Whether you’re looking for an opportunity to learn more about the world around you, or give kids the experience of learning through play, Rochester MN has several wonderful places to experience science. It’s no surprise that there are so many science activities in Rochester MN as we have an exciting history of innovation in our city. (Our city's tagline? "America's City of Care & Innovation.") Our community still places a lot of emphasis on innovating and providing opportunities to learn in exciting ways. Observe your environment, dive deeper into the world, and invigorate your minds by exploring all things science!
Quarry Hill Nature Center is a biologist’s dream. Eight miles of hiking and biking trails meander their way throughout the 329 acres of Quarry Hill Park. Bring a picnic in the summer time, or rent cross-country skis or snowshoes for a winter expedition! The Exploration Hall in the Nature Center showcases live animals and exhibits, and they also offer Discovery Packs filled with tools, maps and games to help explore the Park. Summer camps and other events are offered throughout the year for all ages!
Location: 701 Silver Creek Road NE, Rochester, MN
Cost: Free for trails and Exploration Hall. Fees for equipment rentals can be found here.
STEAM Lab Discovery Center
S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) is an excellent way for kids to problem-solve, develop critical-thinking skills, and use their creativity in a fun and enriching environment. STEAM Lab Discovery Center in Rochester offers programs for children ages 5 through 16, including parent-led sessions for the youngest scientists. Regular programming includes Random Acts of Science on Tuesdays where you’ll get a “grab bag of exciting science demonstrations” and The Little Explorers Club on Thursdays. The Little Explorers Club is a parent-led open activity session, designed for ages 3-6, that lets your curious child experiment with easy and fun projects. Sessions can also be booked and tailored for your large group or birthday party!
Location: 4270 Maine Avenue SE, Suite 300, Rochester, MN
Cost: $10-$15 per session
Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester
“Sparking children’s learning through play” is the mission of Minnesota Children’s Museum-Rochester, and it does just that! Children of all ages will love the hands-on displays and activities available at the Rochester location. With quarterly rotating exhibits, there is always something new to explore! Recent exhibits have included “Tinker Toy: Build Your Imagination” giving children the opportunity to learn and innovate through building. Another recent exhibit is “Framed: Step Into Art” where paintings leap off the canvas and create immersive environments for visitors to explore. Permanent exhibits include Water Connections, Energy Fun House and Power Up where you can try your hand at power-generation and learn the science behind energy and how our homes are powered.
Location: 1642 N. Broadway St., Suite A, River Center Plaza, Rochester, MN
Cost: $5.50 Admission for ages 1 and up. Yearly memberships available.
Minnesota Children's Museum- Rochester | AB-PHOTOGRAPHY.US
Cascade Meadows and Environmental Science Center offers informal and formal learning environments, both indoors and out! Check out the interactive exhibits in their sustainable building as well as the engaging wetland system as you learn how to conserve water and energy!
Location: 2900 19th St. NW, Rochester MN
Cascade Meadows and Environmental Science Center | www.olivejuicestudios.com
Rochester Public Library
“Check” this out – the Rochester Public Library has ready-made science kits filled with supplies for an experiment along with relevant books and media! And to make it even more convenient, these kits can be easily reserved via the online catalog.
Location: 101 2nd St. SE, Rochester, MN
Zumbro Valley Audubon
The mission of the Zumbro Valley Audubon is to connect people with nature. You’ll have the opportunity to learn fun facts about birds and their habitats on the website, and then take the learning outside by participating in one of the free field trips or bird walks open to the public.
Check the online calendar for locations of events.
Mobile Science Lab
The Southeast Service Cooperative (SCC) is focused on creating a future for learners and leaders. They offer the Mobile Science Lab –which can be reserved for schools as well as private groups! The trailer can be picked up with your own vehicle and contains all the supplies and equipment necessary for super cool science experiments for older students.
Location: 210 Wood Lake Dr. SE, Rochester, MN
Cost: $175 for SSC school districts and $225 for non-SSC districts.
Whitewater State Park
Located in the small town of Altura, Whitewater State Park is only a 25 mile drive from downtown Rochester MN. Their events calendar offers a variety of options to enjoy and learn about nature and the science of our environment. From monarch tagging, trout fishing, nature time at Whitewater Beach, and campfire astronomy – you’ll undoubtedly have some fun while learning at the same time! Check the events calendar for all the opportunities.
Location: Whitewater State Park, 9041 MN-74, Altura, MN 55910
There truly is something for scientists of all ages to hone their problem-solving skills in Rochester MN! So what are you waiting for? Check out these venues and opportunities, and start sciencing!