Hands-on Learning at Science Museum Oklahoma
Raise your hand if you have a magical memory of the Oklahoma City Omniplex as a kid! I do! The place now known as Science Museum Oklahoma still exists with some of its original attractions, plus many new things in the decades since VHS tapes and CDs were a thing. You should visit with your family if you haven’t.
We’ve visited a few times in the past several years. Each time it brings back memories from when I was a kid, I see it through fresh kid eyes, and I learn something new. It is a triple win. One of the best things about the museum is its hands-on approach to learning for all ages. You can look around and find toddlers and teens having an equal amount of fun. If you have a child that is not interested in science, I think there is a high likelihood their attitude will change after visiting this wonderland.
Science Museum Oklahoma is part of Oklahoma City’s Adventure District, which includes other attractions such as the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and OKC Zoo. The drive is about an hour and a half from Tulsa. Sometimes I hear people casually mentioning that they are heading to the Adventure District for the day. Beware though that Science Museum Oklahoma alone could tie up a large part of a day, if not your whole day depending on the ages of children and how many are in your group. There is simply so much to do there!
Here are a few of our favorite things about Science Museum Oklahoma:
The Science Floor
The main science floor provides hundreds of activities for the family. If you can think of a science topic, you can find something to satisfy your curiosity here. This one expansive area could easily take an hour or longer to go through if you visit everything. There are many things that feel (and are) so big, which earns the immediate wow factor. A miniature hot air balloon, tornado simulation, and Shadow Stopper are several of our favorites in the main floor area.
Elementary-aged kids especially enjoy the GadgetTrees area, also located on the first floor. This area bears the appearance of treehouses. This imaginative land contains machines that kids must use to get the full fun effect. You’ll find kids moving themselves up in chairs using a pulley and trying to make a ball fly with force and air. It is magical watching this area as an adult, and I cannot imagine how giant the treehouse must feel for kids. It is often one of the first places children are drawn to when they enter the museum, for obvious reasons.
The area I find most intriguing and wish existed when I was a child is called CurioCity. In this tiny village-like setting, one can truly get lost in a world of science. There are eight uniquely themed neighborhoods within this 20,000 square foot space. One of the most spectacular parts is the Odd-A-See Tower, which is a tall play space where young kids can adventure in safety. This one area alone could require a 30-minute stop!
Another one of our favorite “neighborhoods” in CurioCity is Wunderground, which is an exciting spot for water play in what feels like a cave. Don’t worry – it isn’t an indoor splash pad, so your child will not get completely soaked. There are moving and trickling water features with some optical illusions that stop and make you think. There is also a dinosaur dig in this area for little paleontologists.
Science Live Shows
Exhausted because your kid won’t stop running around the huge museum? There is a solution. Science Museum Oklahoma offers Science Live Shows in their auditorium on the first floor. Depending on the time and day of the week, they put on a Weather Show, Explosions Show, and Scientist’s Choice show. We’ve attended the Explosions Show before and, just like all things at Science Museum Oklahoma, it was engaging and had all of the kids in the audience on the edge of their seats. Consider planning your day around a show you might want to attend. The Science Live show days and times are available here.
There is much more at the museum than I listed here including a planetarium and aviation gallery. The list goes on. Food is also available on site so there is no need to leave the museum and come back later. For the full scoop on attractions, hours, and other details visit the Science Museum Oklahoma website. There is an admission fee for ages 3 and over.