I know, we are finally covering the Arizona Science Center? What took us so long? Hahaha. The Science Center is huge and there are lots of nooks and crannies to get into! And I’ll be honest, some of the exhibits are great for little kids and some are just really not. But, there is plenty to do that will keep the kids occupied for a couple of cool hours!
The best place to park is what we have to talk about first, because the entrance to the museum is a bit decieving as the address is on Washington Street, but the entrance is in Heritage Square. The easiest place to park is in the parking garage on Fifth Street. Covered parking and you can get your ticket validated for a lower cost to park. Just be warned, the elevator in the parking garage is a bit hot and stuff in the summer. Here’s a map! Yes, there is a Sixth street in the middle, but usually it’s blocked off unless there are special events. Sorry!
You’ll see that when you exit into the square, there is the Rosson House Museum and a few eateries around the area, as well as ASU buildings right across Monroe Street. There is a little bit of street parking there as well, with parking meters. The max you can stay in those spots is 2 hours, however.
The building doesn’t have anything that screams “AZ Science Center” from far away, but that is the building!
After you go down the very long ramp (watch out if one of your little ones is pushing another little one in the stroller, runaway!!) you will see the cafe ahead of you and you’ll pass the gift shop as well. I really like how its laid out. The gift shop and the cafe are both enclosed unto themselves. We have eaten at the cafe twice and it is pretty good. Not the cheapest meal you will get, but kid and adult friendly options.
Here is the entry area. There is some for general admission and another line for members. At the entrance they will ask you if you want to pay extra for the planetarium or the Imax (we have done neither yet, as the kids don’t sit still so well!).
This room says “Family Restroom” on the side of the door and “quiet room” on the door. You have to ask for the key from the membership line. I’m guessing they have changed it into a nursing room.
The outdoor water area is really fun. It’s shaded pretty well in the morning, but the afternoon sun gets to it. We have done it before and my kids were soaked. Best to do this last and have a change of clothes in the car.
This is the “Home” display. These soft foam builders are great for little ones to build with or just flop in.
And in the same exhibit there is a nice little gated area with only one entrance/exit for your little ones who like to explore.
The first floor also has this fun exhibit with body parts and exploring the body. This is the stomach-it burps and farts and has a slide. My kids loved this one.
This was a fun balance thing as well. I went on it and it really felt strange.
This room is hard to keep an eye on multiple kids at once if they are going in different directions. It’s a huge room, so proceed with caution. There are also live shows (included in your admission) that go over different science things. We didn’t see any of the shows while we were there. Someday!!
On the way upstairs, if you take the stairs, there are a few “half way’ exhibits. One of them is music, and previous times we had been there, there was many more things to play with. The past times, the display was basically empty with nothing to do for the kids.
The second floor also has The Sky Bike (which I did-the kids were too small). A Mom has to have fun every once in a while. It is an additional fee if you are not a member, but each membership gets two free tries.
You are at least 20′ up in the air, but there is a net below you and you are strapped into the bike, into a harness and from the top. I really didn’t feel as unsteady as I thought. I recommend giving it a try!
The second floor has a lot of “physics” displays, including magnets, force and kinetic energy. My kids really love this room. I don’t want to ruin the surprise of it, so check it out yourself. Must see!
The third floor has technology room where kids can play with computers, “kick robots” and work with ham radios.
The weather/earth/planet exhibit is also on the six floor, and I love this. There is a short little film where you can “experience” the weather. All three of my kids loved it. It’s about 7 minutes long, but really fun.
Right next to this exhibit is the traveling exhibit, which usually costs an additional fee that you pay for before you enter. We haven’t done any of these exhibits because it really hasn’t seemed to be worthy of the cost for us ( my kids love to run around, push buttons and go onto the next thing). There are some great traveling exhibits that I have heard are great for little kids, but there have been some, like the human body (really human bodies) that I didn’t feel was appropriate for our kiddos.
The fourth floor has an APS solar energy exhibit, which we haven’t taken any pictures of, but it is fun.
If you are interested in seeing the IMAX video when you go, I recommend calling ahead to make sure that it will be available when you go. I overheard a person in front of me trying to get tickets, but unfortunately, it was booked for a private event.
There is also going to be CREATE which will be in the building to the north west of the science center. This building looks like it will be great for homeschoolers. Right now it is open weekends only for members, but will open for everyone on September 26th.
The AZ Science center is a lot of fun-plan on being there the whole day to check out all the displays, or get a membership so you can come and go after the little ones are tired after an hour or two. There is really a lot to experience. I love all the hands on stuff for kids big and little. And, if you are looking to go without the kids, they have adult only nights with cocktails and food! Check out their calendar for more details!
600 E Washington Street