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  • Discovery Center

    © Michael Malyszko

    Girl in the Discovery Center
  • © Michael Malyszko

    Group in the Discovery Center
  • © Nicolaus Czarnecki

    Boy in the Discovery Center

Permanent Exhibit - On Exhibit

Discovery Center

Designed for children from infancy to age eight and their accompanying grownups, the Discovery Center offers an assortment of fun, hands-on activities that are designed to encourage discovery through play. An ideal area for early learners, this educational environment emphasizes the use of real objects and has an extensive teaching collection for exploring natural history, physical science, and technology topics.

A core staff of interpreters enhances the learning process by inspiring curiosity and wonder. Young scientists can put an animal skeleton together, touch a real fossil, or observe a variety of live animals up close. The "Experiment Station" offers a rotating schedule of science experiments and engineering challenges, and "Discovery Boxes" offer families with young children an in-depth exploration of specific science topics.

The exhibit is also a unique venue for examining how young children and their caregivers learn from each other through inquiry and play. The Discovery Center collaborates with researchers from MIT and Harvard University to bring current research in cognitive development into the exhibit.

The Discovery Center is typically open daily, 10:00 am - 4:45 pm, and until 7:30 pm on Friday evenings. Hours are subject to change and may be extended during the summer and school vacation weeks; please view the Hours page for details.


Red Wing, Level 1. Find on map

Free with Exhibit Halls admission. Purchase Exhibit Halls tickets:


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  • Multisensory Interactives
  • Open Captioning
  • Staffed Area
  • Wheelchair Accessible