Top Children's Museum: The Thinkery

BY: Heidi Gollub | Jan 22, 2014

Austin's top children's museum, the Thinkery, is a tinkerer's paradise. It’s a veritable wonderland of hands-on exploration for builders, makers, and artists of all ages to come and learn through play.

Where and What Is It?

Located in East Austin's Mueller community, the 40,000 square foot Thinkery is equal parts science and technology center and children’s museum. Focusing on “STEAM” learning—science, technology, engineering, art, and math—the unique museum offers eight interactive exhibit galleries, each hosting a variety of engaging activities that are sure to align with your child’s interests.

Recommended Exhibits

Innovators’ Workshop: Here young inventors to design and build to their heart's content, with 2,500 square feet of materials and tools at their disposal. There are recyclables for crafting, string for weaving, and do-dads for connecting.  

The Thinkery

Light Lab: This exhibit offers a rainbow of activities, from a giant Lite-Brite to mini building blocks with colorful LEDs. It's fun in the dark, when you've got lasers and shadows to play with!

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Spark Shop: This is a destination for older children to take on more advanced design challenges, like making foam airplanes to launch in the projectile range. Future engineers will enjoy this space created with them in mind.

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Currents: This is a watery science exhibit where your child will definitely get wet. Possibly very wet.  As in, you should probably bring spare clothes along wet. Visitors to this gallery can't resist making waves playing water drums and piping tunes on the hydraulophone. Hint: You may want to save this upstairs exhibit for last.

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These galleries are just a taste of all the Thinkery has to offer. There is also a fun story time nook, neat playgrounds both indoors and out, a chicken coop for kids, a Kitchen Lab, an outside area for water play, and more exploring. 

Important Information

    • Contact: VISIT WEBSITE
    • Phone number: (512) 469-6200
    • Address: 1830 Simond Avenue, Austin, TX, 78723
    • Hours: Monday Closed, Tuesday 10am–5pm, Wednesday 10am–8pm, Thursday and Friday 10am–5pm, Saturday and Sunday 10am–6pm
    • Price: $12 (FREE for kids under 24 months)
    • Community Nights: Entry by donation (suggested $1) every Wednesday from 4-8pm
    • Public transportation: Capital Metro 37, 135, and 350
    • Parking: Up to three hours free in the McBee Street District Garage during general admission operating hours. More info on site.
    • Best time to visit: According to Thinkery staff, the best time to visit is on weekday afternoons. No Tour Tuesdays are less crowded, as no school groups are scheduled on these days. To best plan your outing, read the Thinkery's Tips for Your Visit and The Statesman's Interactive Guide to the Thinkery.

 

Free Fun in Austin
BY: Heidi Gollub