Boston Hall of Human Life interactive exhibits body

Learn About Human Life in the Green Wing

From the third floor, make your way to the Hall of Human Life. The whole area is full of interactive exhibits that are sure to interest people of all ages. I saw some kids shoving allergens (like pollen) up a giant nostril to understand how the nose works. I also saw a heart and pair of lungs from a pig that a docent was inflating to help people understand how those two organs work together.

Don’t forget to grab a little piece of paper with a number on it that you scan at many of the exhibits. When your done, you’ll be able to look up your results online and know how efficient your stride is, how healthy you eat, and so many other things.

There’s even an active beehive inside the museum. You can look through the clear Plexiglas and watch the bees climbing in and out of the honeycomb structure, then flying out the hole to gather more pollen from across Boston.

The Hall of Human Life is another one of the MUST-SEE elements of the Museum of Science.

Carltonaut's Travel Tips Museum of Science Boston planetarium

The Planetarium and the Red Wing

Before stepping out of the Blue or Green Wing, you’ll want to get your hand stamped so you don’t have issues as you move throughout the museum.

The Red Wing features the Charles Hayden Planetarium, but that is an additional cost. There is also the Mugar Omni Theater, which is an IMAX dome screen, but that is also an additional cost.

Outside of those added-cost areas, there are a few things to know about the Red Wing.

  1. It’s where you’ll find the gift shop, which is full of books, science kits, toys, stuffed animals and other souvenirs.
  2. The Riverview Cafe offers you a break for lunch. No food or drink is allowed in the exhibit halls.
  3. There is a stairway that plays a different note on each step. So take a moment to walk up and down the stairs.
  4. Next to the stairway is a tall structure with large balls making their way around tracks and making sounds of various types.
  5. The Discovery Center is reserved for the smallest kids and they must be accompanied by an adult.

Carltonaut's Travel Tips Museum of Science Boston tyrannosaurus Rex dinosaur

Looking for something to do outside of Boston? Here’s your guide to exploring Cape Cod.

The Details

Address: 1 Science Park, Boston, Massachusetts, 02114

Parking: Just to the northwest of the museum is a parking structure. Payment for parking is by credit or debit card only. If you’re staying in the city, consider using the T (subway system) to save some money on parking. Or enjoy a nice stroll across Boston – since walking is free!

Cost: Tickets to the Museum of Science are organized in three types: the Exhibit Halls ($20-$25), the Planetarium ($8-$10) or the Omni ($8-$10). If you purchase a full price ticket to ONE of those places, you can then purchase add-on tickets to one of the other attractions at the museum.

Hours: Open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; on Fridays it’s open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Website: https://www.mos.org

Phone: (617) 723-2500

Need a snack in Boston? Here’s why you should pick up a Boston Kreme donut… as well as a little tutorial on how to eat it.

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What to Expect at the Museum of Science in Boston

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