Elementary kids have a high interest in STEM related subjects and science museums throughout Idaho are a great place for families. Science museums have interactive exhibits and a variety of presentations and classes geared children in all elementary grades available to families at low cost. Each museum gets different traveling exhibits and has a different focus for their permanent exhibits. As a bonus, many science museums are part of national coalitions allowing members of one museum to get free or reduced admission to others in the coalition.
What if you only have historical museums near you? Don’t worry. While historical museums are not likely to have dinosaurs or water/gravity tables and tend to be more exhibit based than exploratory there is usually still a lot of science than can be gleaned from them. Idaho’s history has much to do with it’s geology and earth science. For instance almost everywhere, except on the Snake River Plain itself, we have mines, mines, and more mines. The gold rush to Idaho City, the engineering of Swan Falls Dam being built to provide power to Silver City, and Chinese immigrants, are all because of our mineral heritage. The bountiful Snake River Plain & Gorge and the Palouse Hills and Lewiston Seaport have their heritage in a fiery (or ashy) volcanic past and more recent gargantuan water hydraulics and yet what was left became fertile farmland. If your historical museum doesn’t have a list of STEM related topics that you can discuss with your children while visiting the museum check back with us.
One parent’s experience:
As a new parent I thought that some science museums like the Discovery Center of Idaho that had a lot of electronic displays and such was more for high school students than my elementary age child. That view lasted until our first visit when my son was a kindergartener. He convinced me throughout his elementary years to visit again and again, often taking friends and visiting relatives with us. We became members and have also really enjoyed visiting other science museums in Idaho, Oklahoma, Montana, Utah, Washington, Oregon, Hawaii, and California. I always check the list of participating museums before taking a trip. –
Note: Some museums close on Mondays, be sure to check their hours before making a long trip.
Links to websites and museum descriptions:
Idaho Association of Museums http://www.idahomuseums.org/museums.asp
Museums Association of Montana http://www.montanamuseums.org/
Oregon Museums Association http://www.oregonmuseums.org/Default.aspx?pageId=1601338
Alberta -Canada http://culture.alberta.ca/museums/historicsiteslisting/default.aspx
British Columbia – Canada http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_museums_in_British_Columbia