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Best Science Museum (2020)

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From dinosaurs to nanotechnology, science and natural history come alive at these museums across the continent.

  • Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

    Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
    Columbus, Ohio

    Visitors can turn into astronauts with the snap of the finger at this Columbus, Ohio museum by riding in a mock space shuttle. COSI offers a wide array of permanent exhibits and hosts a few traveling ones, too. If space isn't of interest, check out the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery and Ohio’s largest Planetarium, or maybe take a tour of the ancient stories of the sea hosted by Poseidon himself. Lift a 2,437-pound car with the help of a lever in the outdoor Big Science park.
    Photo courtesy of Robb McCormick Photography

  • Tellus Science Museum

    Tellus Science Museum
    Cartersville, Ga.

    This 120,000-square-foot museum in Georgia comprises four main galleries dedicated to minerals, fossils, science in motion and backyard science. Visitors can also explore space in the 120-seat digital planetarium or gaze at the stars through a 20-inch telescope. Other highlights include an 80-foot Apatosaurus and a replica Wright flyer.
    Photo courtesy of Tellus Science Museum

  • Field Museum

    Field Museum
    Chicago

    Set on the shores of Lake Michigan, Chicago’s Field Museum began as a display in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. Today, the museum collection features some 40 million artifacts and specimens, displayed in themed galleries covering topics like dinosaurs, plants of the world, meteorites, bird habitats and sea mammals.
    Photo courtesy of ©Field Museum

  • Mid America Science Museum

    Mid America Science Museum
    Hot Springs, Ark.

    Set amid the beautiful natural scenery just outside Hot Springs National Park, the Mid America Science Museum has been offering interactive STEM education for more than 40 years. Recent additions to the museum campus include the Arkansas Underfoot Gallery, Bob Wheeler Science Skywalk and the Oaklawn Foundation Digital Dome Theater.
    Photo courtesy of Mid America Science Museum

  • Houston Museum of Natural Science

    Houston Museum of Natural Science
    Houston

    The Houston Museum of Natural Science is home to a planetarium, butterfly center, giant screen theater and 16 permanent exhibits, including the Morian Hall of Paleontology, Wiess Engery Hall, Welch Hall of Chemistry and the Cabinet of Curiosities. The museum regularly hosts major traveling exhibitions to complement the permanent collection.
    Photo courtesy of Mike Rathke / Houston Museum of Natural Science

  • Natural History Museum of Utah

    Natural History Museum of Utah
    Salt Lake City

    The Natural History Museum of Utah celebrates the state’s remarkable natural history, from its red rock desert formations to the peaks of the Wasatch Mountains. The museum collection covers a range of topics, including paleontology, vertebrate zoology, botany, entomology, mineralogy and malacology.
    Photo courtesy of Natural History Museum of Utah

  • Denver Museum of Nature & Science

    Denver Museum of Nature & Science
    Denver

    This natural science museum in Denver features an IMAX theater, planetarium and plenty of interactive exhibits on everything from prehistoric dinosaurs and Egyptian mummies to virtual reality and genetics. The temporary exhibitions shine, covering interesting and relevant topics like extreme sports, the science of Pixar and the art of LEGO building.
    Photo courtesy of © Science North / Denver Museum of Nature & Science

  • Science Museum of Minnesota

    Science Museum of Minnesota
    St. Paul

    Founded in 1907, the Science Museum of Minnesota encompasses 370,000 square feet of exhibit space, including five permanent galleries and 10 acres of outdoor exhibits. Get hands-on in the Experiment Gallery, see dinosaur bones and fossils up close, learn about the flora and fauna of the Mississippi River and discover the elements that make an elite athlete.
    Photo courtesy of Science Museum of Minnesota

  • Perot Museum of Nature and Science

    Perot Museum of Nature and Science
    Dallas

    Designed by Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Thom Mayne, this stunning 180,000-square-foot science museum on the outer edge of the Arts District boasts five floors of interactive exhibits focusing on everything from earth and space to geology, paleontology and engineering. Highlights include a children's museum with a dinosaur dig, an earthquake simulator and a gallery of gems and minerals featuring a 5-foot geode.
    Photo courtesy of Kaitlyn Kilpatrick / Perot Museum of Nature and Science

  • Museum of Science

    Museum of Science
    Boston

    Inside the halls of the Museum of Science in Boston, curious visitors can stroll through a butterfly garden, learn about the 300 species of birds found in New England, harness the power of wind turbines, gaze at 65-million-year-old dinosaur fossils, explore how light moves through the cosmos or dive into the science of nanotechnology.
    Photo courtesy of Museum of Science, Boston

The top 10 winners in the category Best Science Museum are as follows:

  1. Center of Science and Industry (COSI) - Columbus, Ohio
  2. Tellus Science Museum - Cartersville, Ga.
  3. Field Museum - Chicago
  4. Mid America Science Museum - Hot Springs, Ark.
  5. Houston Museum of Natural Science - Houston
  6. Natural History Museum of Utah - Salt Lake City
  7. Denver Museum of Nature & Science - Denver
  8. Science Museum of Minnesota - St. Paul
  9. Perot Museum of Nature and Science - Dallas
  10. Museum of Science - Boston

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote.

Congratulations to all these winning science museums!

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Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Marla Cimini

Ilene Jacobs

Ilene Jacobs

Ilene Jacobs

Christina Nellemann

Christina Nellemann

Christina Nellemann

Jenny Peters

Jenny Peters

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Jacky Runice

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Jacky Runice

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

Karon Warren

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