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“We love this museum”

McWane Science Center
Ranked #3 of 88 things to do in Birmingham
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: Fun and learning never end at McWane Science Center, a nonprofit, hands-on museum and IMAX(R) Dome Theater. Four floors of interactive exhibits celebrate science and wonder - from an amazing collection of dinosaurs to innovative environmental showcases, imaginative early childhood playgrounds, and an awe-inspiring aquarium. The energy and excitement of discovery spring to life through an extensive lineup of science demonstrations performed daily by talented educators. The adventure intensifies in the IMAX(R) Dome Theater, where wide-eyed visitors experience the sights and sounds of breathtaking films on a 5-story-tall screen surrounded by 3 tons of high-intensity speakers.
Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
19 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
“We love this museum”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2012

The McWane Center is a super science museum that my family has enjoyed for 10 years. There are 4 full floors of fun! You will probably get tired before you can actually do everything. The bottom floor is a mini-aquarium, that includes a great touch tank with rays and little sharks. The middle two floors have tons of great learning displays that have lots of interactive devices. The top floor has more interactive displays and the "traveling display". Currently, on the 3rd floor the "traveling display" is Clifford. The 4th floor is temporarily filled with model trains and a special "Winter Wonderland" for the holiday season. This museum is great for all ages but most displays definitely cater to the younger crowd, 10 and under I would say.

If you are a 5 year old or younger you can play all day long in the "Just Mice Size" section of the museum on the 2nd floor. There is only one way in and out, so parents can camp out at the door and not lose anybody! I have actually seen more kids get lost when their parents try to follow them through all of the tunnels and mazes and then the kid flies out the door with their parents stuck in a slide somewhere!

There is also an IMAX movie theatre that has wonderful, rotating nature type movies. The gift shop is a great place to find fun, different types of gifts too. There is a food court with several choices for food...a Pizza Hut, SubWay, burger/chicken place, noodle place and Red Mango.

They also have wonderful summer camps/holiday camps at the museum that we have always been very pleased in taking. They have preschool programs during the day that are fun for a short class. It is not in the greatest section of downtown but once inside, you feel perfectly immersed in fun learning!

I love that Birmingham has this wonderful science center!

Visited December 2012
Thank Karen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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706 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Too much fun for our little ones”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 28, 2012

We went to the McWane Center two days after Christmas. By 10:30 when we arrived, it was already quite busy. Our membership to the Great Lakes Science Center in Cleveland gave us free admission. The McWane Center has many more exhibits than Cleveland's. The McWane Center is more like a Children's Museum version of a Science Museum. If you are familiar with COSI, it is more like that. It still includes all of the good science, but it teaches while the kids are playing, not just manipulating.
We spent 3.5 hours there and did not get to see or do it all. We went to the special Clifford exhibit, the dinosaur fossil exhibit, a snow/ice exhibit, the water exhibit on the bottom floor, and even ate at the cafe. It was a lot of fun for our toddlers. They ran from one hands-on exhibit to another. Most of the exhibits had a nice combination of basic buttons for my youngest up to fascinating facts for my husband. They spent about 20 minutes digging in a sand(tiny pieces of beige rubber), fossil-finding exhibit they loved. The bubble section was fun too.
We ate at the cafe which had Subway, Pizza Hut, a smoothie place, and a grill place. The prices were typical for a museum, just overpriced enough.
Parking is only $5 and can be paid inside the museum when purchasing tickets. The parking garage is a tight fit, but people were generally considerate.
We will be coming back every time we come to Alabama. LOVED it!

Visited December 2012
Thank wkend_getaway
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Alabama
Level Contributor
9 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Great Children's Museum in the heart of the city.”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 18, 2012

Congrats to the managers of this well kept Science Museum. It's an incredible learning, hands on, place for youth of all ages. There is a constantly changing program of displays and opportunities that engage a childs creative imagination. A must see!

Visited April 2012
Thank S R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, Alabama, United States
Level Contributor
27 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“Great fun”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 25, 2012

Lots of cool rotating exhibits, seasonal programs and the IMAX has tons of good educational and feature films. Good for kids of all ages!

Thank Marie R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Huntsville, Alabama
Level Contributor
120 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
“What a place to spend a rainy day!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 21, 2012

It has been some years since we visited McWane Center but we had an annual membership for many years. When our son was young this was the place to take him and his friends on a rainy Saturday. Wonderful permanent exhibits, fascinating rotational exhibits and a great IMAX theatre. I could stand and watch the 'Rube Goldberg' contraption in the lobby for hours!

Visited December 2011
Thank Mediocrates
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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