Discover Hands-on Science Fun at the Science Mill
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Science Mill

Location(s): 
Science Mill - (844) 263-6405

Hands-on Science Fun at the Science Mill
Discover the fun of science at the Science Mill in Johnson City! Housed in an historic 1880s mill in the heart of the Hill Country, this innovative science museum offers a fun, interactive learning experience for all ages.
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Children playing with a racetrack inside a museum.
A New Gathering Place
Opened in February of 2015, the Science Mill recycles a historic community landmark into a gathering place for the community and a forum for science exploration. The museum renovated the historical structures of the mill with minimal connective additions, so the museum space is bright, modern and airy. The design was conceived not as a contrast between new and old, but as the dynamic evolution of the mill from a place of industrial production to a place that can produce science leaders for the new generation.
A child examining an aquaponics garden.

Unique, Hands-On Exhibits

The Science Mill encourages interactive learning and creative thinking with more than 50 innovative, hands-on indoor and outdoor exhibits that can’t be found anywhere else in the world, as well as regular special events with fun, educational activities that the whole family will enjoy.

One of the most popular exhibits is the Fractalarium, a unique experience combining art and science in a 40-foot repurposed grain silo. This larger-than-life lighted representation of Romensco broccoli shows how fractals, or repeating patterns, occur in nature.

In the Bio Lab, visitors can see axolotls and zebra fish (and learn why scientists like to study them). Outside, they can control a 30-foot-tall Colossal Robotic Hand using a mini-hand joystick, or make balls move through a complex system of tracks and pulleys in the Incredible Ball Machine.

In 2019, the Science Mill opened a 1,000-square-foot Aquaponics Greenhouse, where visitors can see how fish, plants and microbes work together in a unique ecosystem to create healthy food. In this experience, tilapia, prawns, koi and snapping turtles provide the food to grow fruit, vegetables and tropical plants in vertical growing tubes, floating rafts and a giant living wall. Kids will have a blast marking off these creatures and plants in the museum’s Greenhouse Bingo game.

In the Science Mill’s newest exhibit, SciDive 4D, visitors put on a VR headset and use their arms to control the full-body motion table, exploring the coral reef from the vantage point of a sea turtle.

The outdoor Science and Art Park features unique experiences such as the Colossal Robotic Hand, the Giant Wave Pendulum, the Incredible Ball Machine, the Fossil Dig and more.

These are just a few of the many exhibits that combine creativity and hands-on learning through art, kinetic technology, augmented and virtual reality, computer gaming and 4D experiences. While each exhibit has a brief description in English and Spanish, visitors won't find lengthy how-to guides or instructions. This is by design, so each visitor can create their own unique Science Mill experience each and every time they visit. Highly trained Explainers are positioned across the museum to answer questions.

A 3D movie theater features short films throughout the day, and the museum’s Science Store has the best selection of science-focused toys, books, games and gifts in the Hill Country. When museum-goers get hungry, the on-site Lady Bird Lane Café, a small farm-to-table restaurant, offers lunches using local and regional ingredients.

A boy looking through a microscope.

Special Events

From Snow Day in January, to Butterfly Bonanza in the spring, to Shark Week in the summer, the Science Mill regularly hosts special events that bring science to life through fun and engaging activities and special presentations. Visit http://sciencemill.org, sign up for their email list or find them on Facebook to get the latest information on upcoming events.

Outreach and Impact

By igniting their curiosity and inspiring them to understand the relevance of science in everyday life, the Science Mill experience starts kids on the path to a lifelong career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

In addition to welcoming day trippers to the museum, the Science Mill hosts thousands of students each year on field trips and Homeschool Days, and they even offer Labs on the Go to schools that can’t make the trip to Johnson City. The Science Mill’s summer camp program has grown to a number of locations in Central and South Central Texas, and they also offer Professional Development workshops for upper elementary and middle school teachers.

Large, silver mechanical hands.

Admission and Military Discount

General admission to the Science Mill includes all exhibits and 3D movie and is free for ages 0-2; $9.50 for ages 3-18; $11 for adults, $9 for seniors.

Thanks to the generous support of Whataburger, the Science Mill is pleased to offer half-price admission for any active or retired military service member with a valid ID and up to three family members.

Visit sciencemill.org for more information on hours, special events, birthday parties, group visits, field trips and summer camps.

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