Don't let anyone rob you of your imagination, your creativity, or your curiosity. It's your place in the world; it's your life.
Mae Jemison

First black woman astronaut in space

hands on components

  • NEW! Kite-flying digital activity on the dome ceiling
  • Rube Goldberg music machine, where you can trigger a series of cascading actions
  • Build-It, our building system where children create unique structures using panels drilled with a standard-size hole pattern and nuts and bolts
  • Mechanical Peg Clock, where you work with others to make the clock tick
  • Newly designed vehicles with roller-blade wheels you create and test on our 37-foot test course
  • NEW! Two-story rope net created by artist Manca Ahlin – climb on up and slide back down on a corkscrew slide
  • Parachute-launching station with new parachutes and targets
  • Race-car track you can custom build
  • Ball Bounce Array – push all the balls up into an array and drop them with a satisfying release of a lever

the art

  • Pulley Slowly Rolling Bop by Henry Loustau, a hand-operated roller coaster for balls that turn, loop and jump through hoops on a wire above your head.
  • Laced Bridge and Ramp by Manca Ahlin
  • Avalanche by Ned Kahn
  • Rock Music by Ned Kahn, found in a hallway outside the Garage
  • Wooden Mirror by Daniel Rozin, found in hallway outside the Garage

tips for before and after your visit

play with real stuff.

How does what you are doing in the Garage connect with your everyday life? Where do you find wheels and simple machines like the pulley system at home?

try new things.

If you have visited us before think of new ways to approach old favorites. Experience the pull — how do the magnets work in the Magnetic Car Park? Where else you have used magnets? Explore history — before the Children’s Museum was housed in this building, this was the Buhl Planetarium with a domed ceiling. The Zeiss projector rose from the center of the floor to project the sky shows. What else do you see that might be part of the original planetarium design?

work together.

The Garage is a place where visitors come together to experience hands-on learning. Build and race a car, design a wheel, or drop a parachute. During your exploration ask these questions. What is going to happen? What did you observe that happened? Why do you think that happened? How can you change what happened?

collect data.

There are many places within the Garage where you can keep track of your trials. Record the landing spots for your parachutes, analyze the path of your ball in the ball maze, and compare the speed of your wheel designs. Did you see patterns in your data? What conclusions did you make? What would you do to further your investigation?

How does what you are doing in the Garage connect with your everyday life? Where do you find wheels and simple machines like the pulley system at home?

If you have visited us before think of new ways to approach old favorites. Experience the pull — how do the magnets work in the Magnetic Car Park? Where else you have used magnets? Explore history — before the Children’s Museum was housed in this building, this was the Buhl Planetarium with a domed ceiling. The Zeiss projector rose from the center of the floor to project the sky shows. What else do you see that might be part of the original planetarium design?

The Garage is a place where visitors come together to experience hands-on learning. Build and race a car, design a wheel, or drop a parachute. During your exploration ask these questions. What is going to happen? What did you observe that happened? Why do you think that happened? How can you change what happened?

There are many places within the Garage where you can keep track of your trials. Record the landing spots for your parachutes, analyze the path of your ball in the ball maze, and compare the speed of your wheel designs. Did you see patterns in your data? What conclusions did you make? What would you do to further your investigation?

design matters

Using sustainable practices in this space also helps to retain its garage-like authenticity. Many of its original surfaces were kept intact during the Museum’s 2004 expansion, including the brick walls and the projection screen of the former Buhl Planetarium.

The tire chairs are examples of upcycling, repurposing discarded items into something of worth.