The Toledo Museum of Art houses more than 30,000 wide-ranging works of art, including important pieces by van Gogh, Matisse, and Rembrandt; a glass collection; and masterworks ranging back into antiquity. This deal gets two adults and their under-18 offspring a yearlong family membership, which includes admission to exhibits as well as members-only special events and a subscription to the arTMAtters newsletter. Members can also enroll teens aged 14 and older in discounted welded-sculpture workshops (such as Welded Sculpture: Arc and TIG, $95 for members) and get 10% off children's books and other purchases at the Museum Store, providing flammable materials for his or her biblioclasmic coming-of-age ceremony. Check out a full list of benefits here.
Located on the placid Toledo Riverfront, the Imagination Station unfolds over seven splendiferous Learning Worlds, each with its own multisensory science exhibits designed to inspire and educate visitors. The family membership grants unlimited access to all exhibits and attractions, as well as special members-only events, discounts, and entrance to 350 Association of Science-Technology Centers included in the reciprocal membership benefit program.
It's common knowledge that there are five great lakes: Superior, Michigan, Huron, Ontario, and Erie. At the National Museum of the Great Lakes, though, visitors delve much deeper into the national significance and history of the famed bodies of water. Exhibits cover topics such as the lakes' role in commercial shipping routes, area lighthouses, and the shipwrecks that lie deep below the water's surface. Visitors can also explore the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald in Lake Superior and learn about Lake Ontario's "Queen of the Lakes." A big part of the fun is exploring the adjacent museum ship, the Col. James M. Schoomaker, which offers even more hands-on opportunities to learn about local maritime history and a welcome place to practice your ship horn impression (open May 1 through October 31).
With more than 30 interactive exhibits and activities, Kids 'N' Stuff Children's Museum provides a safe environment for youngsters to exercise their imaginations and bodies. A veritable microcosm of the world lives between the museum's walls. For instance, a grocery exhibit stocked with produce and frozen goods allows children to fill up their carts, run the checkout lane, and refuse expired coupons. An 8'x16' climbing wall challenges youth to literally reach for new heights of achievement, and an art room equipped with an accessible easel and large-handled paintbrushes invites them to figuratively jump for the sky. As a further enticement to the arts, a drama area encourages wee ones to create puppet shows and dress up in costumes.
Kids 'N' Stuff Children's Museum coordinates with area schools to incorporate and add to the themes from the local education curriculum, helping to reinforce the most important lessons kids are learning. Like NASA's recruitment department, this nonprofit's focus is on children aged 10 months to 10 years.
The University of Michigan Museum of Natural History showcases a wealth of knowledge about the living world with focus on anthropology, zoology, and paleontology. On the Museum's second floor, the hall of evolution houses fossils and dioramas of dinosaurs, prehistoric whales, and mastodons. On the third and fourth floors, a wildlife gallery explores Michigan's native flora and fauna through taxidermy mounts and habitat scenes, anthropology displays feature archeological finds from around the world, and geology exhibits highlight colorful amethyst clusters and sparkling pyrite crystals. The butterfly garden provides a living example of the natural world. Its 55 herbaceous perennials—including goldenrod, black-eyed Susan and spicebush—attract butterflies through all four of their life stages, from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to fully grown winged beauties.
Extending its reach beyond the galaxy, the Museum's recently renovated planetarium projects the night sky on a dome. Sitting under the curved screen, visitors can travel to the most distant reaches of the universe. As part of its efforts to get families involved in hands-on learning, the Museum also runs weekend demonstrations, leads dinosaur tours, and partners with local libraries for its family reading and science program.