Taking your child to his or her first trip to Science Museum Oklahoma is almost a rite of passage in OKC. Here are some ideas to make the most of it with kids of varying ages:
My youngest has been going since he could blink, but seeing him really “get it” for the first time was truly magical, as it was with his older brothers. Every time we visit SMO, the first thing my preschooler always wants to do is head straight back to the model train display. He enjoys watching for Thomas the Train (or sometimes Percy!). There’s a place to sit and it’s quiet, so it’s a nice place for moms to get off their feet a minute. This is also a wonderful time to do a diaper check as the restrooms are right around the corner.
While the entire museum is a fun hands-on experience, KidSpace is specially designed with young children in mind. There is an age limit for this area, so your child can crawl, wobble and toddle safely. If you have the chance to make it on a Tuesday morning, be sure to check out their weekly 10:30 a.m. story time. There is also a come-and-go Early Explorers class from 10-11 a.m. in the gardens on Wednesdays.
There’s a reason so many local students have an SMO field trip (or two) under their belts by graduation. From the giant tree house and its spiral slide to the tinkering garage where imagination is essential and everything in between, Science Museum Oklahoma is an elementary-aged child’s dream come true. Kids are encouraged to touch, think, build and explore in a variety of learning and playing environments. Be sure to check out the Science Live show for some incredible experiments. You may get picked to assist! The planetarium show is also a unique learning experience for everyone. Kids and adults alike ‘ohh’ and ‘ahh’ as they explore the solar system. Upstairs, there is a moon landing simulator that my kids love. As we near the end of our trip, I take my crew to the gymnastics area near the end to let off a little more steam. Everyone can run out the rest of our wiggles no matter their age or ability. The drive home is usually silent, save a few giggles and snores.
You may get an eyeroll from your teenager if they hear the word “Family Day,” but after a day at the museum, you may wind up with a smile and possibly a hug! My guys have loved looking through the optical illusions exhibited upstairs, but since Curiocity opened, that has become the new favorite. Curiocity has a giant play space that welcomes all ages (even you, Mom and Dad). My tween and teen both love running all through there, but not before walking through the gravity-boggling sideways room. Both love laying on the bed of nails in the “funhouse” (this is also a Dad favorite!). You may see your t(w)een’s childhood twinkle in their eye as you all design and play with car creations in the halfpipe or jam on some instruments in the music room.
Special Needs Tips:
It can get loud and crowded during peak hours. Pack your headphones and/or try to go during an off time if you have a sensory sensitive kiddo. If you want to buy something from the café, there are gluten-free options available. You can also pack your own lunch and eat outside in their gorgeous gardens if you need to take a noise break.
Miranda Steffen is part of a blended family with four sons ranging from preschooler to young adult. She enjoys exploring the OKC metro while creating adventures and memories with her crew. Miranda has a background in early education and a passion for autism and advocacy. She enjoys a good book, a great bargain, writing and hiking.