The Hands-on Museum was founded in the wake of the national sensation created by San Francisco's Exploratorium in the 1970s. While it calls itself a science museum, the Hands-on Museum falls woefully short of the standard set by the Exploratorium, and this in a town with one of the great research universities in the world.
There are precious few real opportunities to see physical, biological, and chemical scientific principles demonstrated. The demo guy upstairs with the cheesy white lab coat clearly didn't have a real grasp of his subject, or a meaningful and engaging demonstration to offer.
Many, and I mean MANY of the 'exhibits' are broken, varying from 'not working as intended' to completely dead. Why?
There are so many things that are just toys, some of them dating back to the museum's opening in 1978, that don't teach a darn thing, that don't engage children, that just flat out fall short. Yes, there are blinking lights and cranks to turn, but why? What are they learning? What is the lesson being taught? Good luck finding those.
Little kids will enjoy running around and will no doubt have their favorite places to play inside. That's because the Hands-on 'Museum' is really just a glorified play space with a science-ish theme.
They are long overdue (30+ years, to be more exact) to get in people from the university to really crank out some engaging SCIENCE exhibits that teach things. Until then, it's just Chuck-E-Cheese with a couple of motors and some blinking lights (the ones that still work).