Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum – Wednesday Activity Review

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is this week’s Wednesday Activity Review. Each week Ann Arbor with Kids is reviewing an activity for kids in elementary school.

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is one of my favorite family places to visit in Ann Arbor. Last week my daughter and I visited the Hands-On Museum with my sister, 16 month old niece, and my mother. 

First Floor

We started on the first floor exploring the ball ramp and Block Party. While my daughter and niece played, I was intrigued to see that they are renovating the building house. I can’t wait to see what exhibits are there when it’s completed.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - First Floor - Building House Under Construction

Preschool Gallery

It was so fun to visit my niece who is the same age as my daughter was the first time we visited the Hands-On Museum. While the preschool gallery has changed quite a bit since 2007, my niece loved the water table and fire truck just like my daughter had at her age.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Preschool Gallery - Fire Truck

My niece also loved exploring the Engineers on a Roll exhibit which was added after my daughter outgrew the Preschool Gallery. My favorite part of the Preschool Gallery was watching my niece try to decide if she could walk over the glass window in the floor to the balls below. She’d stop before the floor, take a tentative step onto the glass, and celebrate that she made it across. 

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Preschool Gallery- Engineers on a Roll

As the big kid in the Preschool Gallery, my daughter enjoyed collecting the stray balls from Engineers on a Roll and playing with the Archimedes Screw in the water area which used to be in the big kid water area. She also played with the light table and translucent tiles. 

Second Floor

On the second floor, my daughter had to take a turn on the climbing wall of different rock layers.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Second Floor - Rock Wall

One of her favorites has always been the bubble cage. I was very impressed during our visit to see one girl who was able to get the cage all the way to the top with a bubble in tact. My daughter was able to replicate the feat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much success in all of our visits. They must have had really good bubble solution last week.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum - Second Floor - Bubble Cage

Third and Fourth Floors

The third and fourth floors of the Hands-On Museum are easy to miss. Both floors are small with only a couple of exhibits. The third floor shows different types of light and is on the dark side. If your child doesn’t like the dark, it may be best to skip this level.

The fourth floor covers broadcasting. My niece had a ton of fun dancing and watching her shadow move on the screen. My daughter enjoyed experimenting with the green screen – particularly how it made me disappear since I happened to be wearing a green shirt.

Visiting the Hands-On Musuem

Getting to Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is at 220 E. Ann St. We often park at the parking garage at Ann & Ashley on many visits. On this visit we parked at the Ann Arbor Farmers Market since we were meeting for lunch at Zingerman’s

Admission

Admission to the Hands-On Museum is $12 for adults and children (babies under 2 are free). We have a Hands-On Museum Membership so that we can visit whenever we want. A Hands-On Museum membership includes admission for grandparents, so my mom was free on our membership. My sister has a Grand Rapids Public Museum membership which provided her with free reciprocal admission to the Hands-On Museum.

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Anna Mae

Anna Mae owns & operates Ann Arbor with Kids, a website dedicated to Family Activities in Ann Arbor. My husband and I moved to Ann Arbor in 2003 and our daughter joined the family in 2006.

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