Disclosure: I’ve received complimentary admission to the museum, but have also have paid for admission many, many times. All opinions are my own.
The Boston Museum of Science, which is located right on the Cambridge/Boston border, offers something for kids of just about every age. Whether you live in the New England area, or are planning a trip to Boston with kids, it’s absolutely worth a visit. It’s one of the largest science centers that I’ve visited, with something for everyone.
I always loved visiting as a kid. Living in Rhode Island, it was a bit of a drive to get to the Museum of Science, so it was even more of a treat. Over the years, I’ve loved seeing it expand, but still enjoy some of the same exhibits and features. Here’s our review, as well as everything that you need to know about the Boston Museum of Science.
Location of the Boston Museum of Science
The Boston Museum of Science is located right on the Charles River, between Boston and Cambridge. There’s a parking garage available for guests of the museum, although it is expensive. If you’d like to take public transportation, you can take the D branch of the T’s Green Line to the Science Park stop. Guests staying in a local Boston hotel may consider taking a cab or Uber if public transportation isn’t convenient.
Tickets at the Boston Museum of Science
Tickets for the Boston Museum of Science can be purchased online or at the door. When you purchase your tickets, you can get just tickets for the exhibit halls, or add on anything extra – including the Mugar Omni Theater (an IMAX theater), the Butterfly Exhibit, the Charles Hayden Planetarium, or the 4D theater.
On occasion, you may also need to purchase a separate ticket for traveling exhibits. If you are local to the area and think you may visit a few times in one year, a membership may be the better option. Family travelers visiting the area should definitely consider visiting at least one show in addition to the exhibit halls. The show offering regularly changes, but the IMAX theater and the planetarium both offer fabulous shows.
When you purchase tickets to the Boston Museum of Science, you’ll also get a schedule of current shows and presentations. I always try to plan my day around these presentations, as well as any special show tickets I’ve bought.
Exhibit Halls of the Boston Museum of Science
As you head into the museum, you’ll find that there are three wings to the museum. The red wing is located along the front of the museum, and contains the IMAX theater, the Planetarium, the gift shop, and the restaurant. There’s also a coat room, as well as room for traveling exhibits. We usually visit that section last, before we head home. Of course, if you do have timed tickets for an exhibition or show, you’ll need to fit that in as you plan your day.
The green wing is to your left as you walk in. It contains the animal and biology exhibits, as well as a small area for the live animal shows. If you can fit in one of those shows, younger kids especially will enjoy it. The Hall of Human Life is the highlight in the green wing – you’ll definitely spend plenty of time there.
The blue wing, toward the right, is the largest. It contains some of the interactive exhibits that the museum is known for, including the Theater of Electricity. Mathworks, Science in the Park, and the Lighthouse. My kids, and the kids I’ve chaperoned on field trips, always head right first.
While you are there, definitely check out the Theater of Electricity. It’s home to the largest air insulated Van de Graaff generator, and offers regular shows. Even if a show isn’t going on when you walk into the theater, there are exhibits to see along the edge.
Extras at the Boston Museum of Science
Extras include tickets to the Imax Theater, the Planetarium, the 4D movie theater, and the Butterfly Garden. While you can definitely get tickets to everything, I’d recommend choosing one or two shows and/or maybe the Butterfly Garden. You’ll want to spend time at the exhibit halls, so don’t plan too much.
Amenities at the Boston Museum of Science
Since you’re likely to spend much of your day at the museum, you may want to eat there. The Riverview Cafe, located on the first floor in the red wing, offers lots of options, including Taqueria Mexican Kitchen, a grill, a salad bar, and Puck’s (by Wolfgang Puck).
It’s a pretty big space, but it does get crowded, so it’s best to eat before the lunch rush or after. Sit towards the back for spectacular views of the Charles River. There’s also a fabulous gift shop offered lots of great science gifts. I usually have to give my kids a budget before we visit.
If you are visiting Boston for a family vacation, here is where to stay with kids in Boston.
The Museum of Science, Boston
1 Science Park
Boston, MA 02114