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Ultimate Guide To Science City (With Discount Tips)

If you haven’t been to Science City in Kansas City — and you have kids — you’re missing out. It’s part science center, part children’s museum, and part playground. And I have a way to get in free (keep reading to find those discounts).

I hope you find all the answers to your questions about visiting Science City — from parking tips and program times to saving money. If not, leave a comment with your question and I’ll try to help!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.

A view of two floors at Science City

Where is Science City?

Science City is located inside Union Station, 30 W. Pershing Road, Kansas City, Mo. There is no exterior entrance to Science City; you must go through Union Station to get to the entrance.

It is located near Crown Center, and can be reached by a series of elevated walkways. Crown Center is home to LEGOLAND Discovery Center and SEA LIFE Aquarium.

How much is admission?

Tickets are $14 per person, plus a $1.25 preservation fee. Children 12 months and younger are free.

Are there discount tickets available to Science City?

Yes! Well, there are ways to get discounts to Science City.

ASTC – This is the best deal in my eyes. If you have a family membership to a museum that’s a part of the Association of Science & Technology Centers, you receive up to four free admissions thanks to the ASTC Reciprocal Membership Program. In Omaha, that means your Omaha Children’s Museum Family Membership will get you and three others into Science City for free. We use it on every trip to Kansas City! There are some exclusions. 

Pogo Pass – The Pogo Pass is $49.98 per person and gets you one admission into Science City, as well as many other KC area attractions. They recommend children ages 2 and older have their own Pogo Pass with their own name on it. 

Bank of America Museums On Us – If you have a Bank of America, Merrill or Bank of America Private Bank (U.S. Trust) credit card or debit card, you receive free admission during the first full weekend of every month because of the Museums On Us program. Free general admission is for the cardholder only. 

How much time should I plan at Science City?

I recommend allow for at least three hours. The space is huge. If you plan on attending one of the programs or a planetarium show, add another hour.

A water table at Science City

Is Science City open seven days a week?

In the summer, yes. For the rest of the year, no. As of this publish date the hours are:

Summer hours are Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Winter hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m.

Check online before your visit to be sure those hour haven’t changed. Hours are found on the top left of the homepage. http://sciencecity.com/

Where do I park for Science City?

Plan ahead, is my recommendation. We went to Science City in December and the first parking lot we went to was full!

There is parking on the south side of Union Station that you can access via West Pershing Road, called South Plaza and Triangle Lot, both of which are credit card/debit card only.

If you want to pay cash for parking, park at the West Yards Garage, located adjacent to Union Station and accessible via the bridge from South Plaza (Kessler Street entrance) or from the lower Westside accessible via Pershing Road.

There is also a parking garage located to the west of Union Station that is accessible via Broadway Street. You may find a parking lot in the lot in front of Union Station, but that’s a pretty small lot.

Do I have to pay for parking to go to Science City?

Yes. You’ll be paying for Union Station parking when you visit Science City since it’s located inside that building. Expect to pay between $5 to $15 depending how long your visit is.https://unionstation.org/union-station-kansas-city-amenities/#parking

If you are staying at a hotel in Crown Center or nearby, I recommend leaving your car parked at the hotel and using the elevated walkways to get to Science City. You can avoid extra parking fees that way.

Do they require facemasks?

No, facemasks are encouraged but not required (at this time…it can always change).

Chair pulleys at Science City

What can I do with my infant or toddler at the museum?

You’ll want to head to the Let’s Play space. Let’s Play is an exhibit for children ages 3 and younger, and features ramps, pretend play areas, and more. There are different floor surface types and nooks and crannies to crawl through. There’s a family kitchen nearby and a private nursing room.

Science City also has an indoor playground called Tot Lot. Young kids will also like the dig area near the Dino Lab.

How many exhibits are there at Science City?

The layout of the museum makes it difficult to distinguish some exhibit spaces from others. They have at least 300 exhibit pieces to interact with or see. Some of the highlights that my family enjoyed, though, include:

The Tree House inside Science City
  • Step Right Up, featuring carnival games
  • Every Last Drop, with the always-popular water table
  • Science of Energy, you’ll see the very recognizable “hamster wheel” there
  • Mr. E Hotel, always a hit with the optical illusion-loving crowd
  • Nature Works, for animal lovers especially
  • Tree House, it looks really cool and kids always gravitate toward it but you won’t spend a whole lot of time there
  • All Aboard, a train-themed space that was a big hit with my kids when they were younger

Can we cook in the Test Kitchen?

No, the general public cannot use the Test Kitchen space in Science City. It’s used as a classroom and needs to be booked through group sales. 

Is the Sky Bike included with admission?

Yes. Science City has this awesome bike that is suspended on a high wire about 30 feet in the air. It’s a great experiment in physics and yes there is no additional fee to ride it. There are height and weight requirements that need to be met.

That said, on the three visits I’ve had to the museum, I’ve yet to see it open. I’ve seen pictures of friends’ kids riding on it so it’s no a urban legend.

Is the outdoor play area always open?

As far as I can tell, yes. I’ve yet to visit and not be allowed outside, no matter the time of year.

Simple Machines at Play is an outdoor exhibit where kids can climb, slide, pull, and slide. My kids always head for this space, even in December. There’s a zipline everyone loves, as well as the Luckey Clumber.

You can only access this space with museum admission. 

Kids playing at the outdoor exhibit at Science City, Simple Machines at Play.

Is the planetarium included with admission?

No. The Arvin Gottlies Planetarium is separate attraction in Union Station. There are usually several shows to choose from, including a family-friendly (ie. shorter) show. The cost is $8 for the general public and $4 for Union Station members. 

Are there programs or shows for the public at Science City?

Yes! Please double check program times before your visit as they are subject to change.

There are educator-led activities at the museum. In the PNC Learning Lab, kids ages 7 and younger can attend a program from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. each day. Daily workshops for kids ages 7 and younger occur in the Creative Corner, during which activities are designed to engage early STEM skills. These workshops are held Tuesday through Saturday from 10:15 to 10:45 a.m. and on Sunday from 11 to 11:30 a.m. (no late entry and limited capacity).

The Maker Studio is mostly used for open activities of your own choosing, but there are workshops as well. Daily Maker Workshop for kids ages 8 and older are held at 2:30 p.m. The Mini Maker activity for guests ages 7 and younger are held on Thursdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

There are also daily science demonstrations and activities in the Demo Area.

Can you bring food into Science City?

No. There are restaurants and grab and go options elsewhere in Union Station, but no food is allowed inside Science City. You can bring a water bottle, though.

What else is there to do at Union Station?

As mentioned before, Union Station has restaurants, as well as a planetarium. There is also a movie theater with the biggest screen in the region (we’re talking 80 feet by 53 feet) and the City Stage Theatre, which features shows by Kansas City Actors Theatre and Theatre for Young America.

Just one side of the huge model train room at Union Station in Kansas City.

Union Station hosts traveling exhibits, too. Currently “Auschwitz: Not long ago. Not far away.” Is on exhibit at Union Station until March 20, 2022.

Those are all ticketed, but the one free thing you can see at Union Station is the Model Train Gallery.

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