I have enjoyed the current incarnation of the Madision, WI Children's Museum since it opened - my grandsons always want to go there when they come to town and I have wound up spending a fair amount of money sort-of duplicating some of the displays - the robotic stuff, in particular (wish they had something a little more sophistacated than Legos Mindstorms, but that's a minor quibble easily remidied by a grandfather with some $$ to burn...).
In my day, 34 years ago, only about 5% went to Uni.
Straight A's in 4 or 5 subjects required.
Nowadays I would be lost, a half day exam was easy peasy, but the essay and assignment curricula system now in place now would have flummoxed me, given the dummied down assessments.
I started with a year of theoretical physics (tutorials were fun), but then the creative streak clicked in and switched on back to electronics (childhood hobby).
I pity the majority that now seem to go to colleges and uni, and respect those in trades, they make at least as much dosh as an engineer and certainly more than a scientist. Heck I supported myself by working as a steelworks bricky during summer and winter holidays, tax free £746 per week.
I knew an Astrophysics graduate that swept streets, we shared the same the same cottage back then.
Welcome to Scotland, "wish you were lovely, weather is here"!
Something has to change for survival, obvious, but I ain't the kid on the block that can make that happen.
The 49er's museum at their new palace (AKA Levi's Stadium) will also include a hands-on STEM education area. At a glance, looks like it's going to be reserved for class field trips at first (and mayber 49er ticket holders?), but the price is right: free.
Two years ago, my 3-year old son pointed at the prop of a B-24 sitting on the tarmac at Moffett Field in Silicon Valley and said, "Propeller". Then, "wings" as he pointed at them. Then he worked through all the parts: Tail, cockpit and landing gear.
I knew then that he was his father's son!
Here's my favorite aviation and space museums for kids that have not already been mentioned. They are in no particular order.
I grew up in the Boston area so the Museum of Science was always a fun trip. All of my children loved going there as well so I know it isn't just a geek thing (me).Not far from MIT on the Charles "Dirty Water" River. Multiple trips are recommended as there is so much take in.
" (especially since kids get tired pretty quickly: my rule is 2-3 hours max, so 2 visits of 3 hours is much better than 1 visit of 6 hours)"
I used to do what my Father did with me, try to drag my kids through the whole museum "we have to go here, we haven't seen this section yet" and my kids were indeed exhausted after a couple of hours. But they weren't exhausted with the museum--they were exhausted with me.
Then I figured out this trick. I would let them lead the way, and more importantly, stay at any exhibit as long as they wanted. This works at hands on museums like the Exploritorium. I ended up being the frustrated one when I'd enter a large museum, then they'd want to spend one hour playing with the magnets then another hour playing with the beach ball above the air blower. We'd end up spending hours seeing only three things in a museum filled with hundreds of exhibits, and they'd have the time of their lives, but I'd be as frustrated as heck, until I learned to relax and let them have fun.
$7.95 per ticket? That's a bargain! Of course, I'm in the super-rich, super-expensive Bay Area, but consider this: if I make 4 trips to the Cal Academy on my pass, I'm still paying more per trip ($50 per visit).
There are some affordable places; for example, Palo Alto has a small museum and zoo (with some smaller animals and a some hands-on stuff) that's based on donations (free, but they recommend a donation -- and I've donated both times I visited).
Around here, the more expensive places tend to have less reciprocity. For example, with my Oakland Zoo membership, I get half off to the SF Zoo, Happy Hollow Zoo and Park (mini-zoo + kids rides + cool playgrounds), and Aquarium of the Bay, but no discount to the Monterey Bay Aquarium or Cal Academy -- or IIRC, the SJ CDM.