Whether school is in session or students are on break, it is important to provide children with opportunities to grow and learn. Development and growth often happen outside of the traditional learning environment when kids relax and explore their surroundings and be themselves. Learning new things as adults helps us keep a sharp mind and lead by example.
There are many places in and around Farmington to help create learning opportunities, strengthen relationships, support academic growth, and build lasting memories. Read on for our list of educational excursions around Farmington.
Space Museum and Grissom Center
The Space Museum and Grissom Center is in Bonne Terre at 116 E. School St. For the future astronauts of the world, or those who just like freeze-dried ice cream, this is a destination you don't want to miss. They offer both on and off-site educational opportunities formatted to instill a love for learning through problem-based thinking and active learning. Their high-interest topics are perfect for use in schools, with community groups, or to supplement a homeschool curriculum or summer learning. Their mission — to touch the past and inspire the future — is a guiding source in all their exhibits.
On display, you'll find most anything connected to space. You'll see standing exhibits of actual space suits to help you understand the type of intricate and heavy-duty gear is necessary for space safety. Also on display are some space rocks available for visitors to examine. If you are interested in borrowing some materials or artifacts for educational purposes, you can contact the museum for details and availability.
Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday by appointment only. They open Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m to 5 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The museum hosts several fun-filled family-focused events throughout the year. Check their website for details and prices.
Magic House Children's Museum
Within an hour's drive to St. Louis, you'll find yourself at the Magic House Children's Museum. It comprises over 60,000 square feet of exhibits that provide interactive experiences, entices the imagination, and instill a love for learning and exploration in young minds.
Help kids learn a little geography and about other cultures by visiting the Namaste India exhibit. This exhibit, like all the others you'll find in the museum, is aligned with national and state academic learning standards. Little ones experience the beauty of India through a different lens. They'll learn about the Taj Mahal, see the cultural influences of Bollywood, and even practice some yoga. The exhibit, featuring the regional food, colorful art, and flavorful food of India, encourages global awareness and helps children gain an appreciation for other cultures.
For the little engineer in your life who loves the beach, stop by the Sandcastle Beach exhibit. Marvel at the vast 75-ton sandcastle treasure created by artist Dan Belcher. Little ones can play in the sand and sculpt their own works of art. There are umbrellas and seats to relax, and they invite visitors to hunt for their very own seashells to take home as a memento of your visit.
Other exhibits include a traveling display of Dinosaur Train for future paleontologists, a Children's Village for imaginative play, a Waterfall Patio for some splashing fun, and a STEM Center to help both boys and girls focus more on building skills necessary for succeeding in careers in science, technology, math, and engineering. Both children and adults will find something interesting at this museum.
Museum hours are Mondays through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission for visitors 1 year and older is $12, and children under age 1 enter for free. The museum will waive their entrance fee for active-duty military with ID and foster families with a license.
Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center
The Sainte Genevieve Museum Learning Center is a mere half-hour drive from Farmington and will take visitors on a journey through history. With no need to make reservations, you can head over anytime you have a free afternoon. You'll find them at 360 Market St. This is a perfect spot for a little weekend day trip.
Visit their Prehistoric Worlds exhibit to learn about the creatures, both on land and sky, that inhabited the earth before us. Then, explore the Ancient Worlds exhibit to delve into the worlds of the ancient Mayans and Vikings.
The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sundays. Children under 4 years old enter free, while entrance for school-age children is $5. General admission for adults is $10, with discounts available for senior citizens, military, and first responders.
When you visit the Missouri Mines State Historic Site, be sure to stop at the Powerhouse Museum. Powerhouse was built in 1907, renovated in the 1980s, and is now 19,000 square feet showcasing Missouri's mining history and mineral resources. With three exhibits currently open, and more underway, this is the perfect place to visit for a future geologist or for someone who loves gemstones and minerals.
View the Mining Equipment Gallery to see the vast and expansive machinery used underground to secure precious rocks and minerals. Visitors love the St. Joe shovel. It is a rare mechanical loader, engineered specifically for underground conditions. Then, head over to the Mineral Gallery that houses 27 large cases showcasing over 1,100 spectacular crystals, stones, and minerals. This educational gallery features a fluorescent mineral room that highlights minerals with the unique trait to glow under ultraviolet light.
Next, step back in time to the 1930s to learn and see about the equipment early miners used to gather these rare minerals. The Powerhouse Equipment Gallery has some of the original ladders, baskets, and pulleys used to mine the area. Be sure to check the weather conditions before you go, as they often close during inclement weather.
Creating memories and learning with loved ones is a phenomenal way to spend your spare time. CarSmart of Farmington has just shared our list of preferred educational excursions around Farmington. What do you think of our list of educational destinations? Did we miss one of your favorite spots to visit? Contact us and share your ideas. We'll happily add your suggestions to our list.