St Louis Science Center

Visit the St. Louis Science Center

science center in st louis mo

Founded in 1963, the St. Louis Science Center started as a planetarium. This facility is located at 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110, in the United States of America. Besides a planetarium, this collection of buildings also has a science museum. It is among the largest of its kind in the U.S. and features over 750 exhibits in a complex of more than 300, 000 sq. ft (28, 000 km2).

History of the Science Center

The initial funding of the first structure of the campus started in 1955, with a bond issue to begin the construction of a planetarium. Surveying of locations took 2 years and the first proposed site, which was on the north of Forest park adjacent to the Jefferson Memorial Building, Lindell and DeBaliviere, became scrapped due to restrictions on subdivisions. This location was later changed to the south of the park, where the old mounted station was situated before it was demolished in 1960. A planetarium, natural history museum, and science museum were to be built, at least according to plan.

Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Kassabaum, and Obata designed a uniquely-shaped planetarium. In the 1970s, Obata was commissioned to design the Smithsonian’s National Air &Space Museum in Washington D.C. James Smith McDonnell, a co-founder of St. Louis-based McDonnell Douglas that undertook aerospace manufacturing, donated $200, 000 toward equipment, including the star projector. James was also an aviation pioneer who had a vision for St. Louis. In 1964, the facility was then named after him.

Construction of the Science Center

In 1972, Clayton Science Center started receiving sales tax funds via the Metropolitan Zoological Park & Museum District. 11 years later, St. Louis sold the Planetarium to the city’s Museum of Science & Natural History, who closed it to allow remodeling. In July 1978, the Planetarium was reopened as the St. Louis Science Center. In November 1991, a $34 million expansion project was launched and a new building was erected adjacent to the Planetarium, allowing the Science Center’s size to increase by a factor of 7. As a result, the new building was erected on the piece of land that was previously occupied by the Falstaff Brewing Corporation headquarters. Later, the main building’s new exhibits were devoted to chemistry, Earth science, physical science, life sciences, and emerging technology. Within 60 months, the newly renovated St. Louis Science Center had the most visitors of all the science centers globally.

Features of the Science Center

The science center features a 5-story domed OMNIMAX theater for learners to enjoy a wide range of documentaries and educational films all year round. Sometimes, the theater presents feature films as soon as they are released, including Star Wars. The first major renovations performed on the OMNIMAX since its opening in 1991 were in 2019 to become the 4th OMNIMAX theater in the entire world to use the IMAX new film technology with Laser projection system. Some more improvements were done to enhance the science center, including upgraded wider seating and a NanoSeam screen, which is new state-of-the-art sound technology to allow a more uniform screen surface.

Exhibitions in the Science Center

The St. Louis Science Center has held several events, including the 2018 WeatherReadyFest which featured demonstrations, talks, and displays from private and government agencies, such as the National Weather Service. Other exhibitions have been created by Washington University students who took part in the CCSN pathway. The exhibitions displayed at the science center were part of an outreach program. The pathway was founded in 2008.

In February 1997, the main building was expanded to include an air-supported building, the Exploradome. The science center now had an extra 18, 000 sq. ft. (1, 700 m2) space for a temporary facility for additional classrooms, traveling exhibitions, and to host events with large groups. Some of the notable exhibits in the past have included various shows on Body Worlds as well as the popular RMS Titanic Ocean liner.

You can ask the administration for group rates which are available for groups. Other services available include audio-visual equipment, full-service catering, and ample parking. The science center is always open and general admission is free. Learn about the Cathedral Basilica.

Therefore, St. Louis Science Center will allow you to explore more than 700 exhibits, James S. McDonnell Planetarium, the OMNIMAX Theater, and special traveling exhibitions among others. You can visit the center for great family fun with your kids and loved ones. While it is free to enter, you have to part with some money for the theaters. You have to visit the science center for a variety of hands-on exhibits.

Driving directions to our office from St. Louis Science Center

Continue to Oakland Ave
Take I-64 W to S Hanley Rd in Clayton
Take exit 31B to merge onto S Hanley Rd
We will be on the right
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