STEAM-Inspired Museums & Play Places

by Liz Jones | March 16, 2018 3:00 pm


These local and regional museums, planetariums, and more allow kids to see STEAM principals — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics — up-close and in action!

Choose Your County/Area:
Arlington[1] | Fairfax[2] | Loudoun[3] | Prince William[4]

Other:
DC[5] | MD[6] | Regional[7]


Arlington County


David M. Brown Planetarium[8] | Arlington, VA
During the school year, the David M. Brown Planetarium hosts weekend public programs. Plus, throughout the year they offer special seasonal opportunities, too. Learn more and see the full schedule by visiting Friends of Arlington’s Planetarium here[9].

Arlington County Library Maker Opportunities
The Arlington County Library system offers a variety of STEAM-based events and drop-in opportunities at many of their branches. The calendar[10] has something for everyone!


Fairfax County


Children’s Science Center Lab[11] | Fairfax, VA
The Children’s Science Center Lab, which precedes The Children’s Science Center set to open in 2020, provides an educational and fun environment for families and kids of all ages via interactive exploration centers. The Lab, located inside of Fair Oaks Mall, is well-staffed with eager and attentive employees ready to help, educate, and encourage!

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center[12] | Chantilly, VA
The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, a Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, boasts two huge hangars that display thousands of aviation and space artifacts, as well as an IMAX Theater showing movies, including first-run and new releases! Plus, they have an observation tower, too, providing you a 360-degree bird’s-eye view of IAD. Like most Smithsonian museums, admission is free (parking is fee-based).


Loudoun County


Makerspaces at Loudoun County Libraries[13]
Libraries are centers of learning, creativity, community building, and innovation for the digital age. Loudoun County has opportunities for making, creating, and learning with Makerspaces at select locations, including Gum Spring (Aldie), Rust (Leesburg), and Sterling Libraries. Click here[14] to learn hours and information for each.


Prince William County


Irene V. Hylton Planetarium[15] | Woodbridge, VA
The planetarium at CD Hylton Senior High School, also known as the Skydome Planetarium, contains a star projector capable of projecting over 1.3k stars, the five visible eye planets, moon phasing, and more on a thirty-foot curved dome! Special effect projectors also create solar and lunar eclipses, aurora displays, and meteor showers, too. Visit them online[16] for special opportunities throughout the year, including their annual holiday laser shows.


Regional


Science Museum of Virginia[17] | Richmond, VA
The Science Museum of Virginia offers a day full of wonder and learning for both kids and adults alike. With historic architecture as its backdrop, this museum is full of innovative and cutting-edge exhibits and activities. The exhibits are intentionally designed to provoke creativity and expand your mind, all while learning about life around us — from animals and planets to bioethics and gravity.


Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum[18] | Winchester, VA
The Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in the heart of historic Winchester, VA is worth the drive for Northern Virginia families! This kid-focused museum features 3-stories of exhibits, each boasting loads of touch and play areas that encourage problem-solving, creative thinking, and collaboration. Best of all, the kids don’t know they are learning — they just think they’re having a great time!


More regional opportunities include:

Virginia Air and Space Center[19] | Hampton, VA
Children’s Museum of Virginia[20] | Portsmouth, VA
Virginia Air & Space Center[21] | Hampton, VA
Science Museum of Western Virginia[22] | Roanoke, VA
Virginia Discovery Museum[23] | Charlottesville, VA
Virginia Living Museum[24] | Newport News, VA
Virginia Museum of Natural History[25] | Martinsville, VA


Disclaimer/Terms[26]: These opportunities are subject to last minute cancellations and changes that might not be reflected in this DullesMoms.com post. Please, always confirm by calling/clicking.


These local and regional museums, planetariums, and more allow kids to see STEAM principals — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics — up-close and in action!

Choose Your County/Area:
Arlington[1] | Fairfax[2] | Loudoun[3] | Prince William[4]

Other:
DC[5] | MD | Regional[7]


Maryland


Arthur Storer Planetarium[27] | Frederick, MD
Visitors of all ages can visit this Planetarium located on Calvert High School’s grounds. During the school year, learn about the night sky during free informational and educational sessions.

Ausherman Planetarium[28] | Frederick, MD
Located at the Earth and Space Science Laboratory, the Ausherman Planetarium has a 35-foot dome built to amaze and educate stargazers young and old! Not only does this Chronos Hybrid planetarium system model the night sky, but it also displays 360-degree movies.

Banneker Planetarium[29] | Catonsville, MD
Although its usage has been primarily for college courses, the Banneker Planetarium also offers shows to the public and school groups throughout the year!

Discovery Station at Hagerstown[30] | Hagerstown, MD
The Discovery Station at Hagerstown’s goal is to promote informal learning about science, technology, and local history through exhibits and programs that are both educational and entertaining. Many of their exhibits are culturally rich and STEM-based. Kids won’t know the importance of each exhibit — they’ll just be excited to touch, feel, and play their way through the Museum’s 2-stories of fun!

Goddard Space Flight Center[31] | Greenbelt, MD
Activities, exhibits, and events at NASA Goddard Visitor Center provide inspiring and captivating educational experiences for all ages. Learn about climate change and tracking satellites, explore the mysteries of black holes, participate in the monthly rocket launch, and watch children transform into astronauts as they try on a kid-sized space suit. Have you ever watched a show on a 3D sphere with a six-foot diameter? Check out Science on a Sphere, as well as the Goddard Rocket Garden, which features a unique collection of actual space flight hardware and artifacts.

Howard B. Owens Science Center[32] | Lanham, MD
Operated by the Prince George’s County Public School System, the largest planetarium in Maryland offers a variety of shows for public viewing throughout the year.

Kids International Discovery Museum[33] | Bethesda, MD
Kids International Discovery Museum at Davis Library in Bethesda, MD offers fun, interactive programs for elementary- and middle school-aged children. Featuring hands-on experiences that highlight science, technology, culture, engineering, art, and math, the Kids International Discovery Museum is a truly enjoyable educational experience!

Maryland Science Center[34] | Baltimore, MD
The Maryland Science Center is another must-visit for anyone in our region. This science-inspired museum encourages a lot of touching — perfect for children and families. The 170,000-square-foot space boasts many fun permanent exhibits like Newton’s Alley (a kinetic, hands-on exhibit powered by you), Cells: The Universe Inside Us (zoom into your own body to see the different cells that make up your heart, brain, and bones), Dinosaur Mysteries (a landscape filled with more than 1-dozen life-size dinosaurs), and much more!

William M. Brish Planetarium[35] | Hagerstown, MD
Operated by the Washington County Public Schools System, the William M. Brish Planetarium shows programs for public viewing on select days throughout the year.


Disclaimer/Terms[26]: These opportunities are subject to last minute cancellations and changes that might not be reflected in this DullesMoms.com post. Please, always confirm by calling/clicking.


These local and regional museums, planetariums, and more allow kids to see STEAM principals — science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics — up-close and in action!

Choose Your County/Area:
Arlington[1] | Fairfax[2] | Loudoun[3] | Prince William[4]

Other:
DC | MD[6] | Regional[7]


Washington, DC


Q?rius? at National Museum of Natural History[36]
Designed with younger children mind, this interactive space is for ages 10 and under. Visitors can explore a variety of museum artifacts, such as butterfly wings, rocks, or minerals, using a microscope! Little ones can also examine a full-size replica of a human skeleton, try on traditional clothing from around the world, or search for plants and animals on the biodiversity wall!

Rock Creek Park Nature Center & Planetarium[37]
There are plenty of free programs for children and adults at the Rock Creek Park Nature Center and Planetarium, operated by the National Park Service. The Planetarium boasts educational shows and opportunities for audiences of all ages, including Seasonal Night Sky, Exploring the Universe, and more. They use high-tech Spitz software to project the image of the night sky onto a large, dome-shaped ceiling and experienced rangers lead you on a journey of exploration into our solar system, galaxy, and beyond!

Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum[38]
The 1903 Wright Flyer, Lindbergh’s Spirit of St. Louis, Apollo 11’s command module Columbia, and a lunar rock are just a few of the thousands of objects on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum on the National Mall. Stop by the public observatory to look through high-powered telescopes and see craters on the moon or spots on the sun (click here[39] for stargazing opportunities). Flight simulators, planetarium viewing, and IMAX Theater presentations are an extra cost, but worth the splurge.

Draper Spark!Lab at National Museum of American History[40]
The Spark!Lab is where museum visitors ages 6 to 12 become inventors! Children are invited to create, collaborate, explore, test, experiment, and invent. Activities for children and families incorporate traditional science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) with art, museum, and creativity. Spark!Lab activities are designed around themes that connect to museum collections and exhibitions; themes change on a regular basis ensuring that regular visitors have something new to explore.


Disclaimer/Terms[26]: These opportunities are subject to last minute cancellations and changes that might not be reflected in this DullesMoms.com post. Please, always confirm by calling/clicking.

#Guide

Endnotes:
  1. Arlington: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/#Arlington
  2. Fairfax: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/#Fairfax
  3. Loudoun: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/#Loudoun
  4. Prince William: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/#PWC
  5. DC: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/3/
  6. MD: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/2/
  7. Regional: http://dullesmoms.com/steam/#Regional
  8. David M. Brown Planetarium: http://www.apsva.us/planetarium
  9. here: http://friendsoftheplanetarium.org/
  10. calendar: https://library.arlingtonva.us/calendar/?event_category=Maker
  11. Children’s Science Center Lab: http://childsci.org/lab/
  12. Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/udvar-hazy-center/
  13. Makerspaces at Loudoun County Libraries: https://library.loudoun.gov/Services/Makerspace
  14. here: https://library.loudoun.gov/Services/Makerspace
  15. Irene V. Hylton Planetarium: http://www.hyltonplanetarium.com/
  16. online: http://www.hyltonplanetarium.com/
  17. Science Museum of Virginia: http://www.smv.org/
  18. Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum: http://www.discoverymuseum.net/
  19. Virginia Air and Space Center: http://www.vasc.org/
  20. Children’s Museum of Virginia: http://www.childrensmuseumva.com/
  21. Virginia Air & Space Center: http://www.vasc.org/
  22. Science Museum of Western Virginia: http://smwv.org/
  23. Virginia Discovery Museum: http://www.vadm.org/
  24. Virginia Living Museum: http://thevlm.org/
  25. Virginia Museum of Natural History: http://www.vmnh.net/
  26. Terms: http://dullesmoms.com/terms-conditions/
  27. Arthur Storer Planetarium: https://sites.google.com/site/paulasaupairs/area-attractions-places-to-visit/maryland-counties-cities/calvert/arthur-storer-planetarium
  28. Ausherman Planetarium: https://education.fcps.org/essl/
  29. Banneker Planetarium: http://www.ccbcmd.edu/Programs-and-Courses/Schools-and-Academic-Departments/School-of-Mathematics-and-Science/Banneker-Planetarium.aspx
  30. Discovery Station at Hagerstown: http://discoverystation.org/
  31. Goddard Space Flight Center: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/goddard/visitor/home/index.html
  32. Howard B. Owens Science Center: http://www1.pgcps.org/howardbowens/wipage.aspx?Pageid=178442&id=197933
  33. Kids International Discovery Museum: http://kid-museum.org/
  34. Maryland Science Center: http://www.mdsci.org/
  35. William M. Brish Planetarium: http://wbplanetarium.weebly.com/
  36. Q?rius? at National Museum of Natural History: https://qrius.si.edu/
  37. Rock Creek Park Nature Center & Planetarium: http://www.nps.gov/rocr/planyourvisit/planetarium.htm
  38. Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum: http://airandspace.si.edu/visit/mall/
  39. here: https://airandspace.si.edu/visit/events?tid=All&term_node_tid_depth%5B%5D=157
  40. Draper Spark!Lab at National Museum of American History: http://americanhistory.si.edu/exhibitions/sparklab

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