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“Good Museum”
Review of The Works

The Works
Ranked #11 of 31 things to do in Bloomington
Attraction details
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
84 reviews
36 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“Good Museum”
Reviewed April 11, 2014

My son is too old for a Children's Museum, but this museum was just right for him and kept his interest. He is a first-grader. The Knex are hard to use for tiny hands. Lego Cars would have been easier to build.

Visited April 2014
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2 Thank Ingrid W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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29 reviews from our community

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Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Minnesota
Level Contributor
19 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“One of a kind museum”
Reviewed March 23, 2014 via mobile

This museum focuses on teaching kids about engineering, and has lots of fun hands on exhibits. Check out the biggest Kinex ball machine in the world!

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Thank Minnesota_Traveler2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rapid City, South Dakota
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“OK once or twice, depending on age of kids”
Reviewed March 7, 2014

A bit of a hike from anyplace you'd want to go, perhaps 15 minutes from the Mall of America. Facility looked better from the outside; inside is somewhat worn. Exhibits are basic science-museum fare, nothing we hadn't seen elsewhere but more hands-on than what you'll find at the MN Science Museum proper. This felt like something that was put together by volunteers from a university engineering department working on a shoe string; that's fine, but at least a half-dozen of the installations were out-of-order during our visit, and some seemed fairly dull or lacked adequate explanation. The upstairs activity room was great; we spent a full hour there with the kids building marble raceways and electric circuits. The lack of structure there was welcome and we had the place to ourselves in the morning. Youngest daughter (8) was taken enough with the electricity activities that she wanted to get similar stuff for home (we stopped at Ax Man Surplus and did so for about $10 total).

We had fun at this visit for almost 2.5 hours, which was great. Decided not to get a membership though, assuming it is pretty static and would not be much fun again (we go to the MN Science Museum monthly). Took home some good ideas for activities we'll do on our own, and a wish (from the kids) to go back to the Discovery Center in Boise, ID, which is similar but much larger, or the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland, or the Pacific Science Center in Seattle; those are all family favorites and have much the same exhibits-- just many more, and with a lot more flash (and sometimes more substance) behind them.

Advice: call ahead and try to avoid going when a school group is on site. We were having a good time until 100 grade school kids came in and basically ran amok in the place...after being crowded away from most of the exhibits we decided it was time to move on. Spent the afternoon at the Minnesota Art Institute which was much quieter!

Visited March 2014
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3 Thank kiwanda89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States
Level Contributor
14 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“A bit pricey, nice unique hands on exhibits”
Reviewed August 10, 2013

I believe the best way to visit The Works is with a group, such as through a school field trip as my son and I had the first time around. When we went with his classmates, we got to participate in a workshop where the kids built their own catapults using real drills, nails, wood, etc, and that alone was worth the discounted admission we paid. The kids had contests afterwards to see who could launch marshmallows further with their catapults. My son still plays with his to this day, many months later.

We've been back again since, just the two of us, and this time I had to pay admission for myself as well even though this is very clearly geared towards children. I personally feel the price is a bit high for the amount of activities here when compared to the Science Museum and Children's Museum, but they have some unique exhibits here that can't be found at either of the aforementioned museums. Literally everything here is meant to be touched and played with, which makes it stand out. My son especially loves the ability to build and race cars on their timed track. This seems to be the favorite activity of many kids who visit The Works as the competition to build the best and fastest cars is quite exciting for most of them. I saw kids noting the design of a particularly fast car and secretly copying the design and trying to improve upon it to beat the undefeated champion. It was quite cool to watch. True learning from play.

I would say this museum is geared at kids 6 and up. Younger kids may quickly become bored with some of the advanced concepts of the exhibits. When we went with my son's school, they advised ages 10 and up but my 8 year old had a fantastic time and still does every time we go. I still feel it's a bit limited, but if you can go with a group and get the discount (parents were free when we went with school, too) it's definitely worth stopping by.

Visited July 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank niffyroo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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