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10 Best Science Museums Deliver Smart Fun for Families.Academy of Science Inside Out Discoveries M. Perisco  Summer family vacations offer productive and engaging ways to share time and “get smart” together at one of the American Mensa Society’s favorite museums.

Here’s the scoop. For parents or grandparents creating a “smart” urban adventure just got a bit easier. The American Mensa Society has released their own list of the top 10 science museums in the US and I am passing it along because the list is varied and offers great suggestions for adding extra vacation value to summer plans.
Who is on the list? The survey of select Mensa members regarding science museums in North America revealed the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., to be their favorite. The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University came in second.

Lisa Van Gemert, Mensa's Gifted Youth Specialist said, "Our nation's science museums are a treasure for families looking for ways to keep bright minds active all year round." 

According to Van Gemert, “Hands-on learning and the variety of exhibits were just a couple of factors members considered when choosing the top 10. There was one common trait that the respondents felt was vital - the interactive aspect of the museum. Comments ranged from innovative leader in hands-on exhibits, to everything is hands-on. My grandkids loved it!”

Here’s the deal! More than half of the museums on the Mensa “smart list” are also part of a CityPASS destination experience. 

The members surveyed were split into two respondent groups - educators and scientists and asked to choose their top 10 from a list of 30 museums spread across the US. The top-10 list of science museums, as selected by Mensa members includes:Chicagoe Museum of Science and Industry hands-on Fun CityPASS

1.National Air and Space Museum (Washington D.C.) – Family days, hands-on discovery stations, and five-story-high IMAX theater.

2.Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University (Philadelphia) - Towering dinosaur skeletons, a tropical butterfly garden and hands-on discovery centers. 

3.Museum of Science and Industry (Chicago) - interactive exhibits and live science experiences, and connection between the human mind, body and spirit.  

4.California Academy of Sciences (San Francisco) - aquarium, planetarium, and 40,000 live animals beneath a living roof. 

5.Bradbury Science Museum (Los Alamos, N.M.) – A microscope imagining station, geometry playground, and Curiosity on Mars. h

6.The Museum of Discovery (Little Rock, Ark) – An interactive math hall, extreme weather encounter, and a WOW! Gallery. 

7.California Science Center (Los Angeles) - Hands-on activity stations, “technoscape” encounters, and Space Shuttle Endeavour. Museum of Science Hands-on Family Fun  in Boston with CityPASS

8.Exploratorium (San Francisco) - Tactile excursions, creative hands-on exploration posts, and the Bay Observatory.  

9.Museum of Science (Boston)  - Butterfly garden, interactive presentations, and colossal fossils.  

10.COSI Center of Science & Industry (Columbus, Ohio) – Hands-on space activities, “big” science discoveries, and WOSU TV & radio.  

To view the full details visit 

Bonus points: Take time to look at where you will see oodles of ways to quell the “I’m bored blues.” 

About Mensa. American Mensa is an organization open to anyone who scores in the top two percent on an accepted, standardized intelligence test. Mensa has more than 57,000 members in the United States and more than 110,000 members globally.

Information provided by Mensa. Images courtesy Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University and CityPASS. Copyright updated 2017.