The Children’s Museum of Houston is a museum based in Houston’s Museum District in Texas, designed to inspire and encourage learning for children through play. One of 190 children's museums in the country, the Museum was established in 1984 with the aim of make early childhood development a priority within the local community and further afield.
Originally opened in the Blaffer Gallery of the University of Houston, the Museum moved properties several times due to increasing growth and popularity and is currently located at 1500 Binz in the heart of the Museum District in Houston. Designed by Robert Venturi, the colorful facility has 90,000 square feet of space featuring an array of hands-on exhibits, interactive displays, and educational programs and sees more than 1,100,000 visitors every year.
The Museum features 14 hands-on, interactive exhibits for children of all ages. Exhibits range from cultural presentations such as ‘Cum Yah Gullah’ and ‘Seasons of Sharing’ to creative thinking displays like ‘How Does it Work,' Invention Convention’ and ‘Eco Station,' and engineering exhibits such as ‘Shocks and Jolts’, and ‘Flow Works.’
Cum Yah Gullah is an exhibition dedicated to providing a cultural understanding of the Gullah people, a West African culture that endured the hardships of slavery until the 1950s. The displays aim to revive the arts and practices of the Gullah people and their traditions, explore the geography of the Sea Islands where they lived, and develop an appreciation for one’s own culture and background.
Shocks and Jolts is a hands-on exhibition focused on the wonders of electricity with the aim of building a better understanding of electromagnetism and the properties, generation, and uses of power. Exhibits include an electromagnetic launcher, and electromagnetic chain, and a ring launcher, as well as musical benches, circuit challenges, and snap circuits where visitors can build their own circuits.
Season of Sharing celebrates the diverse variety of cultures that call Houston home with a vibrant, multi-colored display of block-long neighborhood of houses each celebrating the holidays in a different way according to their culture, including Christmas, Hanukkah, Ramadan, and Diwali. Visitors learn about various cultures around the world through hands-on activities, exciting workshops, and fun performances.
The Chevron-Houston Texans Maker Annex is a unique place in the Museum where children can showcase their inventions and constructions. This space offers a range of resources that enable children to create and innovate, including 3D printing, animation, circuit bending, casting, building and soldering circuits, laser cutting, robotics, development, and programming with Arduino and Scratch.
In the Cyberchase exhibit, children enter Cyberspace through a special portal to explore some of their favorite cyber sites, such as the Grim Wreaker, the Control Central, and Poddleville. Kids also get to help the CyberSquad protect this virtual universe from the evil ‘Hacker’ while at the same time exploring math concepts such as algebra, fractions, geometry, probability, and place value.
EcoStation is a hands-on, indoor/outdoor environmental exhibit that offers visitors the opportunity to explore environmental issues and engage in ecological studies in a variety of diverse hands-on activities. Visitors can explore native plant garden with a pond, a lovely shady woodland area, and a research pavilion. Interactive activities include insect collecting, footprint identification, leaf rubbings, and stream bed creation. Powered by solar energy, EcoStation also offers weekly educational programs that include keeping a nature journal, decomposition observations, water quality testing, soil type explorations and bird feeders, among others.
FlowWorks is an interactive exhibit, which explores the forces and properties of water and the fascinating concept of hydropower. This fun, hands-on display requires kids to use their hands in the water to fill an 18-foot tall cauldron with water as a reward for their ingenuity and hard work.
How Does it Work is a multi-level exhibit that attempts to answer interesting concepts and science questions such as how sound or electricity travels and how simple machines are used every day through hands-on, investigative experiences. Exhibits include the ‘Science Station,' the ‘Kid Lift,' ‘Amazing Airways,' ‘Build Your Own Coaster’ and ‘Rig-ama-jig.’
Invention Convention features a workshop where kids can become inventors by creating, concocting, and constructing contraptions with a variety of gadgets and gizmos. The workshop is home to bins of spare parts, schematics, instruments, half-finished contraptions and project tables where children can enjoy facilitated, hands-on experiments and mini-workshops. Special exhibits in the Invention Convention include Cranks and Cams, Test Tracks, Wind Towers, and Stomp Rockets.
Inventor’s Workshop is a facilitated workshop space where children can take part in a variety of creative thinking and invention workshops and invigorating activities under the guided care of ‘resident inventors’ played by the Museum staff.
The Children’s Museum of Houston offers a diverse range of educational programs, workshops, and classes for children of all ages, including a Classroom Curriculum, the STEM maker challenge, Read Along all Year, Explore Abilities Day, Flip Literacy Program, and a variety of community outreach programs, among others.
1500 Binz St, Houston, TX 77004, Phone: 713-522-1138