We’re big STEM fans at Cool Mom Tech (no surprise there), and in fact, we started this site in part to help give parents more resources and opportunities to get their kids interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. However, while we love all of the science apps, educational YouTube channels, and coding toys we’ve featured, there’s nothing quite like the hands-on experience of taking your family to a science center or a science Museum.
This is why we are so happy that our recent sponsor Frito-Lay 2 Go has partnered with the incredible organization, the Association of Science-Technology Centers (ASTC), to make it easier for families to get to their local science museum with the free kids pass you get with the purchase of a Frito-Lay 2 Go Variety Pack.
To help you choose a destination (well, one to start at least), we’ve put together our list of the 7 best science museums for kids across the country that we really love, selected from over 600 ASTC member museums. They can even be the kind of places you already go to when you have a family day out.
Best of all, your kids can totally enjoy one of them for free, right now. We love free!
Located in the heart of downtown Philadelphia, the Franklin Institute (also shown at the very top) not only has 12 permanent exhibition galleries (including the ever-popular Giant Heart) that teach kids everything from electricity to the body. human, but their special exhibits are not to be missed. We recently saw the LEGO Art of the Brick exhibit with our own kids, and now you can see the very cool The science behind Pixar that gets kids excited about the science and technology that Pixar computer scientists use to help make the movies your kids might recognize.
Focused on the science of nature and wildlife, CurioOdyssey is a firm favorite with Bay Area parents, giving kids a chance to learn through play, through tons of exhibits and interactive experiences. . It is one of the few centers that offers children a close-up view of native California animals. And because it’s about practice rather than not, it’s a great place to get kids to release some of that summer energy.
So you thought the science museums in New York were just the American Museum of Natural History? While surely one of our favorites, the Intrepid is unlike anything else. Kids go crazy hanging out in a real aircraft carrier, then discover 28 authentically restored airplanes and jets of all kinds, while exploring a real submarine. A highlight though is the Space Shuttle Pavilion featuring the Enterprise Space Shuttle, which, come on – what kid wouldn’t love that? Lots of opportunities to touch, click, steer here, including an XD theater experience and a G-force simulator for older kids.
Founded in 1825, this indoor-outdoor science museum is worth a short trip west on the Mass Pike if you’re in the Boston area. It’s about learning more hands-on for kids, with science, nature and animal exhibits like DinoTracks and The Water Planet. There really is something for everyone here, including a planetarium which is always guaranteed to mesmerize our own children. And because it spans 55 acres of land including woods, ponds, meadows, and swamps, you’re bound to see tons of New England wildlife in their own natural habitat.
About the ASTC Fund-a-Bus program
One of the things we love about this partnership is that Frito-Lay 2 Go helps fund the awesome Fund-A-Bus mini-grant program which provides transport for children in underserved communities, to help them also get to their own local science museums. We are all for anything that gives every child an equal chance to access the STEM educational opportunities that surround them.
Educators can contact their local ASTC member institution to find out more about school programs.
Chosen as America’s No.1 Science Center a few years ago by Parents Magazine, there’s no shortage of remarkable experiences here for kids of all ages. (This includes teens and adults, for that matter – hey, we’re kids at heart!) Rather than acting as a stand-alone science center, COSI has formed partnerships that provide guests with opportunities like Little Kid. Space and Camp-ins, and COSI after dark, a fun thriller adventure for adults. Surely a ton of kids will have the next one Exhibition of the masters of the game on their wish lists for the summer. And we really love that they are working with autism experts and organizations to create exhibits and resources like a Calming Room, which make the museum more inclusive for children with sensory sensitivities.
While they do a ton for local students in the county (like an elementary school science Olympiad), there is also plenty for visitors. Events and exhibits include affordable planetarium shows and a science night filled with STEM activities for kids.
(Note: it should not be confused with the Fernbank Natural History Museum which is also great – although not a member of ASTC.)
Photo: Daniel Friedman
It’s an amazing center for toddlers, but a treat for those of us with tweens and teens, who can be a bit reluctant at times to go on family outings. Their new Teen Science Scene is specifically aimed at ages 13-17 and features topics such as roller coaster engineering, DNA forensics, and cooking science. They also won’t want to miss a chance to ride the Evans Family Skycycle on a tightrope (eep) above the ground! If you can get there before May 15, you can also attend the popular Popnology exhibit, revealing the scientific facts behind science fiction. Is it fun?
Many thanks to our sponsor Frito-Lay 2 Go for giving families more opportunities to get children interested in STEM. To get your free kid pass, look for specially marked Variety Packs that feature an Astronaut, Robot, or Dinosaur! Instructions for redeeming are marked on the bag, but you can get more information and find the participating science museum near you at FritoLay2Go.com.
And hey! Watch a clip of our conversation with NBC affiliate WCNC Charlotte Today about how to get your kids interested in STEM, as well as other information on the ASTC and Frito Lay 2 Go partnership.