Feb 5, 2011

Detroit Science Center

Chancellor and I took Rosa to the Detroit Science Center this past Friday.  I had heard some great things about it from some friends and we were excited to check it out.  We used a coupon from the Entertainment Book to get 50% off of our tickets.  The cost of admission is normally $13.95 and Rosa was free.

I should say that had we gone without Rosa, we would have been much more impressed with our visit.  Most of the science center has been updated tremendously since our last visit, which has been about ten years or so.  But, the case this day was we were looking for something that Rosa would enjoy.  At nineteen months old, we both felt that the Detroit Science Center paled in comparison to the Ann Arbor Hands on Museum.

We looked around the Science Center a bit before we headed to the Kids Town exhibit which is designed specifically for children under the age of five.  The design of the space is impressive.  It has a shop like feel that reminds me of the basement of the Detroit Historical Museum.  The exhibit has many different mini exhibits including a diner, an art studio, a infant/toddler playroom, a ball room, a vet room, a library, a stage and the main section where the water fountain is.

The diner was really interesting.  I'm sure that Rosa will enjoy this when she gets a little older.  She might have enjoyed it if other children were in the area, but as it was, we were the only family in the exhibit for the duration of our stay.  There was play food, a place to sit or cook, play menus and more.  I can see how this room could really spark the imagination of preschool children.

The next room was the infant and toddler room, or The Wiggly Worm.  It wasn't very inviting.  All the toys in the room heaped into a pile.  I couldn't even get Rosa to go in there.  But again, I'm sure she might have tried it if someone else was in there.

The Field House was a great hit with Rosa.  She loves playing with balls and this room was filled with them.  She spent some time throwing them, rolling them and playing with the bowling pins.  She was also amazed by the Bernoulli machine that blew air up and could make a ball float in the air.  I really liked how they had netting at the entrance to this room to keep the balls contained.

Happy Tails in the name of the Veterinary exhibit.  There were stuffed animals in cages along one wall, toy vet items, an x-ray viewer, two live turtles and two other live animals.  Rosa really enjoyed watching the turtle swim in the water.  She also played with some of the stuffed animals.  This is another great room for preschoolers who are able to pretend.

Rosa didn't even visit the library, but I did see that it was filled with plenty of great books, a comfy place to sit and some computers.

I was disappointed that she didn't want to check out the Center Stage exhibit either.  They had  a firefighter theme in there.  Dress up clothes, ride on trucks and more.  But Rosa was more interested in the water.

We also missed the Art Station, which had a child sized table with dinosaurs on it and children's art displayed on the walls.

Rosa spent most of the time in the main area which they call the Town Commons.  There is a four section water fountain that she just loved playing with.  The first section had a frog with a piece of plastic piping that you could attach to one of the spouts to get the water to flow.  The second section had plastic dividers you could move to make a maze for the water to flow through.  The third section was a pool that had ping pong balls in it and a large screw machine that you could spin to move the water from this section to the last section which was a fountain that had a funnel at the bottom that led to the third section.  Rosa spent most of her time playing with the clear ping pong balls, catching them in the third tub and putting them into the last one.

Since the Imax movie was included with the price of the admission we decided to watch their movie about animals.  Rosa was really impressed with the light show, but as far as the movie, she was content just to be cuddling with me and didn't really show much interest.  As an adult, I thought the movie was very silly and there was little educational value as there was facts intermingled with silly and I'm not sure that younger children would be able to determine the difference.  For instance, they had a whole section where a lion was singing an opera song.

Overall, I'm sure I would have been much more impressed if I had not experienced the Hands on Museum in Ann Arbor.  I felt like she would have gotten much more out of the experience had she not been the only one there or if she was a little older.  I'm sure we will go back and get a membership, but I'm going to wait at least another year.

 I think it is a great place to visit.  They have a lot of fun things to do and could easily keep preschool children busy for hours.

Metro Detroit Mommy Writer: