The North Museum of Nature and Science
400 College Avenue, Lancaster, PA 17603
On the way back from our visit to Lake Tobias Wildlife Park we decided to spend the night at Lancaster City. I had no idea what it had to offer families and I wanted to find out.
There are two children’s museums in Lancaster City and we checked them both out. North Museum of History and Science was first on our list. This museum is on the edge of Franklin and Marshall College and started in 1953. The museum is really modern but still maintains some the 1950’s nostalgia. From the old school classroom doors on the second floor to the taxidermy cases in the basement …but we will get to that in a minute.
The first floor is all interactive and the boys easily spent an hour looking at animal samples under the microscope, playing with nanos, looking at the reptiles and several other hands on learning activities.
My favorites on this floor was transparent beehive with a bee entrance and exit that was built right into the wall of the museum. I also thought the the bird watching station was really clever. They took a giant window, stocked it with binoculars and outside they created a bird oasis with plenty of birdhouses and bird seed. The birds were everywhere and easy for the kids to observe.
Next we checked out a SCIDOME show. This is a movie theater in the round that runs three different shows during the day. The room was comfy and the seat were not on top of each other. The boys loved the show and loved that they were allowed to eat their snacks in there.
For my boys the real excitement was in the basement. This is not your typical basement unless you grew-up with a lot of taxidermy…. which I actually kind of did but the boys haven’t. As soon as you open the door you see animals in floor to ceiling cases. Today, the North Museum’s collections include more than 360,000 objects in disciplines ranging from archaeology to zoology.
My oldest grabbed my phone and took pictures of whatever he could. They boys were interested in all the giant bird because we really had never seen anything like them.
Another cool surprise is the Curiosity Cabinet. On the side of the room is a very simple chest with drawers on either side. On the top of the cabinet it says “Open Me.” The boys went nut opening the different drawers which revealed collections of bats, snakes, beetles, sea life and a whole bunch more creepy crawlies.
The museum was an unexpected mix of hands on activities and crazy specimens. The museum is the perfect size to keep the kids busy and interested for few hours.
Street parking is available around the Museum. Pay attention to signs for permit only parking and street cleaning on Mondays and Tuesdays. Limited lot parking is available on weekends.