Sunday, August 22, 2010

Helena, MT for Kids - ExplorationWorks

We merged our Science Sunday, and Friday Field Trip yesterday, by taking a short road trip to the ExplorationWorks children's museum in Helena, MT.

It's part of the Association of Science and Technology Centers, so we were able to use our membership pass, that we purchased while visiting the grandparents in Oregon, last winter.

It's much smaller than A.C. Gilbert's Discovery Village in Salem, where we purchased our pass. But, it is packed full of science activities.

And, it sits in a very cool plaza, next to a carousel/ice cream shop...

...with a representational map of Lewis and Clark's journey through Montana, on the sidewalk, with fun signs pointing out various stops along the way.

This fountain, for instance...

...represents the portage around Great Falls. However, in the 90 degree heat, and intense central Montana sun, we didn't spend much time outside in the plaza, but instead, headed straight into the museum.

I always find that these types of museums are better for playing with, and exploring, the science concepts we've already covered at home, than for learning new things. The staff, as usual, has done an excellent job, providing clear, well written, explanations of each activity, but for my children, at least, anything beyond a single sentence, is too much to sit still for.

Finally, I gave up trying to "teach" them anything, and just let them play, and explore.

They really had a good time messing with the Bernoulli cone...

...Newtons cradle...

...the slap-a-phone (something we may have to make ourselves)...

...flight simulators...

...wind tunnels...

...indoor beehive...

...and much more.

Of course, the Man of the House, and I kept pretty busy, too.

Linked to Science Sunday at Adventures in Mommydom, and Field Trip Fridays at Live the Adventure.

It's great to be a homeschooler.


  1. I could go there too with my membership. Looks like great fun

  2. I think this tends to be the norm when we take our kids to science museums, they would rather explore then be taught. Though they really do learn from their exploration. Looks like everyone had a great time.

  3. Oh yes- "playing" to learn- the best way to learn!

  4. I wish we had something like that near here, it looks amazing!

    Thanks for dropping by my blog.

  5. Looks like you guys still had a great time! I'm afraid the only game at Cabella's is a laser gun/shooting thing, so you probably did better going here.

  6. That looks like a fantastic museum! I know what you mean - it's SO hard to teach in a museum because the kids just want to play! They still learn though. I'm glad you had fun too!

    MT is going to be our next state for our 50 states project!

  7. Marcee - It was really the big fish tanks we wanted to see at Cabellas. But you're right, there was more to do in Helena :)

  8. Wow--what a cool place! Looks like everyone had a great time!

  9. Awesome trip! My science this week was also about a field trip to the museum, and it looks like yours had something for kids of different ages. Overall I think ours is best for the kids under 10.

  10. Glad you enjoyed your visit! We have a new water-themed exhibit coming this fall and are always changing exhibits to keep the learning/play vibe fresh. Note that we are working hard to add explanatory content for adult level learners too!
    We have a school district approved program for home schoolers called Explore School that runs during the regular school year. Last year more than 60 home schooled kids participated.