10 top-rated science museums in the US

by Sharon
franklin institute, philadelphia

With a mass of touristy places, the US is a common destination for most tourists in the country and worldwide. Today, our focus is geared towards the top-rated science museum it houses. Science itself is comprehensive knowledge which through museums, we get a better understanding of the particular phenomenon in our daily living.

The quick shifts in technology have led many museums to adopt technology into most exhibits and learning. To a degree, it has made the illustration of certain complex issues even better to understand. And on top of that, the museums are also fascinating with live shows and some of the exhibits. In this article, we wish to take you through the top 10 science museums the US boasts. Let’s dive in!

10 Top- rated museums in the US

1. Center of Science and Industry, Columbus

center of science and industry, columbus

Center of Science and Industry, Columbus

Starting our list off is the incredible COSI (Center of Science and Industry) which is considered and ranked one of the best Science Museums in the US. It is fascinating how traveling can for sure widen our horizons and thinking beyond our comfort zones. The Museum itself was born out of inspiration from Sandy Hallock after he visited the Museum of Science and industry in Chicago (another iconic science museum on our list) while on his business trip. And from the simple statement to his wife on his return, Columbus today has this great Museum.

Since COSI opened doors to the public in 1964, it has recorded over 33 million visitors so far. With over 300 exhibits, there is a wide variety of both permanent and traveling exhibits to encounter. It’s almost impossible to experience the whole Museum on a single day. Visitors marvel at the shows that depict enlightening topics about Energy, how technology has evolved, and Space.
The planetarium in the Museum is such a great place to experience a more visual display of the solar system and how it has evolved. The giant screen theater spices up the whole COSI visit with the immersive experience of the giant and high-resolution screen. You sure will walk out of this place with a great appreciation and knowledge of science, culture, nature, space, name them.

Aside from that, there is a dinosaur gallery to wonder about the existence of dinosaurs. Here you will get an up-close of some of the walking dinosaur models and some of the spectacular displays of their casts. The COSI is a great place to discover the life and culture of Cuba. Cuba is one of the unique islands in the world, with 4000 islands where more than 11 million people call home.

Persons of all ages get excited being here while experiencing what the Museum has to offer. Little science champions are well catered for in the Kidspace, where they can explore the barn, farmers market, play in a treehouse, and do hands-on water activities.

2. Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

museum of science & industry

museum of science & industry

Steps away from Lake Michigan, we find the beautiful Hyde Park neighborhood where the great Museum of Science and Industry is located. Being one of the largest science centers in the Western Hemisphere makes it a place worth paying a visit while in the Windy City.

The Museum dates back to the 1893 world expo, which brought together some of the exceptional scientific minds, such as Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. A walk in the Museum will certainly burst your scientific curiosity and imagination with the 35,000 and more awe-inspiring artifacts, including the U-505 submarine, a German U-boat captured during world war two. To add to that, the Museum houses hundreds of exhibits that depict how certain phenomena work in Science and industry.

Some of the popular exhibits by most visitors include the Toymaker 3000, an interactive robot-powered toy factory. The science storm is another exhibit where you can control a 40-foot Tornado while exploring different science experiments and different magical places. A more profound connection with Science is evident with the hands-on experiences where one can dissect a cow’s eye, develop and come up with actual products in the Fab lab, among other thrilling activities.

To complete your visit to the Museum, you could get stunning visuals on live demonstrations in the Giant dome theater, where you can watch films such as Antarctica, Dark universe, volcanoes, among others. Weekdays will be perfect timing to experience Science in the Museum if you don’t like crowds.

3. Museum of Science, Boston

museum of science, boston

museum of science, boston

This is another iconic science museum located in Boston, Massachusetts. The huge Museum is a science museum and an indoor Zoo that houses more than 100 rescue animals. Over the years, the Museum has brought Science, Mathematics, and technology into action through the vast programs, shows, and exhibits. Everything here surely does capture your attention, and more so, there is something to love even with little interest in Science.

With over 700 unique and interactive exhibits, each touches on a new topic. Natural history, Science, outer space, the physics of light, and technology are exciting topics to grab some knowledge. The lighthouse exhibit is a must-visit for most visitors to explore the science behind the correlation between light and colors.

There is so much in the Museum to explore in a day. How about an experience of the most advanced digital theater in New England? The Charles Haden planetarium is an ideal place to move with technology. In addition to that, the discovery center, which features a geological field station and regularly scheduled experiments, is dedicated for kids to learn and discover more about Science while still young.

The Museum is extra to dedicate an entire wing to the Science of engineering, where visitors learn about problem-solving approaches in real-life situations and innovations. IMAX, 4-D educational films, live presentations, and summer courses are also an entire experience in the wing. The butterfly garden and the thrill ride 360 are excellent ways of ending your day in this great Museum.

4. Franklin Institute, Philadelphia

franklin institute, philadelphia

Franklin Institute, Philadelphia

At the heart of the beautiful historic city of Philadelphia sits this well-known Science Center. The Franklin Institute is named in honor of Benjamin Franklin, a famous inventive American Scientist and resident in Philadelphia. The Institute serves as both a science museum and a Center of Science education and research facility.

The giant heart walkthrough exhibit has sold this science museum worldwide. The ability to crawl through the heart and arteries, simulated open-heart surgery, massive EGK machine, and more poses a pretty fascinating experience that most visitors delight in. Additionally, “Your brain” is another new and exciting exhibit that features a two-story neural network climbing structure and numerous activities to engage in.

There are various exhibits and live science shows in the Fels planetarium that are awe-inspiring. Science Park is also an outdoor space for families and friends to relax and unwind. At the same time, kids get an excellent introduction to Science through storytelling, fictional characters, and the captivating superhero tableau.

Holt and Miller’s observatory is an ideal place to take a breather. Here you can gaze at the beautiful views of the Philadelphia skyline and further, optically safe real-time and direct observation of the solar system using the 10-inch Zeiss refractor telescope.

5. Exploratorium, San Francisco

the exploratorium at pier 15

The Exploratorium at Pier 15

If you are watching for experiencing the magic of Science and having fun simultaneously, then Exploratorium is the place to be. At Pier 15 on the Embarcadero, we find this popular tourist destination in San Francisco where Science, human perception, and art are incredibly intertwined. Persons of all ages hardly feel like leaving the Museum for the hands-on activities that carry away their minds all day.

With the hundreds of different interactive exhibits, it’s impossible to watch without touching on something. You will surely love to dance with your own shadow, feel a tornado, magically stop time, capture a wave, explore your mind, mix colors, and break light apart, among other experiences that seem impossible in daily life. While engaging in all these experiences, you will learn and investigate some scientific phenomena in their relation.

Dare to sip from a toilet bowl drinking fountain in the “a sip of conflict exhibit” or explore perception, learning, cognitive science of emotion, and communication in the mind exhibit. But be sure not to leave the Exploratorium without a walk in the Tactile Dome. Take a challenge to see with the sense of touch in this exhibit with total darkness. Not forgetting the six spacious indoor and outdoor galleries, Exploratorium should definitely be on your bucket list if you’re planning on a visit to California.

6. California Science Center, Los Angeles

california science center

california science center

And yet another top attraction in California, the California Science Center in Exposition Park, is mind-blowing to both the young and old. Essentially, this is a place to create fun and memorable experiences with a wide array of different scientific phenomena. And on top of everything, the free admission to the Museum attracts the crowds here more.

The Museum features fun and engaging permanent exhibits such as the air and space, ecosystems, creative world, and human life. The air and space exhibit features several artifacts and hands-on activities geared towards how humans design aircraft and space crafts for particular tasks. The special exhibitions are also a thing to find something new and exciting on every visit.
Away from the exhibits, you could also create an immersive experience of the 3D movies in IMAX or visit other attractions nearby in the park.

7. National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC

national air and space museum, washington dc

national air and space museum, Washington dc

This Museum in the capital city of the US is an absolutely fantastic spot to learn and enjoy your time to the brim. If you are anticipating a cost-effective place and a way to spend your day, this is the right destination as it offers free admission to all visitors.

With over 60,000 plane and space objects and historic photographs and materials on display, the Museum is typical for some enlightening topics on the history of flight, astronomy, planetary science, and space travel. An example of the 190 wright flyer, the first successful flight in the world of a heavier-than-air powered flying machine, is among the objects you find here.

Visiting the Museum means you get a chance to explore some of the exhibits, live science demonstrations, interesting 3D movies at the IMAX Theater, and storytelling for kids under the age of eight. And if you’re visiting on Fridays and Saturdays, make time to observe the lunar crater and phases of Venus at the Phoebe Waterman Haas public observatory.

8. Discovery Place, Charlotte

the world alive exhibit in discovery place

The world alive exhibit in Discovery place

On your visit to North Carolina, you want to spare some time and take a trip around Discovery place. With a focus on bringing science, nature, and design together, the Discovery place boosts your daily understanding of science. The Museum features three brands; The Discovery place located in the heart of uptown Charlotte, Discovery place Nature in Freedom Park, and Discovery place kids in Rockingham and Huntersville. The discovery place brand features different interactive exhibits such as the “Apollo: when we went to the moon,” labs where you can design, create and innovate things, and live shows.

The Discovery place nature is geared towards nature and animals interactive exhibits. Visitors check out the collection of insects and arthropods, play in a creative environment, and further discover the world of animals who live underground, among other hands-on activities. Kids, on the other hand, would exceptionally be thrilled in Discovery place kids. Here you find exhibits and many hands-on activities such as crafting and experiments that are more than fun. The puppet shows, dance parties, and live shows that change from month to month are something that kids will find much fun.

9. Liberty Science Center, Jersey City, New Jersey

liberty science center, jersey city

liberty science center, jersey city

Jersey City is known for its unique, extensive transit and transportation systems. However, it also houses some of the top destinations that attract crowds every year. Liberty Science Center is one of the spots to have tremendous fun and learn in the process. At Liberty state park, we find this Museum which houses some of the interactive and fun exhibits.

Infinity climbers is an exhibit not to miss while here. You’ll find an adventurous play space with multiple routes to explore, and further, it is the first suspended climbing space in the world. Other minds-on exhibitions you find here include Pixel art game, honeybees, and Sue; the T-rex experience features a replica of SUE’s skeleton with a length of 40 feet and height of 13 feet at the hip. And when you get bored by the exhibits, walk into Jennifer Chalsty planetarium, the biggest planetarium in the western hemisphere. Enjoy an 89-foot full-dome view of the distant galaxies and the night sky.

10. Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston

houston museum of natural science, houston

Houston Museum of Natural Science, Houston

Wrapping up our list is the incredible Houston Museum of Natural Science. On the northern border of Hermann Park in Houston is this great Museum that focuses on preserving and advancing knowledge in natural science.

But what exactly do we find here? Houston Museum features various exhibits ranging from permanent to special exhibitions. You also get a chance to watch live shows in the Burke Baker Planetarium and get amazing views of the longest Lunar eclipse of the century at the George Observatory. At the Cockrell butterfly Center, visitors can enjoy stunning views of the tropical rainforest and the numerous butterflies that call the habitat home.


Numerous science museums in the US bring creativity, curiosity, fun, and science together. However, we did our best to pick some of the top-rated Museums in the entire state. If you have keenly read through the article, you can indeed agree that there is more than fun in Science and the numerous hands-on activities in various museums. Plan to visit one if not all of the museums and enjoy in-person to the fullest.

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