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Best Science Museum (2022)

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From ancient dinosaurs to futuristic technology, science and natural history come alive at these museums across the country.

  • Center of Science and Industry (COSI)

    Center of Science and Industry (COSI)
    Columbus, Ohio

    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

  • Michigan Science Center

    Michigan Science Center
    Detroit

    The Michigan Science Center promotes creative and dynamic STEM learning through a series of interactive exhibits. This Detroit cultural district institution features live stage shows, an IMAX Dome, 4D theater, planetarium and exhibit space with more than 220 hands-on activities and exhibits.
    Photo courtesy of Michigan Science Center

  • Great Lakes Science Center

    Great Lakes Science Center
    Cleveland, OH

    The Great Lakes Science Center offers a community where real scientific challenges provide a learning culture to encourage curiosity, creativity, and innovation through hands-on exhibits and the NASA Glenn Visitors Center. 
    Photo courtesy of Photo Courtesy Great Lakes Science Center

  • Tellus Science Museum

    Tellus Science Museum
    Cartersville, Georgia

    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

  • Saint Louis Science Center

    Saint Louis Science Center
    St. Louis

    The Saint Louis Science Center offers a free place to learn and play through more than 700 interactive experiences across 10 galleries. The museum features an indoor-outdoor agricultural pavilion, five-story OMNIMAX Theater and the McDonnell Planetarium.
    Photo courtesy of Saint Louis Science Center

  • The Franklin Institute

    The Franklin Institute
    Philadelphia

    The Franklin Institute is a hands-on science museum that seeks to create a passion for science and tech in everyone. It holds the distinction of being Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, featuring 12 interactive exhibits that explore science – from sports to space – plus world-class special exhibitions. In the museum’s rotunda, a 20-foot-tall marble statue pays homage to the institute’s namesake, scientist and Founding Father.
    Photo courtesy of The Franklin Institute

  • Museum of Science and Industry

    Museum of Science and Industry
    Chicago

    Visitors short and tall will be sure to learn something at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Exhibits range from genetics to ships to bicycles to coal mines – a little bit of everything across the sectors. The five-story Omnimax Theater takes visitors on virtual voyages into space or beneath the sea, while the U-505 Submarine exhibit allows guests to step inside a real German U-boat to see what life was like in these claustrophobic quarters.
    Photo courtesy of J.B. Spector/Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

  • Rochester Museum & Science Center

    Rochester Museum & Science Center
    Rochester, NY

    With over 1.2 million objects in its collection, visitors can discover something new on each visit to the Rochester Museum & Science Center. Watch live science demonstrations, enjoy a star show at the planetarium, or experience the variety of scientific exhibits. Explore the Jurassic Era with robotic dinosaurs, operate the fill valves in a model Erie Canal Lock, or meet ice-age giants from millions of years ago – these are just some of the opportunities available for exploration and participation at this museum.
    Photo courtesy of monkeybusinessimages // Getty Images

  • Bishop Museum

    Bishop Museum
    Honolulu

    Since its founding in 1889 as a repository for Princess Bernice Pauahi Bishop's family artifacts, this museum has ascended to become the state's premiere institution for documenting the area's natural history. In addition to a planetarium, the museum’s exhibits also cover botany, entomology, ichthyology and zoology. Don’t miss the Richard T Mamiya Science Adventure Center – a 16,500-square-foot facility of hands-on, immersive exhibits focusing on the environment of the Hawaiian archipelago.
    Photo courtesy of Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum

  • National Air and Space Museum

    National Air and Space Museum
    Washington, DC

    Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis, the Apollo 11 lunar command module, the Wright brothers' airplane and a lunar rock sample that visitors can touch are just a few highlights of the collection at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. The five-story Samuel P. Langley Theatre shows aviation-related IMAX films daily, while the Albert Einstein Planetarium presents programs exploring outer space. 
    Photo courtesy of Mark Avino / National Air and Space Museum

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

  1. Center of Science and Industry (COSI) - Columbus, OH
  2. Michigan Science Center - Detroit, MI
  3. Great Lakes Science Center - Cleveland, OH
  4. Tellus Science Museum - Cartersville, GA
  5. Saint Louis Science Center - St. Louis, MO
  6. The Franklin Institute - Philadelphia, PA
  7. Museum of Science and Industry - Chicago, IL
  8. Rochester Museum & Science Center - Rochester, NY
  9. Bishop Museum - Honolulu, HI
  10. National Air and Space Museum - Washington DC

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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10Best Editors

10Best Editors

10Best Editors

Chez Chesak

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Jacky Runice

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Kyle McCarthy

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