Before kids, I never knew hands on museums were a thing. Now, we travel far (London!) to visit the best ones! My friend Erin told me way back in the day that Impression 5 Science Center in Lansing was awesome, and we finally confirmed today, that she’s not wrong! Although they call themselves a ‘science center,’ it’s very much ‘hands on’ for kids and adults.
We spent about 2 hours at the museum and got to interact with just about every age appropriate exhibit. This spot is 2 floors, with the majority of the exhibits upstairs. Most exhibits are all extremely unique. Here are a few of our favorites:
- “Throwing Things” area contains several different stations where kids can practice their pitches and blast targets with air cannons. Kids can explore and learn about kinetic and potential energy.
- The Bubble room is fun for all ages, even adults! Kids can enclose themselves into a huge bubble, and there are water tables for younger kids. Be careful though, the floor is slick in this area!
- ‘Chew on This’ exhibit lets kids take a deeper look into the human mouth, complete with a giant tooth brush and dental tools! There is also a play grocery store in this area, so kids can discover how the food you eat affects your teeth in an interactive grocery store.
- The Michigan nature area is also fun. My boys were able to catch one of the museum workers feed the frog and toad in the aquarium. You can explore natural environments found in Michigan with tools and challenges to help make learning fun!
- For older kids, the Spectrum exhibit can be a lot of fun. It has different light sources, lenses, prisms and mirrors for kids to experiment with.
There is also an enclosed room (with staff monitoring the door) for 4 and below kids. This is a nice spot to have your young kids in for awhile so you don’t have to chase them. There’s a play area and a water table section. You have to remove your shoes when entering this area, and if you go in the water area they have Crocs you can slip on.
1) Bring a change of clothes. If your kids like to play with water tables, even if they wear the smocks, they will get wet.
2) They don’t have a cafe here, so make sure to pack snacks. There are snack tables and vending machines on each floor.
3) There’s a large gift shop right at the entrance/exit, which is impossible to avoid, so set expectations early if you don’t want to get guilted into a souvenir on the way out.
4) Bring hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes!
5) If you want to do lunch afterwards, about 1 mile away is Saddleback BBQ – its delicious and extremely fast. Mike and I tried the pulled pork and ribs (delicious!), and the kids ate mac and cheese and ribs, and we caved and also ordered their churro donuts, which were ridiculously good. I saw one high chair available and they do have outdoor picnic tables as well. Make sure to stop in at Blue Owl Coffee, right next door, to get a coffee to go for your ride home.
Additional Impression 5 information:
Adults, children 2+ – $8.50
Seniors, Military members (and immediate family) – $7.00
Members, Children 1 & younger – Free
Museums for All (up to 6 guests with valid ID and EBT, medicaid, or WIC card) – $2.00
They also offer family memberships. Free parking is located behind the museum. They are open on Sundays from 12pm-5pm and Tuesday through Saturday from 10am – 5pm. They are closed on Mondays.
If you’ve already been to this museum, I’d love to know what you thought of it. If you have another hands on museum or science museum you love, please share it in the comments!