Beat the winter blues by discovering big time fun for your pint size little ones at the Science Center of Iowa with hands-on exhibits and unique programming for all ages. Here are five things to look for at Iowa’s largest science museum in 2024.

1. Special Events and Exhibits

You don’t have to be an astrophysicist to know that the Science Center of Iowa is one of the top options around for everyday fun. But research shows that their special events and traveling exhibits are what is truly out of this world. For parents, there are Mixology Nights pairing beverages with fun themes (Planetary Prom, anyone?). For kids, there are summer camps, sensory hours, and daily live events like Snapping Turtle Feeding. And for the whole family, there are seasonal events like the Des Moines Mini Maker Faire (the greatest show and tell on earth!), Spooky Science (costumes encouraged), and Noon Year’s Eve, with its infamous balloon drop.

2. Paper Rockets  

Prepare to launch into the stratosphere of fun by building and launching a paper rocket. Gather your materials and let your imagination take flight. Once your rocket is ready, head to the launch pad and watch in awe as your paper rocket soars through the air, defying gravity and providing a firsthand lesson in physics. Building and launching a paper rocket is not just a playful activity; it’s a hands-on exploration of scientific principles, igniting curiosity and fostering a love for experimentation. Located in the “When Things Get Moving” area, along with the ultimate domino course, ball wall, air cannons, and more.

3. Brick by Brick  

Discover your inner builder (and for parents, your inner child). This experience platform pairs giant LEGO®-built structures with hands-on building challenges to showcase how architects and engineers push the limits of design to make the seemingly impossible possible. Exhibit stations and building challenges let you build and test structures to withstand earthquakes and heavy winds, and even explore unconventional LEGO® building techniques to solve design challenges. These hands-on building challenges bring engineering, architecture, and construction to life and encourage creativity. Marvel at LEGO® models of the Hoover Dam, Golden Gate Bridge, and even a 75,000-brick model of the Science Center itself!

4. Bubble Bay  

Welcome to Bubble Bay, where the air is filled with magic and the fun never pops! Immerse yourself in the ultimate bubble-tastic adventure as you unleash your inner bubble genius as you twirl, swirl, and create GIANT bubbles that defy the laws of ordinary bubbles! Part of the “Small Discoveries” area, this is perfect for littles, who can also tour Toddler Town – where they can pick up some groceries from the Fareway market and prepare a healthy meal in the play kitchen using the ingredients from the store.

5. Star Theater Planetarium  

Make it your mission to visit the “Why the Sky?” experience platform on the upper level, and then enter SCI’s digital planetarium and immerse yourself in the night sky under the 50-foot, 360-degree domed screen – the largest and most advanced planetarium in the state of Iowa! Whether you're a seasoned astronomer or a stargazing novice, the Star Theater Planetarium promises an experience that's both entertaining and educational. With over a dozen different programs to choose from, get ready to be dazzled, enlightened, and maybe even a little starstruck.

For more information and tickets, check out the Science Center of Iowa website here.  

Address: 401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy, Des Moines
Hours: Thursday – Sunday, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Admission: $15 non-member, $13 Seniors 70+, members FREE
Parking: Covered ramp parking is available across the street from the main entrance at 4th and Market Street. Hourly rate is $3 for the first hour, $1 for each additional hour. A daily parking pass may be purchased for $6 at the SCI Visitor Services desk during operating hours.  

And check out our awesome Des Best video on the Science Center here!