COSI – Center of Science & Industry in Columbus
Ranked the top science museum in the U.S. by Parent’s magazine, COSI in Columbus, Ohio offers fun and educational things to do for both children and adults.
With more than 300 activities and discovery-based exhibits, visitors to Columbus’ COSI museum find learning fun. Themes for exhibits include Ocean, Life, Space, Big Science Park, Progress, Gadgets, and Innovation, plus Little Kidspace for the pint-sized ones. In addition, traveling exhibits change at COSI on a rotating basis. Other items located throughout the museum hallways include a high-wire unicycle and a giant human skeleton hanging above the mezzanine.
In the Space exhibit, visitors may explore what it’s like to be an astronaut inside of the space shuttle, walk through a dizzying black hole, or drive a simulated Mars rover with a robotic arm. The Ocean exhibit allows exploration of water bells, water cannons, and a real submarine. Entering the Gadgets’ Café provides an opportunity for children to “cook up” science experiments and investigate electronic equipment by taking it apart.
Opportunities to learn from the past come through the Progress exhibit by learning about the origin of electricity and television, or the function of the Morse Code. On good-weather days, the Big Science Park allows visitors to experience heavy lifting using a giant lever to lift a car, understand how a giant granite sphere easily moves over water or ride on the centripetal generator to experience inertia.
In an effort to help COSI go “green”, exhibits and activities are constantly being updated. Lily Pad is a hands-on experience located within the Ocean exhibit. Guests explore six different lab stations based upon watershed habitat creatures and how human activity impacts them. The Pod House, new in 2010, is a human-made, solar-powered house which sits next to the Native Prairie in the Big Science Park.
Extreme Screen Movies
This seven-story, 83-foot wide massive movie theatre screen is at least four times the size of a standard movie screen. Shows may include topics such as underwater creatures or Antarctic adventures, rotating approximately every four months. Two 50 minute shows are typically available each day at alternating times, some in 3D. Admission for these movies ranges from $6.00 to $8.00, in addition to the cost of general admission to the museum. Tickets may be purchased online for ease of entry.
Concessions and Gifts
For snack breaks or meals, the Atomic Cafe menu includes burgers, deli sandwiches, pizza, snacks, and kids’ meals. Large groups who bring their own lunches may make use of the group lunchroom. In the Science2go retail store, visitors may stock up on science games, books, toys, and t-shirts in order to take home a piece of COSI.
Hours and Amenities
In order to get full use of a day’s admission cost, it’s best to get to COSI early. Hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday, and 12 noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Admission rates vary depending on choices of live shows and extreme screen movies, but discounted rates are available for children and seniors. Those with memberships to the science museum still are required to pay for special exhibits and movies. Strollers and wheelchairs are available, and all exhibits are handicap-accessible.
As one of the top science museums in the United States, COSI provides a well-rounded, educational experience. Learning is encouraged through sight, sound, touch, and even smell, and those leaving COSI have typically learned or experienced something new and exciting.