The Children’s Museum of Houston is all-new and now twice as big! Rated the No. 1 children's museum in the U.S. by Parents magazine, the Children's Museum is A Playground for Your Mind™. The Museum is packed with 90,000 square feet of innovative, interactive bilingual exhibits for kids, ages birth to 12 years, housed in a whimsical Robert Venturi-designed building.
Free Family Nights are offered every Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m. courtesy of The Wortham Foundation, Inc. and Kathrine and the late John P. McGovern, M.D.
Permanent exhibits include:
Fierce forces run wild and it’s up to you to tame them! Harness the power of water as FlowWorks bursts from the floodgates of your imagination into reality. This exhibit unleashes a tsunami of wet, wild fun! By using water as a medium for children to explore science and physics, they become researchers in their own right, investigating the awe-inspiring complexity of the movement of fluids. FlowWorks provides hands-on opportunities to experience and manipulate the concepts of energy flows through the medium of water.
This state-of-the-art exhibit dives into the forces and properties of water through currents, vortices and rapids, exploring the fascinating concept of fluid dynamics. It was designed with the quintessential question in mind: “What can it do?” From the big splash when a gargantuan cauldron empties into a reservoir 18 feet below, to the free-standing exhibit pieces, FlowWorks is off the hook! Water becomes a metaphor for all types of energy flow, whether it’s data, electricity, or motion. Energy flow is manipulated, controlled, stored and released using water as a tangible object for exploration.
Welcome to a bustling kid metropolis where children start businesses, hold jobs, and elect their peers into city government. Kidtropolis, USA runs on the premise of a city for kids, run by kids! It’s a thriving capital where kids learn about money by starting a business of their own, choosing and securing a business loan, and taking on the tasks of real-life jobs earning Kidtropolis money.
Designed with the quintessential question in mind: “Where does it come from?” and built from the ground up by ideas from Houston kids, Kidtropolis, USA is a city where kids are in control. They have the opportunity to vote on important issues in hourly elections held in Kidtropolis City Hall, choose to work and earn a paycheck at over 25 different jobs throughout the city, decide where to “spend” their hard earned cash using their very own ATM Kid Card, or save it in a savings account. In this “real world” context, kids explore and experiment with sophisticated economic concepts. The economic system in Kidtropolis, USA closely mimics that of the real world providing kids with the opportunity to practice making “grownup” choices.
Leap, jump, crawl and climb up CMH’s mighty new exhibit PowerPlay. This one-of-a-kind exhibit is an innovative and interactive approach to children’s health and physical education, where kids track their bodies’ responses to physical challenges. PowerPlay focuses on getting kids active and making them aware exercise is fun and good for you! It is the result of a partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award from the National Center of Research Resources (NCRR).
Anchored by a monumental three-story climbing installation, the Power Tower, kids defy physical challenges climbing up and down different levels and engaging in their own personal investigation about how their bodies respond to these challenges. Designed with the quintessential question in mind: “Can I do that?”, children calculate their own heart rate and other types of measurements through areas like Stretch It Out, a 3-D version of Twister, and Dance Mania, where they jam to popular music while following the beat with various dance moves. Children can run through a climbing and crawling course, capture images of their own bodies in action, or discover new and fun ways to incorporate exercise into their daily lives. They also can measure their grip strength, follow along different dance moves, or race around an interactive game board while increasing their speed and heart rate!
PowerPlay is unique in that visitors are not only able to track their bodies’ responses to physical challenges during their visit, but also over the course of multiple visits through the use of a data Kid Card they get to take home. After they leave the Museum, visitors use the Kid Card and continue their PowerPlay experience by logging onto www.cmhouston.org/powerplay. On this interactive site, visitors compare and analyze their PowerPlay data. They also complete more fun physical challenges and add to their activity logs over the course of five years!
CYBERCHASE – The Chase Is On!
It is the classic good vs. evil adventure! Hacker, a power-hungry villain, is on a mission to take over Cyberspace. Now, it is up to you to save the Cyberworld! Join forces with the CyberSquad: Matt, Inez, Jackie and Digit the cyberbird, in an original quest to save the Cyberworld. Blast off into CYBERCHASE – The Chase Is On!, an out-of-this-world, math exhibit in which YOU get to play hero and save the day.
CYBERCHASE –The Chase Is On! is as interactive as it sounds. Children can hang out with Digit the cyberbird, who makes costume character appearances throughout the exhibit. This multimedia experience explores ways to get the most out of doing math while having fun.
Step into a workshop of gadgets and gizmos where kids create, concoct, and construct contraptions! All of the activities and exhibit components in Invention Convention stimulate creativity and innovation through interactive activities, while raising an awareness of the inventive spirit in children. Children gain understanding regarding the relationship between invention and innovation and learn these processes can be applied to procedures, games and other life pursuits!
Invention Convention merges the boundaries of science, engineering, robotics and art. Designed with the quintessential question in mind: “What if?,” the exhibit allows visitors to be immersed in the invention mindset and encourages exploring the processes of inventing and creative problem solving. It becomes the place where Houston’s young inventors, tinkerers, and creators come to dream, make, test, and share and be rewarded. It’s where they cook-up ideas alongside real scientists and engineers.
This one-of-a-kind exhibit enables kids to explore first-hand how their actions impact the environment and see what they can do to make a positive difference in their community. Activities change weekly and include favorites such as water quality testing, soil type explorations and more that can be used either in the exhibit or can be taken home for environmental research in their own backyard!
Families explore environmental issues visiting a native plant garden, a woodland area, a bayou table, a pond and a research pavilion. They participate in diverse, hands-on activities such as insect collecting, tree rubbings, footprint identification and more! New components show how much sunlight is needed to power the exhibit and determine how much daily trash output can be reduced through recycling. The EcoStation is powered almost entirely by solar energy.
It’s the stuff too small to see, but too big to ignore! By the time today’s kids become adults, they will more than likely be immersed in a new industrial revolution – a science focusing on the super small! Step into a whimsical factory where you stare straight into the future! Matter Factory gives visitors a glimpse into the concepts of materials science, including properties of matter and potential uses for different substances and smart materials.
Designed with the quintessential question in mind: “What is it made from?” this playful industrial-style exhibit encourages exploration of “smart” materials and their properties, such as elasticity, density and conductivity. Kids are introduced to the concepts of materials science and increase awareness of materials and technologies developed at the nano-level. A giant mechanical Stuff Sorter machine spews objects onto a turntable for children to sort, test and explore materials, as they investigate and solve “factory” problems!
How Does It Work?
Did you ever wonder why you can’t see in the dark? Or how your wireless telephone works? Or even what really happens when you turn the ignition in your car? The multi-level How Does It Work? challenges you to ask and discover the answers to your own science questions with tons of hands-on, investigative experiences. See what makes a car go with a real ’66 Mustang in Auto Alley, watch your messages be sent via fiber optics, check out the history of communication in Phone Zone, or challenge yourself to discover something new in the Science Station. You can even lift yourself 5 feet into the air to see how pulleys can make life a lot easier with the Kid Lift.
Designed for children from birth to 36 months, the all-new, twice-as-big Tot*Spot provides a stimulating environment with developmentally appropriate activities which enhance the growth and development of young children. Created with the quintessential question in mind: “How does my baby grow?,” parents and caregivers have an enjoyable place to interact with their child, gain insight into their child’s cognitive, social-emotional and physical development, and discover how early learning is based on play, exploration, observation and repetition. Located on its own exclusive floor, it is a Museum within the Museum ideal for play dates and bonding!
Children are not the only benefactors. The Museum provides activity sheets for parents and caregivers to take home. There are also parenting resources at the Museum’s Parent Resource Library (a branch of the Houston Public Library), where local educators are routinely available to offer their expertise on child development and growth.
Jump right into solving riddles, puzzles, mirror magic, optical illusions and more in this one-of-a kind, hands-on, mind bender of an exhibit. With the help of the Think Tank Guides: Carlos the Curious, Felicia Fact Finder, Rosie Risk It and Isaac I’ve Got It!, put on custom-made thinking caps and lounge in the thinking chairs. Inventive, “outside the box” thinking is sure to occur every day in this innovative exhibit—in addition to the countless activities, new puzzles are introduced weekly with the Question of the Week.
Children don hard hats as they step into Building Zone, a kid-friendly construction area. They explore the world of forces and examine the science behind building structures, including lifting heavy bags of gravel using pulleys, and using earth's gravity to hold up an arch. Plus, they take on the role of civil engineers by checking out some of the key techniques needed to build structures to protect from high winds or earthquakes.
John P. McGovern Kids’ Hall
Traveling art exhibits by children and artists across the world are showcased in the Kids’ Hall alongside Junktion, a collection of activity tables which form together to make a train. Three carts of Junktion host make-and-take craft activities, which change weekly in accordance with the WonderWeek themes. In Kids’ Hall, children may paint their faces or perform a puppet show. Throughout the year, many special events are held here, including the widely popular New Year's Noon - Houston's longest running New Year celebration just for kids.
The Brown Foundation, Inc. Auditorium
We bring you mesmerizing live performances for you to enjoy with your family and friends. From multicultural presentations to good ole bands, each performance packs a brilliant punch keeping in mind both learning and entertaining aspects. Our theatrical auditorium can sit 165 people. Catch a show every Thursday during Free Family Night, 5 – 8 p.m., and every weekend as part of the Spotlight Performance series.
The Children’s Museum follows ADA guidelines through the building and exhibits. Those requiring assistance or parents with strollers wishing to reach the second level of the How Does It Work?, or Power Play exhibits may use the wheelchair/stroller lift. Visitors wanting to use the lift should visit the Information Booth for a lift key, and must leave identification at the booth. Wheelchairs are also available for checkout on a first come, first serve basis with an identification deposit. The Museum’s new garage has a wheelchair ramp between the deck and ground levels. On six Mondays each year, the Museum partners with Houston Independent School District to provide tours for children with special needs.
- Listed as top kid-friendly museums in the U.S. by LA Times (2015)
- Named among best children's museum in U.S. by USA Today (2014)
- Named one of the top 12 children's museums in the country by Forbes (2012).
- Listed as one of the 10 Best Children's Museums to Visit This Summer by Woman's Day (2011).
- Named the No. 1 children's museum in the country by Parents magazine (2011).
- Ranked as the No. 2 children's museum in the country by Child magazine and No. 1 by MSN.com.