I recently took a day trip with my toddler to the Tellus Science Museum. We made an adventure of it by packing our lunch and carpooling with friends.

A full-scale, 120,000-square-foot museum, Tellus offers much for families to see and do. Whether your kids are new to science or already conducting experiments at home and at school, Tellus can help them better appreciate science and even develop a love for the subject. The museum has four main areas: the Fossil Gallery, Science in Motion Gallery, the Weinman Mineral Gallery, and the “amazing” Collins Family My Big Backyard. There is something for everyone to explore.

The mission here is to “engage, educate and inspire visitors to make scientific connections through dynamic exhibits and enriching experiences.”

We started in the Fossil Gallery. In fact, we took two full spins because the two 4-year-olds in our group were so amazed by the dinosaurs. You can stare straight into the mouth of a huge Tyrannosaurus rex! Next, we came upon the Science in Motion Gallery, where you can take great pictures wearing an astronaut suit. You’ll also find vintage transportation vehicles, including automobiles and bicycles, and even a 1950’s helicopter and a replica of the Wright Brothers’ original 1903 airplane, the “Wright Flyer.”

Because we had younger kids, we took a break after about two hours. We ventured to the covered picnic shelter, just a short walk from the museum, to rest and regroup.

After lunch, we visited the My Big Backyard gallery, where everyone had a ball. This is a terrific hands-on area for exploring such things as light, sound, magnets and electricity. Our kids had so much fun that we had to drag them out!

Next, in the Mineral Gallery, devoted to gems and geology, we found lots of sparkle. Here you can learn about natural stones that are found in products we use every day, from foods to building materials.

As our visit ended, we popped into the museum store, where my toddler chose a dinosaur ruler – both cute and educational.

On our next trip to Tellus, we hope to spend more time in the “gem panning” and “fossil dig” areas and experience a planetarium movie. There are four different planetarium “shows” daily, such as the “live tour of the night sky,” and films about topics ranging from black holes to the planets in our solar system.

– Caren Lightfoot

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