Saint Louis Science Center Review - Amazing Free Fun For Kids And Adults

4.8 stars

Saint Louis Science Center takeaway. Great weekend activity. Family fun for all ages. Free basic admission. Easy parking. It is our go-to on Saturday mornings when my wife is working. Tip: bring some pennies if you have little kids.

Table Of Contents: Overview | Exhibits | Details & Info

Saint Louis Science Center Front


  • 5050 Oakland Ave, St. Louis, MO 63110
  • (314) 289-4400
  • Website
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Monday9:30 AM–4:30 PM
Thursday9:30 AM–4:30 PM
Friday9:30 AM–4:30 PM
Saturday9:30 AM –4:30 PM
Sunday11 AM–4:30 PM


The Saint Louis Science Center Overview

We've been visiting the Saint Louis Science Center for several years now. The biggest draw is the free basic admission, which always makes it a candidate for a weekend activity. Along with the Saint Louis Zoo, the Saint Louis Science Center is one of the best activities for families in Saint Louis.

Saint Louis Science Center Map

You should plan to spend about an hour to two hours at the Science Museum on one visit. It's worth noting that the museum is free to enter, although some paid options exist to extend your visit.

My kids usually get bored after about an hour to an hour and a half, but we've had a great time during our visits. It's suitable for kids up to 12 years old, and even older kids can find something interesting to do. For grown-ups, it's an opportunity to learn about Missouri's science and history while spending quality time with your kids, and it won't cost you a dime.

Regarding parking, there are two options. If you arrive before noon, you can often find street parking on the east side road near St. Louis High School. However, this option fills up quickly, at least in my experience, by noon. Alternatively, there's a paid parking lot right next to the Science Museum, which costs around $10-15, although I've never personally paid that much for parking.

If you plan to visit frequently, they offer an annual membership for $75, which can be a great value.

My Kids' Favorite Parts Of The Saint Louis Science Center

When we first started coming here, my now seven-year-old was just four years old. He has always been drawn to the same exhibits - the video game and space exhibits.

The video game exhibit gives you a history of video games from Atari to the present. They break apart all the old systems so you can see their guts - the chips and electronics that make them up.

You can also play a bunch of old systems like Sonic the Hedgehog on SEGA, Banjo Kazooie on PlayStation, and they even have a giant NES Super Mario Bros. The picture below shows how two people must jump on the controller to operate it. The game is surprisingly hard, and I don't think we've gotten through the first level yet.

Saint Louis Science Center Life Size Super Mario Bros

The space exhibit is on the opposite side of the center, over an indoor bridge crossing the highway. There's an actual replica of the Mars Rover, allowing you to see it up close and control it. My son's favorite part here is a challenging video game where you navigate a drone around a planet, delivering supplies and completing missions.

My three-year-old always asks to visit the "Saint Louis Science Museum." He loves the entrance to the museum and the Maker Space.

Saint Louis Science Center Entrance

The entrance has three parts to it:

  1. A giant marble run

  2. A giant hamster wheel

  3. A "blackhole" which is just watching a coin spin down a funnel.

The giant marble run is a three-story marvel where you can watch soccerball-sized marbles zip through and along. Huge escalator-type contraptions load the marbles automatically, or you can load them by running around a giant hamster wheel.

It takes a fair amount of force to get that wheel spinning!

I mentioned bringing pennies in the summary for the black hole exhibit. You need to bring your coins to feed into the funnel. The blackhol was by far my son's favorite exhibit.

The other must-go for three-year-old boys is the Maker Space. You can build a little parachute and test it in a wind tunnel, make your own kart, and, most importantly, use air blowers to blow balls into hoops (pictured below). My son loves to blow the balls around the room.

Saint Louis Science Center Maker Space

Other Note Worthy Exhibits

The bridge I mentioned earlier that connects the main building to the space atrium is a lot of fun. The whole thing is lined with individual exhibits.

The first exhibit allows you to create an arch structure, teaching you how it's constructed.

Another favorite is a crane/excavator-type toy where you can excavate marbles.

Some exhibits let you build various small structures like bridges and skyscrapers. It provides insights into how large towers can withstand earthquakes and how bridges handle heavy loads.

The bridge has a radar gun so you can see how fast the cars below you are going.

On the other side of the bridge, on the way to the space exhibit, is what they call the Vault. It's mostly just a display of artifacts and coins from around the world.

Saint Louis Science Center Fossils

Down on the basement floor, in the atrium of the entrance, there's a giant roaring dinosaur. It was broken the last time we were here, but it's usually an enormous Tyrannosaurus Rex replica.

On that floor, you'll also find a couple of math games, an eSports lounge where you can play

various eSports, and the energy area, which is a lot of fun. In the energy area, you can create a mini roller coaster and explore roller coaster displays that explain potential and kinetic energy. They also have different demonstrations on how to power neighborhoods and houses, teaching you about energy in the community.

The Experience Energy exhibit was my favorite exhibit by a solid margin.

Saint Louis Science Center Experience Energy

Food and Other Things To Do At The Saint Louis Science Museum

There are two food courts - one on the first floor, which includes ice cream, and one on the second floor, which serves pizza and hot dogs. I've never eaten at either, so I can't comment on the quality. I know it is relatively expensive, so we bring snacks with us.

There is a third-story IMAX theatre I've never been to, but it shows both sciencey films and videos and actual movies like Barbie, depending on the time and day.

There is also a paid activity area near the Maker Space, which may be for birthdays, but I've never paid to go in.

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