Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-on Museum is a family favorite.

Mysteryas’ classmate had a birthday party there a couple Saturdays ago. The birthday party attendees received a tour of the museum.  They spent 60-90 minutes exploring all four floors of the museum.  They returned to the party room and made slime under the guidance of the AAHOM birthday party assistant.  Mysteryas chose to make his slime green; other children chose blue.  Of course at the end of the party everyone enjoyed cake, ice cream, and sherbet.

AAHOM Birthday Party
AAHOM Birthday Party

On the first floor, Mysteryas finds the house exhibit interesting.  I think he could spend hours building structures out of the wood blocks or designing a house layout with the clear plastic magnetic pieces.  Mysteryas’ favorite area on the second floor is the Lyons’ General Store.  He enjoys being the storekeeper and playing checkers.  The third floor has a small room for making shadows on the wall.  He and his sister make lots of crazy poses to see how those are pictured on the wall.

Near the elevator on the fourth floor is a ball run exhibit.  This vertical exhibit lets you make ramps by pushing flat boards into the wall at various angles.  Then you place one or more balls on the built ramps and watch the ball roll down.

While Mysteryas celebrated with his friends, the rest of us explored the museum. Below is a picture of Mysterina on the 2nd floor:

AAHOM Rock Climbing Wall
AAHOM Rock Climbing Wall

One of my favorite parts of the museum are the eight entrance steps.  As you climb up the steps, each plays a different musical note (together the steps make up a musical scale).  Of course if the museum is busy you’ll hear lots of notes playing as people move up and down the steps.  If you are lucky enough to have this area to yourself you can try to play a short song.

New on the first floor are some space exhibits.  One has to do with gravity pull differences on the planets.

AAHOM Please Touch sign
AAHOM Please Touch sign

On the second floor, I enjoy playing with bubbles.  It’s interesting to see how the special wire frames come out after dipping them in bubbles.  There is also a walking piano which you can play with your feet.  This is a good alternative if the entrance steps are busy.  Plus, it’s easier to transition from one note to the next.

The musical harp with invisible strings on the third floor is one of my favorites.  It is part of the light and reflection exhibits.  I’d love to have one of these for my home.  The shadow room nearby is pretty fun too.

On the fourth floor is a room Mysterina calls the “dancing room.”  It is similar to the shadow room on the third floor but rather than taking snapshots of your shadow, the exhibit captures motion and uses a computer to animate it with different colors and patterns.

If you visit Ann Arbor — or if you need another reason to visit — be sure to make time for the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum.

Information for Visitors

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