The biggest and best science museums in America provide what others cannot: MASSIVE EXPLORATION! We're talking huge educational opportunities that your kids are going to love, not to mention a chance to make real-world, hands-on, completely interactive connections outside of the classroom. (You're welcome, teachers!)
- Smithsonian Air and Space Museum - Washington D.C
760,000 Square Feet
One of the overall largest science museums in America is located in the capital, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. While the exhibition space sits at
160,000 square feet, the additional annex of hangar space at Dulles International Airport adds a whopping 700,000 square feet. Inside your group will learn all about space and flight, with history and artifacts abound inside. Explore the past and future of flight and space exploration through exhibits and artifacts, learn all about various aircraft by walking through the hangar, and even see such unbelievable additions as the 1903 Wright brothers’ airplane, the Spirit of St. Louis, and the Apollo 11 command module. This is a true Smithsonian science museum to the T, our #1 option for biggest (and best) science centers across America.
- California Science Center - Los Angeles
425,000 Square Feet
The California Science Center is no doubt one of the biggest and best science centers in America, standing at a massive 425,000 square feet. Here, in LA, your group can discover everything from the cells of the human body to the largest stars in space. There are several permanent and traveling exhibits to explore during your trip, making this a premier attraction for groups seeking a highly educational and interactive experience. Save time for the River Zone, Forest Zone, and Extreme Zone, as well as the IMAX and countless live shows and demos. There are children’s learning zones as well as more advanced high school and adult learning zones to ensure everyone has an enjoyable science center experience, just make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes so you can see it all!
- Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago
400,000 Square Feet
Most certainly one of the most highly respected and visited science museums in the United States comes in next at #3, the venerable Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Open since 1933, this science center has seen over 180 million guests, each eager to explore the entirety of this 400,000 square foot museum. Labeled as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of Chicago’ and at one time the largest science museum in the entire Western Hemisphere, this educational hotspot holds over 35,000 artifacts including hands-on activities, interactive experiences, and impressive displays. This gem of a museum sits in Hyde Park, on Museum Campus near Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium, making a convenient and educational spot to visit overall in Chicago. Before you go be sure to see the U-505 Submarine, the Baby Chick Hatchery, and the Mirror Maze!
- Exploratorium - San Francisco
330,000 Square Feet
Another California massive science center gem sits in San Francisco and goes by the telling name of Exploratorium. This is seriously one of the biggest and best science museums to explore, the entire establishment was known as a scientific funhouse and experimental lab. There is so much to do inside, with over 1000 participatory exhibits and demos spanning over 330,000 square feet of museum space. Grab a map and try to see it all, some of the most popular attractions including the topics of triboluminescence, life in galaxies far far away, and even natural disasters. How could you say no to that? There is also an onsite cafe to spend some time in, the food delicious and the waterfront views even better!
- Michigan Science Center -Detroit
110,000 Square FeetHoused in the former Detroit Science Center building, the Michigan Science Center is one of the most fun and most educational science museums in America. There are countless interactive exhibits within, a planetarium, regularly scheduled live demonstrations, and even an onsite store and cafe. This museum not only provides an entertaining place to explore, but also one of the most educational with several specific curriculum standards met within the museum. Did we mention the dome theater, planetarium, and over 250 hands-on exhibits? This is a truly great science stop to make, just be sure you save enough time to see it all, especially the Motion Gallery and Spark!Lab! Visit the website for details on hours.
- McWane Science Center - Birmingham
200,000 Square FeetMcWane Science Center has always been a highly respected and well recognized U.S science center, a Birmingham educationally shining gem that allows visitors to explore almost everything on natural science and biology! Rapidly growing in popularity after opening in 1998, this center provides guests with an IMAX, several interactive exhibits, an on-site space center, and even various dinosaur fossils, all within a massive 4-story venue. The entire collection typically takes guests about 3 hours to see, each floor providing something new and interesting such as the Shark and Ray Touch Tanks, the Bubble Room, or the Nature Scope. There is a 280 seat theater to explore Wild Africa in, as well as a new ‘itty bitty Magic City’ children’s learning section. Don’t forget to stop at Smart Cafe before you go, or even the good sized Museum Store.
- Academy of Natural Science - PhiladelphiaIn Philly, you will find out #8 choice for biggest and best science museums in America, the Academy of Natural Science. Within the confines of this museum, your group will find a massive learning center full of exhibits, events, and exciting programs. Get plenty of sleep the night before to have the energy to see it all during your visit, the Fossil Prep Lab and Butterfly Gardens both highly popular exhibits within. Student educational programs and outdoor exploration make this spot so unique, and the huge Dinosaur Hall and Science at the Academy exhibits only add to both the size and educational value. Though it ranks at #9 this is one of our overall personal favorites for student groups, the area surrounding also full of so many more educational opportunities.
- Great Lakes Science Center - Cleveland
70,000 Square Feet
The 70,000 square feet Great Lakes Science Center brings up the bottom of our list as one of the biggest and best, this learning center is known as one of Cleveland’s, and the nation's, most entertaining and educational science centers. See hundreds of fascination hands-on exhibits within, enjoy live demonstrations, and even visit the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Sometimes called an ‘amusement park for the mind, this spot allows guests of all ages to have fun and truly learn a lot. Before you go be sure to check out the Apollo Command Module as well as the Strange Science show, both really excellent choices within this sprawling Cleveland museum.