Location: St Paul, Minnesota
Price for 2 adults, 2 children: $74 (includes admission to one film at Omnitheatre)
Military discount? No
Value for Money: ***** (5 stars)
Being the family of geeks that we are, a trip to Minneapolis wouldn’t be complete without a visit to The Science Museum of Minnesota. The regular price for entry to the Museum + Omnitheatre was $74. However we flashed our Omaha Children’s Museum membership card, and they gave us free admission as reciprocal members, meaning we just paid $28 for the Omnitheatre portion.
(On reflection, I checked the reciprocal admission list for the Omaha Children’s Museum and The Science Museum isn’t listed… I’m not sure if the cashier made a mistake, or if the list needs updating. Regardless, we got in for a lot cheaper than what we budgeted for. Bonus!)
I was initially expecting the museum to be something like the Smithsonian, with walk around displays – the adults would love it and kids would get bored after an hour. However this museum was multiple levels of kid friendly adventure!
The Omnitheatre is a must-not-miss part of the Museum. This 90-foot domed screen cinema was like nothing I have ever seen before… sort of a cross between an extra large cinema and a planetarium. You choose which film you want to see when purchasing tickets; we chose “Hubble” – a behind the scenes look at the Hubble space telescope. The footage was simply breathtaking and well worth the extra expense.
In the actual museum, there was tons of stuff for the kids (both young and old) to do. We learned about the Mississippi River (we are in Minnesota after all), dinosaurs, fossils and rocks, the human body, principles of flight, pneumatics, light… the list goes on and on! We arrived at 10am, were all museumed-out by 4pm, and we still hadn’t seen it all. Unfortunately, the Big Backyard exhibit was sitting under a foot of snow and closed for the winter season.
Along the way, there are 3 different cafes to stop and revive. The largest is near the exit from the Omnitheatre. Along with the usual US-style pizza and fried food (ick), they also offered a wide variety of freshly cooked noodle dishes, homemade soup and freshly prepared salads. Yay! We purchased chicken pad thai ($7.95) and a Caesar salad ($6.25) to share between us. They even had chopsticks available – a welcome first for us at a US eatery.
As we’ve come to expect in the US, the serving sizes were generous, although we probably should have purchased one more dish to fully satisfy the 4 of us. It did leave room in our tummies for ice-cream later in the afternoon, though. 🙂
In all, it was a great day out for the family.
Tips for visitors:
– Ask about reciprocal admission if you have another museum’s membership – you never know!
– If you collect rocks, fossils or the like, bring some along to trade in the collectors corner
– Parking is not free. Have some cash on hand to pay when you exit the car park (our visit cost $10)
– Sit somewhere near the middle of the Omnitheatre seating. We were in the 2nd row from the front and got sore necks from looking up the entire time.