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What to Expect: A Day Trip to the Arizona Science Center

arizona science center

Heading up to the Arizona Science Center for the day? You've come to the right place!

Based in Downtown Phoenix, the Arizona Science Center is a huge 164,000 square-foot building that is walkable to and from the Phoenix Convention Center, the Phoenix Children's Museum, and Heritage Square.

CREATE® at Arizona Science Center is a separate 6,500 square-foot makerspace (which has a separate entrance, but is adjacent to the main science center). The makerspace provides fee-based workshops on topics like 3D printing, laser cutting, woodworking, and sewing.

GENERAL INFORMATION

Where is the Arizona Science Center located?

The Arizona Science Center is located in Downtown Phoenix. The address is 600 E. Washington Street, Phoenix AZ 85004.

How long will it take to drive to the Arizona Science Center from Tucson?

Depends on what part of Tucson you are departing from. A safe estimate is approximately 2 hours.

What hotels are walkable to the Arizona Science Center?

Hotels to consider include:

Can you give a brief history of the Arizona Science Center? Is it new?

Arizona Science Center, formerly the Arizona Museum of Science & Technology, was conceived in 1980 as a pilot science center by The Junior League of Phoenix. It opened as a small 10,000-square-foot space in 1984 in the parking garage level of the downtown Phoenix Hyatt.

Thanks to support from the City of Phoenix and its residents, construction began on the current building in Heritage and Science Park in the winter of 1993, and opened on April 17, 1997. There has not been a major remodel since 1997.

In the first year of operation, more than 87,000 guests visited the Center. Today, the Center serves over a half million students, teachers, and families annually.

What are the hours?

  • Open every day, 10:00am-5:00pm
  • Doors open at 9:00am on Saturdays and Sundays for members
  • Closed on Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day
  • CREATE at Arizona Science Center has different hours. Please see the website to plan your visit.

Why would I visit the Arizona Science Center?

  • To see a show in the planetarium
  • To watch a nature/science movie in 3D
  • To view and experience the exhibits
  • To attend a birthday party
  • To go on a field trip

How much does it cost?

  • Admission to the Science Center is $18 for adults, $13 for children (ages 3-17), and free for children 2 and under if tickets are pre-purchased online. Walk-up tickets are $19.95 for adults and $14.95 for children.
  • Admission to the planetarium shows is $9 for adults, $8 for children (ages 3-17), and free for children 2 and under.
  • Admission to a giant screen film is $7.95 for adults, $6.95 for children (ages 3-17), and free for children 2 and under.
  • Additional fees are also charged for the Sky Cycle* ($5 per person) and other special exhibits. *You must be 7 or older and be wearing closed-toe shoes in order to ride the Sky Cycle. Call ahead to inquire about height/weight requirements. 

Does the science center have any permanent "free days" (1st Sunday of the month, etc)?

  • Seniors- Ages 62+ receive free general admission into the Science Center. Visitors need to bring a driver's license, passport, or identification card with them on the day of their visit.

  • The Phoenix Public Library’s Culture Pass Program- A Culture Pass gives a library customer free admission for two people at participating arts and cultural institutions. Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis at all 17 Phoenix libraries. They cannot be renewed; they cannot be placed on hold.

  • Fry’s Free Weekend- This recurring weekend event with free general admission for the public happens in the fall.

  • The Arizona Science Center is a Blue Star Museum, which means that active-duty military personnel (along with up to five family members) receive FREE general admission between May 18–Sept. 2 of each year.

Is there an admission discount for educators and/or homeschoolers?

The Arizona Science Center offers a free educator membership for K-12 teachers and homeschooling parents in Arizona.

What is the parking situation?

Visitors are asked to park in the Heritage and Science Park Garage on 5th Street and Monroe Street. Arizona Science Center offers parking validation, which discounts the cost of parking. Parking validation is available at the Information Zone, General Admission, and the Membership Zone.

*Arizona Science Center offers parking validation for guests. The first hour is free, and each additional hour costs $1. Without validation, parking in the Heritage and Science Park Garage costs $12.

What should I wear?

The Arizona Science Center is (mostly) indoors with heating in the winter and air-conditioning in the summer.

What should I bring with me?

Water bottles. Possibly a picnic lunch. See below for details about dining options.

Are bathrooms available?

There are four restrooms total in Arizona Science Center. Three are on the first floor: one between the membership check-in desk and the gift shop, one behind the Daniel Cracchiolo Demonstration Stage, and one in the easternmost area of the All About Me gallery. The last restroom is on the third floor inside the Forces of Nature gallery.

CREATE at Arizona Science Center has one main restroom location in the lobby, approximately 20 feet from the CREATE information desk.

Which days of the week are the most and least crowded?

The Science Center is the least crowded after 2:00pm on weekdays. School groups and summer camps come in the mornings. The Center is the most crowded on the weekend.

CURRENT SHOWS

What shows are currently playing in the planetarium theater?

There are currently four shows playing in the Dorrance Planetarium at the Arizona Science Center. The schedule typically changes every few months and there are generally between four and five shows playing at a time.

What shows are currently playing in the Irene P. Flinn Theater?

Arizona Science Center's 280–seat Irene P. Flinn Theater runs two to three films daily on their five–story screen.

DINING

Is outside food allowed? Are picnic tables available?

Feel free to pack a lunch! Visitors to the Science Center can eat in the lunchroom off the lobby, on the 4th floor APS Solar Terrace, or outside of the building in Heritage Square (there is a big green "hill" as well as a few benches around Heritage Square).

Does the Arizona Science Center have a restaurant?

Yes! Bean Sprouts, located in the Science Center, provides "hip and healthy food options for families, with a fresh and creative approach to fun, tasty, and guilt–free meals." The menu includes organic coffees, teas, and smoothies, gourmet sandwiches ($8-$10), pizzas ($7-$8), and imaginative kids' snacks ($3-$7). Arizona Science Center members receive a 10% discount at Bean Sprouts with their membership cards.

What restaurants are located NEAR the Arizona Science Center?

You’re in luck! There are gads of terrific restaurants in the Downtown Phoenix area that are walkable from the Arizona Science Center. Try:

  • Nobuo at Teeter House, 622 E. Adams St (16 feet away) - Asian style teahouse, modern Japanese cuisine, open for lunch & dinner (Tues-Sun)
  • Pizzeria Bianco, 623 E. Adams St (16 feet away) -  artisanal pizza, lunch and dinner
  • Royal Coffee Bar, 618 E. Adams st (16 feet away) - coffee and espresso
  • Hard Rock Cafe Phoenix, 3 S. 2nd St (0.6 miles away) - burgers, salads, sandwiches, kids menu
  • Breakfast Club, 2 E. Jefferson St (0.6 miles away) - omelets, benedicts, french toast, yogurt, coffee, breakfast and lunch

BABIES & KIDS

What ages would be best suited for a visit to the Arizona Science Center?

All ages! You'll see new babies in carriers, as well as older adults.

As is the case with most museums and science centers, children who are able to read will get the most benefit out of the exhibits.

* Ages 3+ will probably enjoy the planetarium shows the most. Babies and toddlers are certainly welcome, but they may be frightened by the darkness. That said, you can always exit during the show if your baby is crying or restless. Note that once you exit, the doors lock behind you and you will not be able to re-enter.

Should I bring a stroller?

Sure. The center is large enough to warrant the use of a stroller if you have a little one. Elevators are available for easy navigation with a stroller between the four floors.

Are changing tables available?

Yes.

Does the center have a mother's room or nursing lounge?

Yes. There is a Family Restroom located on the first floor near the Membership Desk. It is labeled as a “Quiet Room” and has seating inside. For entry, ask someone at the Membership Desk for the key.

What about my pet?

While pets are not allowed, certified service animals are always welcome in Arizona Science Center and CREATE.

EVENTS

Can I have my wedding or rehearsal dinner at the Arizona Science Center?

Yes. A variety of spaces can be tailored for cocktail parties, wedding ceremonies, receptions, and anniversaries. Please call to inquire about dates and fees.

Can I have my child’s birthday party at the Arizona Science Center?

Yes! "Arizona Science Center invites children of all ages to celebrate their birthdays while learning a thing or two about science! Enjoy a private decorated room, pizza, a personal demo including liquid nitrogen, bottle rockets, or oobleck and so much more!"

There are three packages available - Scientist Party Package, Explorer Party Package, and CREATE Party Package.

MISCELLANY

Is Arizona Science Center active on social media?

Yes! You can follow the Arizona Science Center on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

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