Field Trip Friday-Oklahoma Science Museum

by Jessica on March 24, 2011

Main Floor of the Museum

The Oklahoma Science Museum is not anywhere near our home, but we have visited often enough that we know our way around when we walk in the doors. Our first visit to the museum was prompted by the reciprocal program offered by our local children’s museum membership. After that visit, we fell in love with the museum and we always stop briefly whenever we travel to our northern neighbor.

Located in the heart of Oklahoma City’s “Adventure District,” the museum has something for everyone in the family. Most enjoyably, the museum seems to have been designed with families in mind, which makes it a great place to visit once or many times.

Experiencing the feel of an earthquake

I love the open feeling of the main museum floor, as it welcomes its guests to jump in and explore. The openness ensures that when my kids scatter frenetically in every direction, I am able to keep an eye on each one as they explore. The larger exhibits are located here, with niches shooting off in every direction offering more specialized encounters.

Segway Course

My kids are drawn like a magnet to the Segway exhibit in the center of the museum. Here they can earn their Segway drivers license and maneuver through a course on a Segway. Even grownups can take a turn, although kids seem to learn more effortlessly. It took me a bit of wobbling to get the hang of it, but once I got my bearings, I enjoyed the ride.

Gadget Tree

Just beyond this exhibit is the Gadget Tree, a tour de force of museum exhibits. A giant tree house extends three stories into the heights of the museum. Within the tree house, kids explore the six simple machines in the most fun ways imaginable. Soft balls are ferried across the houses with kid powered pulleys, and then catapulted off of the top of the house to the ground below. See saws and swings invite kids to explore levers, as the laugh and play.

Sending balls across the Gadget Tree

 At the center of the tree house is the 24 foot Archimedes screw slide, billed as the tallest spiral slide in the world. Let me give you a little personal testimony about this slide; it is not suitable for grownups. After watching the line kids whiz off the end of the slide, laughing hysterically, grownups are tempted to give a try. Don’t do it! This beast of a slide moves so quickly in such a tight spiral that you will stumble off the end with vertigo that will leave you groping for any level surface. This seems to have no effect on children, though, as they zip off the end of the slide and immediately turn to run up the stairs for another ride.

Sliding

The Gadget Tree is the undisputed king of the museum for my kids, but the Family Space is the winner for parents. The space is divided in half by a clear partition with exhibits for ages 0-6 on one side and exhibits for ages 7-12 on the other side. For families with a wide age range, this is ideal space to involve everyone in age appropriate activities. Even the tiniest visitors’ needs are met in the nursing mother’s room and changing station. Video monitors of the kid’s space allow moms to keep an eye on the older kids while they change diapers or nurse.

Space for little kids on the right and big kids on the left

Baby changing station with video monitors

The other exhibits in the museum are too numerous to list, but my kids enjoyed the Light and Sound exhibit, as well as the Tinkering Garage. In addition to the great exhibits, the museum offers planetarium shows and live science shows as a part of the general admission. Imax presentations are also available for an additional fee.

Tinkering Garage

Building in the Tinkering Garage

 We left the museum at closing time with a parting spin on the slide for each of the boys. Mom and Dad were both exhausted. It seems we had forgotten the back breaking work of chasing a toddler around a museum. “We have to come back soon,” Evan said. “Not more than a year, okay?” Whenever we return, I know that some of us will be taking many turns on the monster slide and some of us will be content to watch.

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