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“Big waste of time unless you're 6” 2 of 5 stars
Review of Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium

Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium
One Market Square SE, 4th Floor, Roanoke, VA 24011
+1 540-342-5710
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Ranked #12 of 28 attractions in Roanoke
Type: Science Museums, Observatories/ Planetariums
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Attraction Details
Owner description: Fun for the whole family, the Science Museum of Western Virginia features a tropical butterfly garden filled with butterflies from around the world; fun and interactive exhibits exploring Healthy Bodies, Healthy Earth and How It Works; live animals and the popular "FROGS"; the Living River & Touch Tank; and amazing traveling exhibits such as "TUTANKHAMUN: Wonderful Things From The Pharaoh's Tomb," running June 14-Dec. 31, 2014.
Floyd
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
22 attraction reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Big waste of time unless you're 6”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed January 18, 2014

My husband and I stopped by because we'd heard of a dinosaur program. We made the incorrect assumption that there must also be a dinosaur exhibit but aside from one rather cheesy dinosaur, there was nothing. A mineral and geode exhibit was OK but everything else was aimed at children and of no interest to me. There is an optional butterfly garden (more money) that we skipped. A big disappointment for us.

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19 reviews from our community

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    4
    5
    3
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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
“A very small but nice museum desiged for smaller children.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 27, 2013 via mobile

This was located in a very nice,newly renovated building in the center of downtown. There is a very nice butterfly "zoo" as well. Many of the exhibits were not open or in repair which limited our enjoyment.

Visited December 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lynchburg, Virginia
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
7 attraction reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
“Don't waste your $$--wait until remodel is complete!!!!”
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 31, 2013

Today, we went to the science museum after we heard about their big remodel. We understood that the remodel wasn't complete and we received free admission to come back when it is completed. However, I was totally unprepared for what we saw. I have grown up attending the science museums and have been going there for the past umpteen years. The last time we visited (a couple years ago), it still held a lot of hands-on activities (stations) that children could learn about light, sound, magnets, etc. Learning took place about weather, rocks and children were exposed to true science. It was very hands-on and children could "see" science through observation, discovery and experiments. So, we were really excited to come back to the museum after the remodel and see how they built on all of that!

Whenever we got there, I was just floored at what we saw. The museum is very incomplete...it'd be best to wait to go until the remodel is completed!! What is currently in operation is either not working, closed (the Open Lab), broken/torn up or boring. The science concepts that were presented there were very watered down. And there was very little information/signage about the exhibits and very little discovery to be made. You can try to talk your child through the exhibits, but some things, we just didn't know what they were trying to get at. Though some of the exhibits are larger than life (like the giant mouth), most of the exhibits were lacking in creativity and hands-on learning compared to what was in the museum pre-remodel.

However, the redeeming part is the new butterfly garden! You have to pay $4 extra per person in order to enter it and it was the only thing that was worth the price we paid to travel to Roanoke to visit the museum today. The butterfly garden was, by far the best experience we had at the museum (besides the friendly staff)! The butterflies are amazing, beautiful and peaceful! We learned so much just by observing them in their habitat! It was an amazing experience that took our breath away!

Aside from the butterfly area, there wasn't much to prompt a child to want to know more, ask questions, be "wow-ed" by science like there was pre-remodel. I understand that the remodel is not completed (I would say they are about half-way there), but there really wasn't much today that compels me to come back when the remodel is completed (even w/the free return voucher they gave us).

If you do want to visit the museum, please call ahead to see if the Open Lab is open and if the planetarium is up and running.

Visited August 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Top Contributor
117 reviews 117 reviews
32 attraction reviews
Reviews in 42 cities Reviews in 42 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
“Fun stuff!”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2013 via mobile

The staff was clear they are only 1/2 up and running. We still had a great time, though. My kids loved the science lab. The fellas working the lab were great with them. The butterfly garden was a big hit, too. Wear bright colors. The butterflies are attracted to them!

Visited July 2013
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Oklahoma City, OK
Top Contributor
180 reviews 180 reviews
106 attraction reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
129 helpful votes 129 helpful votes
“Average”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 6, 2013

We went to the museum with six kids and two adults. The ticket price was $10 for an adult and an additional $2 for the butterfly exhibit (normally $4). The butterfly exhibit was disappointing since there were only 4-6 species of butterflies... the "exotic" butterflies were not in yet. I saw better butterflies in my son's yard that same afternoon.

There were some interesting exhibits but it seemed to be very small for the admission price charged. I assume they will be adding to the exhibits but I think if they lowered their prices, they would get more people to visit.

Visited July 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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