plan your visit

Hours

school year hours

Through June 17, 2018

For holiday and vacation week hours, click here.

DISCOVERY MUSEUM

Monday: Closed

Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

First Friday of each month: 4:30pm to 8:00pm, with free admission

DISCOVERY WOODS

Monday: Closed

Tuesday - Sunday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

First Friday of each month, while light allows: 4:30pm to dusk, with free admission

 

Summer Hours

Begin June 18, 2018

For holiday and vacation week hours, click here.

DISCOVERY MUSEUM

Every day: 9:00am - 4:30pm

Fridays: 4:30pm - 8:00pm with free admission

DISCOVERY WOODS

Every day: 9:00am - 4:30pm  

Fridays: 4:30pm - 8:00pm with free admission

 

Admission

ONE Price for Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods

Adult: $14.50

Senior (60+): $13.50

Child: $14.50

Under 1 year old: Free

Teachers are always free!

Members: FREE Learn More


First Friday Night Free!

During the school year, we are open with FREE admission on the FIRST Friday night of each month, from 4:30pm - 8:00pm.

During summer, we are open with FREE admission EVERY Friday night of the month! 

We will gratefully accept non-perishable food donations for local food pantries.

 

First Friday Night Free is generously sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Emerson Hospital. Thank you!

Tips for Visiting

Facilities

There is one museum building and an outdoor nature playscape on our campus; the Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods are both accessible and are for all ages. The Discovery Museum combines the best exhibits—beautifully reimagined and redesigned using Universal Design principles—from the former Science Discovery Museum and Children's Discovery Museum into one building. There are also a number of outdoor exhibits spread throughout our 4.5 acre campus, and a trailhead to 180 acres of Great Hill conservation land. And, of course, Bessie the dinosaur graces our front lawn.

Programs

We offer more than 400 staff-led programs per year, free with admission or membership. Most of these programs have drop-in hours—come when you can! Check our calendar to see what’s scheduled on the day of your planned visit.

If you come for an outdoor program—they often take place no matter the weather—please be sure to dress your child (and yourself!) for the time outside. Coats, hats, gloves, and proper footwear can make an outdoor experience even more enjoyable for your little one.

Risk

Children should be adequately supervised by responsible adults at all times.

Discovery Woods is an outdoor museum exhibit about nature play and choosing to take “just right” risks.

Adult supervision by you helps kids make choices that are right for their age and ability.  It is ok for kids to decide that an activity might be for “next time” they come.

How Long Does a Visit Take?

Good question—it really depends on the age and interests of your child! First-time visitors who visit all of our facilities spend up to three hours learning, playing, and exploring. You are welcome to leave the buildings to picnic on our campus or go out to lunch, and re-enter later in the day.

Change of Clothes?

There are waterproof smocks available in our Water Gallery. But, exploration of the properties of water can sometimes result in some wet clothing. You might consider bringing a change of clothes for your young scientist, or visiting the Water Gallery at the end of your visit rather than at the beginning.

EATING

Out of respect for people with allergies, no food or drinks are permitted on the exhibit floors or in Discovery Woods. Snacks can be eaten while seated on the benches in our lobby, and there are a number of picnic tables on our patio and throughout the grounds. Feel free to picnic outside and re-enter the buildings when ready.

In our gift shop there is a vending machine of healthy snacks and drinks, and we are happy to recommend nearby family-friendly eateries; please ask for a map with locations at the Admission desk.

Strollers

Strollers are permitted in the Discovery Museum, however we recommend a Snugglie or backpack carrier for your visit to this building; these are available to borrow at the Admissions desk.  If a stroller is necessary, an umbrella stroller works best.

Stroller parking is available outside the building or in the lobby.

Restrooms

There are five restrooms in the building: a family restroom, boys restroom, and girls restroom on the first floor; boys and girls restrooms on the second floor. All restrooms are handicap accessible and include changing tables.

Changing Areas

All five restrooms in the building include changing tables.

Infant Feeding/Nursing

A private Care and Feeding Corner is located in the Brain Building Together exhibiton the second floor. It is equipped with a dimmable light, glider chair, and outlet. A bottle warmer and sink are available nearby.

No Smoking

The museum has a no smoking policy for the entire campus, including Discovery Woods.

SMILE!

During your visit you may be photographed and/or videotaped by our staff for marketing purposes. If you prefer not to be, please tell us at the Admissions desk. We will happily provide stickers to your party so that we know to avoid you with our cameras.

PARKING

The museum has free parking. We are currently in the process of adding more parking to our campus, but in the meantime please note that our busiest times are 10am to noon.

Please observe the fire lane signs and park only in designated spaces to keep the lot safe for pedestrians, buses, and emergency vehicle access. Use your creativity inside the museum, not in the parking lots!

Handicap spots are available near the rear of the building.

The town of Acton offers its MinuteVan service on weekdays. Call 978-844-6809 to make a reservation, or book your trip on their website. Trips must be booked 24 hours in advance. MinuteVan services are separate and independent from the Discovery Museum.

Let It Snow!

New England weather can be unpredictable! There may be snow or ice on the Discovery Woods path, so please wear appropriate footwear and walk carefully. And please, dress your children for the weather--they may want to play outside longer than you anticipate!

Accessibility

We welcome visitors of all ability and mobility levels and will work with you or your group to accommodate any special needs. Please call 978-264-4200 x111 with any questions.

Our Especially for Me programs offer free admission hours and special events for families with members with an autism spectrum disorder, with vision loss, and who are deaf or hard of hearing. 

The Discovery Museum has three floors; each is accessible by elevator. There are two elevators in the buildingand an accessible entrance. Exhibits are accessible and were designed based on Universal Design principles to be useable and appealing to the widest range of people. 

Discovery Woods is inclusive and fully accessible. An accessible pathway winds through the space, and the Discovery Treehouse is accessed on-grade from the driveway.

Please view and download our Story Guide for Discovery Woods to help plan your visit with your child.

Noise reducing headphones are available to visitors who may be sensitive to sound or need a break from stimulation; please ask at the Admissions desk.

Looking for a quiet spot? A staff member will be happy to point you in the right direction or find a good spot for you and your child.

Adults Matter

We ask that all children under the age of 14 be accompanied by an adult at all times. Children are not permitted to enter or leave the buildings or Discovery Woods without an adult.

Unaccompanied Adults

We ask that any adults who wish to visit the museum without a child leave a photo ID at our Admissions desk.

Museum Cleaning Policies

Our floor staff cleans surfaces and exhibit components throughout the day.

“Tasted Toy" bins are provided in Bessie's House and Brain Building Together for any toys that are accidentally mouthed. All toys are disinfected before being put back out on the floor.

A professional cleaning service provides deep cleaning at night.

There are hand sanitizing stations in the building.

a word on waits

We don't anticipate reaching capacity in our new building, but if it happens we will create a wait list. Your party will be given a number when you check in, and you will be admitted as soon as space opens up. You are free to enjoy our outdoor exhibits and Discovery Woods. And as long as you have your wait number, you may leave museum grounds without losing your place in line.

Planning to visit when the museum first opens, or late afternoons, can help you avoid crowds.

Need Help?

Just ask! Our Explorer staff members are here to support your museum experience. They can be identified by the purple aprons worn in the museum or blue jackets worn in Discovery Woods. 

Getting Here & Parking

TRAVELING TO THE DISCOVERY MUSEUM TODAY? HOORAY!

 
Our address: 177 Main Street (Route 27) Acton, MA 01720  
 
Bessie the Dinosaur graces our our front yard; the museum is down the driveway past Bessie, and not directly visible from the street.
 
Parking is FREE! We are currently adding more parking to our campus, but in the meantime please note that our busiest times are 10am to noon.

 

 

Driving Directions

From Route 95/128

Take Exit 29B (Route 2 West) toward Acton/Fitchburg. Follow Route 2 West for about 10 miles to the Concord rotary, and take the third exit off the rotary. Continue on Route 2 West for about 2 miles. Bear left at Exit 43 (Route 111). At the lights, turn left onto Route 27 South.  The museum is 1/2 mile ahead on your left.

From Route 495 heading South

Take Exit 29A (Route 2 East). Continue on Route 2 for approximately 5 miles to Exit 42 (Route 27 South) toward Maynard (not Acton). The museum is one mile ahead on your left.

From Route 495 heading North

Take Exit 28 (Route 111 Boxborough/Harvard). At the end of the ramp, turn left toward Boxborough. Continue on Route 111 for approximately 5 miles to the second set of lights. Turn right onto Route 27.  The museum is 1/2 mile ahead on your left.

From Route 27 heading South

Follow Route 27 through Chelmsford into Acton (you will cross over Route 2).  The museum is 1 mile ahead on your left.

From Route 27 heading North

Follow Route 27 through Natick, Wayland and Sudbury. In Maynard, Route 27 takes a left turn followed by a right turn. Entering Acton you will cross a bridge over railroad tracks, followed immediately by a set of lights. Go straight through the lights.  The museum is 1/4 mile ahead on your right.

From Boston

Take the Mass Pike West to Exit 15 (Route 95/128 North). Follow directions for Route 95/128.

From Worcester

Take Route 290 East to Exit 26 (Route 495 North) toward Lowell. Follow directions for Route 495 heading north.

 

Mass Transportation

Commuter Rail

 The museum is .4 mile from the South Acton commuter rail station. From the station, head East on Railroad Street to Route 27. Make a left onto Route 27 and walk 7-8 minutes. The museum will be on your right.

MinuteVan

For a transportation service within the town of Acton, try MinuteVan: email coordinator@minutevan.net, phone 978-844-6809.

Holiday & Vacation Week Hours 2018

JANUARY 2018

New Year's Day

OPEN 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Monday, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, January 15

 

FEBRUARY 2018

Presidents' Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, February 19 - Friday, February 23

 

March 2018

Good Friday

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Friday, March 30

 

April 2018

Easter Sunday

CLOSED

Sunday, April 1

Patriot's Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, April 16 - Friday, April 20

 

May 2018

Memorial Day

CLOSED

Monday, May 28

 

June 2018

No holidays

 

JULY 2018

Independence Day

CLOSED

Wednesday, July 4

 

August 2018

No holidays

September 2018

Labor Day

CLOSED

Monday, September 3

Maintenance Week

CLOSED

Tuesday, September 4 - Sunday, September 9

Rosh Hashanah

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, September 10

Yom Kippur

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Wednesday, September 19

 

October 2018

Indigenous Peoples' Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, October 8

Halloween

OPEN 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (early close)

Wednesday, October 31

 

November 2018

Veteran's Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, November 12

Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving day

CLOSED

Wednesday, November 21 & Thursday, November 22

 

December 2018

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

CLOSED

Monday, December 24 & Tuesday, December 25

School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Wednesday, December 26 - Sunday, December 30

New Year's Eve

OPEN 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Monday, December 31