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Explore McWane Science CenterThese fun and fascinating exhibits are always on display at McWane
Explore ExhibitsExplore Exhibits

See Our Permanent Exhibits

These exhibits may be here year-round, but they always offer something new and exciting, no matter how many times you come by. Browse our exhibits by floor to plan your ultimate adventure.

Questions? Contact Us

Lower Level

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World of Water Aquariums

Did you know McWane Science Center is home to 4 unique aquarium display tanks? Showcasing our world’s oceans and lakes, as well as our very own Cahaba River, the World of Water gives you the chance to see more than 50 marine and freshwater species in carefully crafted habitats.

Shark & Ray Touch Tank

It’s always Shark Week at McWane! This aquarium features a large, unique tank where visitors can see—and touch—sharks and rays. Featuring white-spotted bamboo sharks, epaulette sharks, cownose rays, and southern stingrays, our touch tank is an interactive way to get up close and personal with some of our waters’ most graceful and misunderstood creatures.

Level One

Rushton Theater

The 108-seat Rushton Science Theater is a state-of-the-art multimedia learning environment capable of hosting almost any type of program imaginable. When you visit Rushton, don’t be surprised if you encounter extraordinary fires or massive bolts of lightning! Don’t worry, though—we’ve got everything under control.

Rushton Science Theater is home to our largest presentations, including McWane’s very own Tesla coils, which you can see in action during our Lightning Strikes! program. Our Tesla coils feature two coupled resonant electric circuits, and we welcome visitors to come and see them on display throughout the day.

The theater is also home to a Van de Graaff Generator, an electrostatic machine that uses a moving belt to accumulate very high voltages on a hollow metal globe. Applications for these high-voltage generators include driving X-ray tubes, accelerating electrons to sterilize food and process materials, and accelerating protons for nuclear physics experiments.

Science Quest

The first floor of McWane Science Center is jam-packed with amazing interactive exhibits where guests can see and experience science in action!

Don’t miss out on…

  • Anti-Gravity Mirror
  • Basketball: The Science of Swish
  • Bed of Nails
  • Chaotic Pendulum
  • Combination Safes
  • Distortion Room
  • Giant Lever
  • Height Checker
  • Off to the Races
  • Optical Spinners
  • Demonstration Station
  • Pulley Chair Lift
  • Tennis Ball Launcher
  • Turntable
  • Vulcan Dream Machine
  • Bernoulli Fountain
  • More!

Bubble Room

Dive right into the Bubble Room, where you can discover the science of suds. Try your hand at making all kinds of bubbles you didn’t even know were possible—we’re talking square bubbles, triangular bubbles, and more. See it for yourself in this one-of-a-kind space!

Level Two

Alabama Dinosaurs

The Explore! Lab is devoted to hands-on exploration of geology, paleontology, anthropology, and zoology. Learn how to classify feathers, butterflies, rocks, shells, and more. Take an interactive role in the scientific method with our computer stations. Develop your microscope skills. Touch fossils, skeletons, and rare minerals. There’s so much to do at McWane Science Center!

a store inside of a building

NatureScope

Explore the great outdoors inside the museum with McWane Science Center and the Birmingham Audubon Society! Learn the science of birds and bugs in the Audubon cabin and demonstration stage, where visitors can enjoy nature programs and live animal shows.

Check out the collection of Alabama birds, including a bald eagle, wild turkey, two extremely rare ivory-billed woodpeckers, and even a skull from the extinct dodo bird.

Then, get up close and personal with some resident creepy crawlies. Learn about the role insects play in our ecosystem in the decomposition chamber. Or, jump right in and meet our bugs, including emperor scorpions, a tarantula, and even a giant African millipede!

a fire truck parked in front of a building

Itty Bitty Magic City

The Birmingham Children’s Museum Itty Bitty Magic City caters to our youngest visitors! Kids in Kindergarten and younger can engage a love of learning through four major types of play: physical play, exploratory play, constructive play, and imaginative play.

Itty Bitty Magic City features:

Main Street: Capturing the look and feel of a downtown main street complete with storefronts, sidewalks, and street lights, this area includes an interactive fire station, farm, veterinary clinic, market, diner, and garage.
Tot Spot The toddler area provides a secure space for McWane’s youngest visitors to explore and play.
Water Play: Water domes, ball vortices, squirters, pumps, damming activities, and an observation dome are all elements sure to engage fascination!
Climbing structure: Designed to engage early learners at every skill and developmental level, this configuration encourages children to challenge themselves physically in a safe environment.

We offer daily programming and special classes as well as teaching activities and presentations. View our Events Calendar for scheduling and program information!

Science on a Sphere®

NOAA’s Science on a Sphere® (SOS) is a display system that uses computers and video projectors to project planetary data onto a 6-foot diameter sphere, analogous to a giant animated globe. Researchers at NOAA developed SOS as an educational tool to help illustrate Earth System science to people of all ages. Watch atmospheric storms, climate change, and ocean temperatures move and flux like you’ve never seen before!

Level Three

Level Three

Level Three consists of our Special Exhibits such as our Art & Tech Gallery and Special Event Center.

Get in Touch

If you have any questions about our exhibits or planning your visit, please feel free to contact us today!

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