eK-3zmjBImBHOZjRJYEZVBw4ZWs Shaky Mommy: McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL - Our Review

Sunday, November 27, 2011

McWane Science Center, Birmingham, AL - Our Review

I love children's museums. I think they are so much fun for kids, and I must be right because my kids love to visit them as well. If you have one in your area, you should check it out. We do not have a children's museum in our area, but we do have a science museum, the McWane Science Center in Birmingham, AL, that is about an hour away from us. We are very lucky in that the McWane Center also has several features that many children's museums also have, so it is both fun and educational.

There are four levels to the McWane Center, plus an IMAX theater. Level 1 features simple machines such as pulleys and levers, as well as other physical science exhibits. There is also a bubble lab, a distortion room, an area for building and creating, and many other exhibits. There is a special area for kids under 5 called Just Mice Size that features a climbing area with slides, water and sand play areas, dress up center, pretend store with play food, reading and puzzle areas, and a special soft play area for little babies. There is also a quiet room for nursing mothers in this area.

Water play area - this was probably his favorite area!
Bubble Lab
The second level features (among other things) a simulator that produces hurricane force winds, a weather center where kids can broadcast their own reports, and a huge dinosaur exhibit, complete with a site where kids can "excavate" bones. 

Hurricane Simulator
The third level is my favorite. The exhibits here are changed out every so often. The current featured exhibit consists of several huge layouts of model trains. Jaxon surprised me by being very interested in the model trains - check out the look on his face here as he was watching them. I love that little smile :)

A recurring exhibit that my kids love is called "Itty Bitty Magic City" which features things like a supermarket for kids to shop and play cashier. The area is has lots of play food, shopping carts, a conveyor belt and pulley for moving food, a miniature golf course, and giant building materials to construct "houses" and other buildings.

I love the third level because it's very open. I can sit in the infant/toddler play area on this level (which is filled with soft foam pieces that babies and toddlers love to crawl and climb on) and still be able to see the other kids playing and running around. On this level there is also a keyboard you can walk on, a gigantic Lite Brite, and some interactive projections on the wall. 
Let a butterfly land on your shoulder! 
Catch the falling money!
We also love the lower level. This is where the aquariums are. You can pet sting rays and sharks and see all kinds of other sea life. One time when we were there, the kids were allowed to hold a shark egg! We usually spend at least 45 minutes down there petting the sharks & rays. 

Admission is $12 for adults and $9 for kids and well worth it. However, a family membership is only $90 and gives you access for a year, free parking, discounts on IMAX movies, and more. With our family size, membership paid for itself after 2 visits. There is a cafe onsite featuring a Subway, Pizza Hut, and Red Mango - you can also buy items such as hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, and pasta at reasonable prices. 

Connect with the McWane Center at www.McWane.org

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