Updated: March 6, 2019
Kansas City has a huge attraction that invites kids to explore science in fun ways. Science City, located inside the gorgeous Union Station, turned out to be one of my kids’ favorite parts of our whole trip to the KC area. It’s also one of our favorites among all the kid-friendly science centers and children’s museums within three hours of Omaha.
If you go, here’s what to expect:
There’s a reason Science City was awarded the prestigious Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge EDGIE Award for Visitor Experience in 2015 (only two such awards are given worldwide that year). At Science City, you can dismiss the “Don’t touch” mentality of visiting places with kids. Kids and adults are encouraged to explore everything there and test their imaginations.
Farley enjoyed playing in the water area and Science on a Sphere (particularly the Millennium Falcon projected on the sphere – which impressed every parent that walked into the room, as well).
Mooch, being the animal lover that she is, loved the small nature with lizards, birds and amphibians on display.
She also loved the little tunnel to crawl through and the slide.
Those were my kids’ favorite areas, but for me, I thought the different lab areas were cool – from kitchen science to building structures to fossils.
And, for the big kids (like me), the Skybike Challenge was fun. At other places we’ve visited, the Sky Bike was always an added cost to the museum admission, but not at Science Museum. Test the laws of physics and ride a bicycle over the museum when you visit!
All Science City Attractions
We had about three hours to spend at Science City before our drive home (Hello, car naps!). Even with a few hours, we missed several cool attractions within. There’s a lot to see, so we know we’ll be back.
Here’s a breakdown of all the attractions at Science City
Arvin Gottlieb Planetarium – One of the largest planetariums in the Midwest. (additional cost)
Burns & McDonnell Engineerium – A hands-on learning experience that encourages children to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields.
Dinolab and Digsite
Every Last Drop
Genetics: Unlock the Code
Giant Lever – Challenge your friends and family to a fun game of tug-of-war with our Giant Lever.
KC Rail Experience – Hands-on journey through the fascinating history of the American railroad.
Kinderlab – Junior scientists can explore, build, imagine, read, pretend and play while engaging in science concepts and science literacy.
Lower Level Demo Area – Daily demonstrations and activities
Maker Studio – Become a maker and be inspired to create new and unique things through hands-on learning.
Maze Park – Home to science shows, special presentations and is also just a really fun, interactive brain teaser for kids of all ages.
Mr. E Hotel – A motel with more than 21 different illusions to confuse and astound guests.
Nature Center – The Nature Center allows visitors the opportunity to observe a diverse group of animals.
Science on a Sphere – A stunning and powerful visual perspective of Earth and other objects in our solar system
Test Kitchen – Explore the chemistry behind the foods people eat every day.
The Science of Energy
There are several other nooks and crannies throughout the multi-level space with more things to explore.
Simple Machines At Play – Outdoors, there’s a fantastic exhibit for active learning. The climber stands out, for sure, but there is also a mini zip line, a few things that explain force and gravity, and other playful areas. Of course, it’s open seasonally.
If you’ve never been to Union Station – this was our first visit – you’ll want to explore it, probably before heading to Science City (because your kids will not let you leave).
Among the FREE highlights is the model train room.
We timed our visit to see some of Union Station decorated for Christmas. It’s beautiful and there’s no admission to come in and just gawk at the beauty.
There are, of course, other attractions inside Union Station and restaurants.
If you go
Where: Inside Union Station, 30 West Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo.
When: Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (closed on Christmas Day)
Cost: $13.25 for kids ages 3-11, $13.25 for adults; FREE for members and kids under 3. Planetarium tickets are $7. Parking will cost up to $5-$15. If you have a membership to a museum that belongs to the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC), such as Omaha Children’s Museum, you may qualify for FREE admission! Check this post about the reciprocal membership benefits to learn more.
Tip: The Lync walkway system connects Union Station to places like Crown Center. Park in one place and walk to other attractions easily!
Disclaimer: A big thank you to Visit KC for hosting our visit to Kansas City and to Science City for complimentary passes so I can share the experience with readers.
Want to read more stories about Kansas City with a family-friendly focus? Check these out:
Exploring the Museum at Prairiefire (Overland Park, Kan.)
Crown Center dining & entertainment (Kansas City, Mo.)
DoubleTree Hotel (Overland Park, Kan.)
Sheraton Kansas City (at Crown Center, Kansas City, Mo.)