Closed in 2011 due to financial woes, the former Detroit Science Center reopened with a bang in late 2012 as the new Michigan Science Center, located in the heart of Midtown. Thanks to new funding, the museum has enhanced its leadership and redefined its business model to focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. Original attractions including a planetarium, Imax Theater and several smaller theaters have expanded their educational offerings; the center also hosts a variety of summer camps.
This place is big—about 110,000 square feet—and jammed with fun activities. Rube Goldberg-style gizmos emerge from every corner, and there truly is something here for everyone. Even the littlest guests will love Kids Town, filled with toys, crafts and an itty-bitty kitchen for aspiring chefs. There’s even a tiny diner where tots can proudly serve their creations. Kids love running across the Mackinac Island bridge reproduction, playing in a replica steel mine and sailing tiny sailboats. The most hair-raising attraction, literally, is the Energy Sparks Theater, where electricity comes to life in a noisy fashion.
The exhibits alone easily occupy a morning or afternoon; combine them with an Imax movie and a visit to the planetarium, and you’re got a full-day outing. Bring your lunch to eat in the lunchroom, though; the on-site food options are limited and not terribly healthy. Cuisine aside, this outstanding institution should go a long way in helping Motown shine again. General admission $12.95 for adults and $9.95 for kids ages 2 to 12; the planetarium and Imax theater entail additional charges.