The Boston Museum of Science is a family-friendly museum located in Boston, Massachusetts, near the Cambridgeside Galleria Mall. This local landmark features an assortment of more than 500 temporary and permanent exhibits focusing on science and related topics. Several animal habitats, including a butterfly garden, are included among the exhibits. The museum has stated its intent to lower barriers related to language, culture, financial concerns, or education in order to make its educational opportunities available to all. This science museum is closed Sundays and offers extended visiting hours during the summer.
Founded in 1830 as the Boston Society of Natural History, the Boston Museum of Science opened in its current incarnation in 1951 and has expanded significantly since then. This museum's exhibits are based on science topics, ranging from reptiles and robots to crime scene forensics, lasers, and biotechnology. The Boston Museum of Science has also featured exhibits on topics such as baseball, cartoon animation, and the lives of famous individuals such as artist M.C. Escher and scientist George Washington Carver. In addition, past temporary exhibits have included props and other memorabilia from popular movies, such as the Harry Potter series and the trilogy Lord of the Rings.
As a member of the Association of Zoos and Museums, the Boston Museum of Science houses more than 100 animals, including some that were rescued from danger and rehabilitated. Another highlight of the Boston Museum of Science is its dynamic simulator. This full-motion experience gives visitors a virtual taste of excursions beneath the sea, out into space, and more. Each simulator film runs about five minutes in length.
Dinosaurs have often been featured in exhibits at the Boston Museum of Science. The museum's original model of Tyrannosaurus rex was placed standing upright, with its head at eye level with visitors as they came in the entrance. Later, based on new information from paleontologists, an updated horizontally oriented model replaced the original. Other highlights of past dinosaur exhibits have included mechanical models, computer-based simulations, and actual fossils.
This family science museum features the Mugar Omni Theater, an IMAX® theater with a domed screen five stories tall. Among other offerings are twice-daily lightning shows using a Van de Graff generator donated in 1956 by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Along with shows and demonstrations in the Charles Hayden Planetarium, there are free stargazing sessions every Friday night at the Gilliland Observatory, which can be found on the roof of the museum's garage.