Danville Science Center: Worth the cost of admission

We were referred to the Danville Science Center’s 20th birthday party, and we’re oh so glad we went.

From the outside, the center (DSC, for short) seems rather small, so I was skeptical. However, I learned that the train station, a historical site which is still in operation for present-day Amtrak passenger trains, is also part of the DSC campus. If you’re obsessed with trains like my son is, this is quite a win-win. I think the math works something like this.

Science + Trains = YAY!

Alright, so here’s a short list of why this place rocks.

  • Rocks, literally: A gem and mineral collection
  • Caboose
  • Menagerie of stuffed animals (think taxidermy, not plush) and some live critters in display tanks
  • Working model train within the historic train depot
  • IMAX theatre
  • Vast butterfly and insect collection
  • Interactive science exhibits built to handle the rough-housing that kids will give them
  • Large space for traveling exhibits.  Right now it’s “How people make things” and I highly recommend it.
  • Butterfly garden
  • Oh, and endless opportunities for learning, of course
How People Make Things: Traveling exhibit at Danville Science Center
How People Make Things: Traveling exhibit at Danville Science Center

 

How People Make Things

From carving, building vehicles, ingredients of crayons to pouring rubber molds for shoe soles, this was a fascinating exhibit for many ages.  There was a machine that allowed children to push a button and then watching as a single plastic spoon was created.  After completion, the spoon would drop down so they could keep it — the very one they watched melt, mold and set.

In the upper level of the main building, which appeared to house the permanent exhibits, there were structures and activities for many age groups.  A corner for tiny tots, puppet stage for imaginative play, climbing structures and building blocks to name just a few of the educational toys.

Tip: If you get the yearly family membership, you don’t have to attempt to cram it all into one day.  And I recommend taking your time.  The littlest ones still find these places absolutely magical, but it can be hard to go all day without a nap.

Tip: The membership can be used at other museums in Virginia and North Carolina.  This absolutely pays for itself if you ever travel to neighboring cities. (Hint, hint: Durham, Roanoke, Greensboro, Winston-Salem!)

Many types of play areas
Many types of play areas

Hours

Monday – Saturday: 9:30 am – 5 pm
Sunday: 11:30 am – 5 pm
Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Cost

$7 per adult
$6 for youth & seniors
FREE children under age 3
Film passes cost extra

Location

677 Craghead Street
Danville, Virginia
434.791.5160

Tip: You may have parking issues if you go when the the community market is running an event concurrently. These are slight compared to museums in downtown Raleigh and certainly compared to D.C.

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