The Top 5 Reasons Every Family Needs to Visit the Science Museum of Virginia This Summer

When was the last time your family visited the Science Museum of Virginia?  Has it been a little while?  Well, this museum is worth a trip – there are hundreds of hands-on exhibits to help kids (and grown ups) experience and explore science.

Download the Science Museum of Virginia’s app – The Muse – to access additional information on exhibits and add to your experience.

Here are the top 5 reasons we think a trip to SMV should be on your summer bucket list.

1.       Speed.

This unique exhibit is focused on just that, speed, and all things related to motion.  Experience speed slow and fast, the speed of sound and light, the speed of machines, animals and humans.  There are over 50 activities in this exhibit, here are some you don’t want to miss.

Kids of all ages will love testing their foot speed against that of an Olympic athlete, black bear, rat (or a multitude of other options), wondering who they can beat.  They can also test the speed of their pitch with different types of balls, identifying how weight or size changes the outcome.

Watch fast moving experiences in the world around us, be slowed down and watch them occur at a speed kids can control.  Fast moving moments like the beating of a bird’s wings, a ball hitting someone in the face, and a water balloon popping.  Kids can see details that would normally go missed, and some of it will really give them the giggles.

If you have a child that likes to text, and thinks they are rather fast, they can test their skill against the speed of a telegraph operator.  Tweens and Teens will especially like this.  And here’s a hint – the telegraph operator is tough to beat!


2.      Rat Basketball

Enough said.  Don’t miss this unique lesson on classical conditioning and rewards based training.  Kids of all ages will absolutely love it.   Check the daily schedule for the tip-off times.


3.      Boost

Boost is a super interactive exhibit that gets each visitor to test their skills and work to improve them.  Some tasks challenge physical strength or flexibility, others test your memory, some are just built for fun.  This is a great space for kid to get some exercise and learn something too.  Each visitor receives a individual card to track progress.  Keep it and bring it back on your next visit to see if your performance is the same or improves.

A favorite test is the tightrope, even grown ups can’t resist trying to get across this short rope.  Can YOU do it?

Or have your kids ever tried yoga?  There is a fun demonstration where kids can tweak their form to match the interactive video. .

4.      Da Vinci Alive

Da Vinci Alive – The Experience is a self guided tour featuring replicas of his most famous work.  This is an inspiring exhibit full of more than Da Vinci’s personal history, the Mona Lisa and the Vitruvian Man, although these pieces are not to be missed!  The exhibit shows us the great mind that was Leonardo Da Vinci’s and the number of designs he had for inventions that were cutting edge in his lifetime, some that would not be fully possible for generations.  For example, he conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, and the double hull.    His designs span mechanics, physics, engineering, flight and more.  Da Vinci’s personal notes reveal his work as a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.

Leonardo da Vinci wrote most of his personal notes in mirror, starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left.  He only used standard writing if he intended his texts to be read by others. Kids can give mirror writing a try – and it is not easy!



Most of the exhibit is hands off, observation based learning, but there is a section of mechanisms kids can try toward the back of the exhibit – a Hammer Driven by a Cam, Flying Wheels, and Rolling Ball Bearings, and more.

Special Note:  This exhibit requires an additional ticket for admittance.





5.      LightPlace

The Science Museum of Virginia  offers a  special area for kids 5 and under.  A place where the littlest visitors can experiment and unwind.







Honorable Mentions:

The Lab.  Kids will enjoy checking out the snakes, spiders and other creepy crawlys  in the reptile lab.  And if the season allows, visit the bees and their hive down the hall. 

The MiX.  This space is worth investigating if you have a teen.  Participate in workshops and other events by becoming a member of The MiX.


The Details:

Monday – Saturday | 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday | 11:30 am – 5 pm
2500 West Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23220


Galleries Only:
Adults – $14.50
Youth & Senior – $13.50
Members – Free

Galleries + Dome Show
Adults – $18.50
Youth & Senior – $17 .50
Members – $5

Da Vinci Alive + Galleries (May 13 – September 5)
Adults – $25
Youth & Senior – $24
Members – $7

Da Vinci Alive Evenings $10 Fridays in July 5 pm