Are you looking for a fun and educational experience in Springfield, Missouri? Our family of five just visited Springfield.
Discovery Center ended up being somewhere we went to twice on our short trip because the kids wanted to go back.
So what is The Discovery Center? We created this review to help visitors know what to expect when they visit the Discovery Center in Springfield, MO, including admission costs, hours of operation, special events, and educational programs.
Table of Contents
Overview of The Discovery Center of Springfield
The Discovery Center of Springfield is a family-friendly STEM and interactive science museum in Springfield, Missouri, providing educational and entertaining experiences since 1983.
With a wide variety of interactive exhibits and activities related to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), it offers something for everyone in the family.
The Discovery Center provides an exciting way to learn with exhibits focused on dinosaurs, space exploration, the human body, and engineering.
There are also “traveling scientists” where the Discovery Center Staff perform live demonstrations and activities.
In addition to these educational experiences, they host special events throughout the year, such as a night at the museum, a special easter egg hunt, and membership madness (a special membership sale that aligns with NCAA March Madness.)
The Discovery Center of Springfield: Admission Costs and Hours of Operation
The Discovery Center of Springfield provides an affordable way to explore and learn about STEM topics. Admission prices vary depending on age and membership status, with children under three admitted for free.
Adults (16+) can purchase tickets for $15 each, and children aged 3-15 are $10 each. The Discovery Center is open 10 am- 6 pm, Tuesday through Sunday, and closed on Mondays and all major holidays.
Family memberships are available at $63.75 for four and $80.75 for six family members.
Grandparents memberships are $63.75 and include two grandparents and two unnamed grandchildren.
Special Events and Educational Programs
The Discovery Center of Springfield offers many exciting special events throughout the year. They provide educational programs to help children learn and understand more about STEM topics while having fun.
Some of these programs include robotics camps, after-school programs, and a variety of summer camps.
For locals living in Springfield, MO, The Discovery Center offers full-time schooling for K through 8th-grade children.
This school is best for children who learn in flexible mixed-age environments and are interested in sciences and hands-on learning.
Tuition is $8250 per year per student.
There are also virtual learning and field trip opportunities to bring non-students into the center to play and learn.
Exhibits to Explore at the Discovery Center
The Discovery Center of Springfield has various engaging exhibits to explore. From physical science to biology, visitors can discover something new and exciting every time they visit.
Some of the most popular exhibits include:
Learn about the different species that existed in prehistoric times and explore their fascinating habitats. You can dig for dinosaur bones and understand how dinosaurs survived.
Here, you can learn about each planet and see what each looks like and where it is in our solar system.
There is also a star room where you enter a completely blacked-out space and see and feel what it would be like to see the stars in the area.
There is a lot to do at The Discovery Center. It’s hard to keep the kids from going too fast. They want to run from exhibit to exhibit. One activity our son loves is Chess.
There is a giant chess board with pieces. He is constantly asking to play chess but was so excited he sandbagged the game so he could move on and do something else.
Our five-year-old son has always been into trains because he is a five-year-old. He has watched videos on YouTube about trains since he was 3. There are a few different “trains” to experiment with.
A type of train that he always seemed to gravitate towards was magnetic trains. There is a sweet exhibit that demonstrates how a MagLev train works. You can feel the “floating” of the magnets repelling.
On the lowest level was a room with a projector and interactive games. It was technically very impressive. You would interact with the video projected on the wall. I haven’t seen anything like that.
It was like a cross between dodgeball and mouse trap games. Kids (and adults!) would throw balls off the wall to solve puzzles. It was highly addicting.
Explore the human body from a cellular level to discover how it works. Explore how the nose works and sniff over 15 scents to see if the nose reacts to each and which scents you prefer.
You also get a deconstructed view of the heart and ear to understand how each work.
As you work through each body part, you get a deeper and better understanding of how each part does its job and contributes overall.
Minecraft Building Area
The Minecraft building area was a great exhibit that allowed children to build creatively using cardboard boxes decorated like those from the popular video game.
The area is large enough, and there are enough blocks that several groups could build simultaneously without competing for space or fighting over the need for blocks.
This exhibit, in particular, was great for having children work together as a team to build forts.
The Energy Exchange offers various opportunities, such as creating a smoke cloud by making an o-ring, constructing additional water damming characteristics, and investigating the principles and mechanisms of magnetic levitation.
In the Energy Exchange there are chances to design unique mechanical devices, comprehend the inner workings of engines that use internal combustion.
You can also discover the new exhibit that allows visitors to experience hands-on recycling while learning about how the recycling center handles and processes recyclable materials.
Discovery Farms, a real farm
There was a pretty cool area (next to where our kids were holding cockroaches at a temporary exhibit). It was a vertical garden area
Tips for Making the Most Out Of Your Visit
Tips for Making the Most Out Of Your Visit
Visiting the Discovery Center of Springfield is a great opportunity to learn and explore excitingly. To make the most out of your visit, here are some tips:
Check out the museum’s website to understand what exhibits you want to explore and plan accordingly. Buying your tickets online will save you some time at the front desk.
You will want to wear comfortable shoes as some interactive exhibits can be quite demanding. Plan to be on your feet, moving from one exhibit to the next.
Discovery Center is Busy On Saturday
We went on Weekdays, and it varied on when it was busy. They have a school on the premise, and the crowds ebbed and flowed when class was in and out.
But that during the week. Discovery Center gets even busier during the weekend. If you have the flexibility, we recommend going during the week. For us, it was wide open when they opened.
Bring a Snack
Since no restaurants are inside the museum, bringing snacks or drinks for energy is a good idea. There are not any designated areas to sit and enjoy snacks.
You can only enjoy snacks you bring in the main lobby, and there aren’t any tables. There is an in-and-out policy if you decide to leave for lunch. Save your receipt, and you can return before closing at 6 pm.
Take Time To Reflect
In between exhibits, take a few moments to reflect on what you have learned and discussed with your family about the topics explored.
Talk To Educators
Ask questions and engage with the museum educators to learn more about the exhibits. Everyone we encountered was friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to answer questions.
As long as you save your receipt, you can leave and return during regular hours until 6 pm.
This worked great for our family since we still have a few kids who nap and one who benefits from a quiet rest period.
We left for lunch and naps, and when we returned, we still had over 2 hours to learn and play.
Our Review Of Discovery Center Springfield, MO
Immediately upon arriving, you are greeted with fun and interactive exhibits, starting with a shadow room to help little minds understand what a shadow is and how it is created.
One of the best features of the Discovery Center in Springfield, MO, is that next to each exhibit or feature is detailed instructions and an explanation to help children understand why or how the display works.
There are multiple areas where staff hold and perform live science demonstrations. These rooms are closed and locked when the demonstration isn’t available.
One drawback was that we didn’t notice any posted time when these science demonstrations would occur.
The Discover Center is divided into East and West Sections. In the East section, you will find Wonderland, Phenomena, Auditorium, Discovery Town, and Body Works.
On the center’s west side are ChromoZone, Highwire Bike, WorldWise, and Classrooms.
We visited on a rainy day and partially expected crowds, but due to the openness and the sheer size, we never felt as if there were too many people, and we also didn’t have to skip any of the exhibits because there were too many people.
The highwire bike wasn’t open to try, but there was an area where our kids could hold and touch hissing cockroaches, which was unexpected.
Is Discovery Center Worth It?
Yes Discovery Center is worth it. Our children had so much fun they decided to go twice, in the same day.
Overall The Discovery Center is a must-plan when you visit Springfield, MO. Plan to spend 4-6 hours playing and learning.
Children and adults are sure to learn something new while having a great time playing together.
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Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.