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  • Discovery Center

    The Discovery Center offers an assortment of fun, hands-on activities that are designed to encourage discovery through play.

    © Carol Martin

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  • © Carol Martin

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  • © Carol Martin

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Discovery Center

Permanent Exhibit

Designed for children from infancy to age eight and their accompanying grownups, the Discovery Center is an ideal area for early learners. Our teaching staff emphasize the use of real objects and age-appropriate tools, with an extensive natural history teaching collection and an assortment of fun, hands-on science, math, and engineering activities. A core staff of interpreters enhances the learning process by inspiring curiosity and supporting exploration. Young scientists can assemble a skeleton, touch real fossils, and 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 Discovery Center is a unique venue for examining how young children learn through inquiry and play activities, and the essential role of caregivers and other adults in children's learning processes. Our educators collaborate with local researchers  from Boston University, Boston College, Tufts University, MIT, Northeastern University and other institutions    to share current research in children’s cognitive, emotional, and social development through our Living Laboratory® program. 

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 (see “Hours for Other Venues”) for details.

Please Note: the Discovery Center has a limited capacity. On busy holiday and vacation days, wait times for entry can reach up to an hour. Try visiting after 3:00 pm during busy school vacation days or rainy days to ensure access to your favorite activities. The Discovery Center's "Experiment Station" sometimes closes earlier than the rest of the exhibit during vacation weeks and holidays.


Current activities in rotation include:

  • Archaeology Excavation Excavate unknown objects, map the "artifacts" you find, or piece together the remains of broken plates, cups, and other objects.
  • Bubble-ology Using a variety of simple tools and materials, design your own experiments to learn about bubbles.
  • Capillary Action Butterflies Create a model of a butterfly using coffee filters, markers, water, and pipe cleaners. 
  • Copter Engineering Use paper, scissors, and paper clips to create and test a prototype, set a goal, and change one variable at a time.
  • Fingerprint Detectives Collect and analyze evidence by comparing the shapes and patterns found in your fingerprints to common patterns.
  • Hoop Glider Engineering Explore being an engineer by building and testing a hoop glider prototype. 
  • Owl Pellet Dissection Practice your observation and classification skills, all while learning about animals that are quite different from themselves.
  • Paper Bridge Engineering Test your engineering design skills by building and testing your own paper bridge. 
  • Recycled Paper Engineering Become a manufacturing engineer as you learn about recycling and make your very own paper. 
  • Secret Messages Uncover the best combination of materials to write and de-code your own “invisible” messages.
  • Slime Chemistry Create your own slime by exploring two chemical solutions and mixing them together. 

 

The Discovery Center is celebrating its 25th Anniversary! Click here to learn more.

 

Location

Red Wing, Level 1. Find on map

Free with Exhibit Halls admission or membership. Purchase Exhibit Halls tickets:

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Accessibility:

  • Wheelchair Accessible
  • Staffed Area
  • Open Captioning
  • Multisensory Interactives
  • For information about accessibility in the Museum: mos.org/accessibility. For questions or accommodation requests: 617-589-3102, accessibility@mos.org. Please request ASL interpeters at least two weeks in advance.