Our philosophy starts with the simple belief that kids are capable of incredible things. Our job is to nurture that ability; our goal is to support kids' healthy development. Play is how kids learn--here, it is in both a STEM-rich environment and inviting outdoor experience.
plan your visit
Advance Tickets Required
All visitors--including members--must reserve a ticket for a specific day and timeblock prior to coming to the Museum campus. No on-site ticket reservations will be available. Your tickets are only valid for the date and time you selected.
If you are unable to reserve your tickets online, please call us at 978-264-4200 to reserve your tickets over the phone.
In Case of Illness | Cancellation Policy
If at any time before your visit, you or anyone in your party is exposed to or exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19, please contact us for a complete refund and so we can release those tickets for other visitors. Call us at 978-264-4200
Eating and Drinking
No food or drink is allowed in the building; water bottles and baby bottles are the only exceptions. Water fountains are turned off; bottle fillers are still available for use. Snacks and drinks can be purchased from a vending machine located in the Discovery Store, but must be consumed outside.
Please use designated areas outside for snacking.
The Museum is professionally cleaned with CDC-recommended products each night after closing, including disinfecting all high-touch areas including door handles, knobs, elevator buttons, and stair rails.
Staff will be cleaning high touch areas throughout the day, using CDC-recommended products, with additional focus on total Museum sanitizing between visitor time blocks.
Loose parts throughout the campus have been reduced or removed. Those that remain will be either disinfected or swapped out for previously disinfected items between each visitor shift. In the da Vinci workshop, visitors will be provided with tools and materials for their personal use; those materials will be disinfected before being circulated into use again.
Discovery Museum’s air handling system specifications have been provided by industry professionals and reviewed by Town officials. Based on that we understand that our air exchange rate is more than sufficient for our standard, pre-COVID building capacity and in fact far exceeds the requirements given our current restricted capacity. The Museum’s air handling system provides for air flow at 11,275 cubic feet per minute (CFM), allowing for an occupancy just over 1,500 people, or 12 times the number of people allowed in the building under current MA COVID-19 business restrictions. Museum HVAC systems have been upgraded to MERV-13 rated air filters.
Adults are expected to help the children they are visiting with to follow all health and safety rules.
Health & Safety
We reserve the right to refuse admission or ask people to leave the campus if they show signs of illness or are not following the health and safety rules that have been put in place.
Please email Kathie Watt for more information about Field Trips or other group visits.
We are collecting non-perishable food donations for the Acton Food Pantry and Open Table; a collection bin is in our lobby. Please consider bringing a donation if you are able.
What's New? What's the Same?
Watch this fun short video to find out!
Visitors ages 2 and up must wear a mask or appropriate facial covering inside the Museum at all times; masks are encouraged in our outdoor spaces as well. Per MA guidelines, masks or facial coverings must be form-fitting to the side of the head and be fastened with ear loops or ties. Gaitors, scarves, and bandannas are not acceptable. Masks with valves are not allowed unless the valve is covered with tape or another form-fitting mask. .
If you are unable to wear a mask due to a disability or medical condition, please notify our staff at the Admissions desk when you arrive.
Face shields are not required. They may be worn in addition to a mask, but not in place of a mask.
Please bring your own masks or other facial coverings with you, as they will not be provided by the Museum. We do have a limited number of child-sized masks available for sale.
MA Travel Advisory
As of Monday, March 22, all visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival. Travelers in the following categories are exempt from this quarantine advisory:
- Travelers who have received a negative COVID-19 result on a test administered not more than 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts. Travelers may also test out of the quarantine advisory after arrival in Massachusetts, as long as they quarantine until receiving a negative test result.
- Anyone who is entering Massachusetts for fewer than 24 hours
- Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after being out of the State for fewer than 24 hours
- Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) during required commuting to or from work and while at work.
- Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago) and who do not have symptoms.
Check here for the latest advisory: MA Travel Order page
All visitors and staff must keep 6' physical distance between themselves and other persons at all times.
The Museum will operate at reduced capacity, currently below state guidelines.
There are capacity limits for each exhibit gallery and our outdoor spaces--many spaces are limited to one family/visitor group at a time. Please be mindful of capacity signs throughout the campus and only enter a space once it is free.
Please adhere to one-way marked walking flows both inside and outside the building. To review the flow in advance, check out our flow map.
All five restrooms in the Museum are now assigned to be Family restrooms only. Only one family/visitor group may use a restroom at a time.
There is a one-way flow through our parking lot; please observe all signs. Visitors should park in alternate spots to allow for safe physical distancing for people entering and exiting vehicles
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.
Parking is free.
The Discovery Store is OPEN! We've got many of our most popular items available for purchase behind the front desk: amethysts, books, puzzles, science kits, craft supplies, and now kids' face masks too. We are currently offering a 25% discount for members on all store merchandise, and 10% off for non-members! You can shop during your scheduled visit, or, drop-in during any visitation block (9-11am, noon-2pm, 3:00-4:30pm) to shop, just be sure to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols described on this page.
Please wear a mask at all times in the store.
Tickets required--including members!
DISCOVERY MUSEUM and DISCOVERY WOODS
Tuesday - Sunday:
- 9:00am - 11am
- 12pm - 2pm
- 3pm - 4:30pm
The Museum will be cleaned between each timeblock. Visitors must leave promptly by the end of their timeblock.
Summer Friday Nights Free will kick off on Friday, June 25! Join us with free admission from 5:30 - 7:30pm every Friday night this summer through September 3rd. We will gratefully accept non-perishable food items to be distributed to local food pantries.
Please note: Members can reserve tickets up to 14 days prior to their visit, non-members up to 10 days prior.
You must still reserve tickets online in advance. You may admission when you arrive. If you have a coupon, free pass, corporate admission benefit, pre-purchased ticket, library pass, EBT or WIC benefits, or any other other discount to apply, please present it to the Admissions staff when you check in and the discount will be applied to the cost of your visit.
ONE Price for Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods
Senior (60+): $14.50
Under 1 year old: Free
Teachers are always free!
Members: FREE 25% off membership--Learn More
Tips for Visiting
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.
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.
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.
If your child uses a hearing device such as hearing aids or a cochlear implant, you may want to bring a water-resistant cover for them.
Strollers are permitted in the Discovery Museum, however we recommend a Snugglie or backpack carrier for your visit to this building. If a stroller is necessary, an umbrella stroller works best.
We encourage visitors to leave their strollers in their cars when possible.
All five restrooms in the building include changing tables.
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.
Smoking of any kind, including tobacco, marijuana, vaping, juuling, or any other e-cigarette, is prohibited throughout the entire campus, including Discovery Woods.
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.
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.
Discovery Museum and our Discovery Woods nature playscape and Treehouse are all wheelchair accessible. Service dogs are welcome.
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 building and 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 accessible. An accessible pathway winds through the space, and the Discovery Treehouse is accessed on-grade from the driveway.
Resources available to prepare for your visit include Story Guides (social stories) to visiting the Museum during COVID protocols and visiting Discovery Woods, as well a Sensory Guide. These are available both online and at our Admissions Desk. You might also visit the Exhibits section of our website. Please note that Discovery Woods is open year-round, but closes at dusk and will not be open for evening events during the winter months.
Noise reducing headphones are available to visitors who may be sensitive to sound or need a break from stimulation. A portable step stool is available to borrow for easier access to exhibits. Please ask at the Admissions Desk for these items.
If your child uses a hearing device such as hearing aids or a cochlear implant, you may want to bring a water-resistant cover for them for your time spent in our Water Gallery.
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.
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.
We ask that any adults who wish to visit the museum without a child leave a photo ID at our Admissions desk.
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!
Just ask! Our Explorer staff members are here to support your museum experience. They can be identified by their name tags and the purple aprons worn in the museum and purple aprons or blue jackets worn in Discovery Woods.
Getting Here & Parking
TRAVELING TO THE DISCOVERY MUSEUM TODAY? HOORAY!
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.
Take the Mass Pike West to Exit 15 (Route 95/128 North). Follow directions for Route 95/128.
Take Route 290 East to Exit 26 (Route 495 North) toward Lowell. Follow directions for Route 495 heading north.
Visiting from Boston? Download our subway and Commuter Rail directions and tips, including information on fun things to do together while you travel! Our Boston Travel Guide was developed in conjunction with Countdown to Kindergarten.
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. Click here for a map of the walking route.
For a transportation service within the town of Acton, try MinuteVan: email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 978-844-6809.
Cross-Acton Transit Bus
The CAT rides right past the museum entrance! We are not an official stop on the route, but the drivers will happily stop here if you let them know. Learn more at http://www.crossactontransit.com/.
Holiday & Vacation Week Hours 2021
Please note that if you do not see a specific holiday listed here, it is because we are open regular hours that day. ADVANCE RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED TO VISIT.
New Year's Day
Friday, January 1
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
Monday, January 18
Monday, February 15
School Vacation Week
Tuesday, February 16 - Friday, February 19
No special hours
Friday, April 2
Sunday, April 4
Monday, April 19
School Vacation Week
Tuesday, April 20 - Friday, April 23
Monday, May 31
No special hours
Sunday, July 4
No special hours
Monday, September 6
Tuesday, September 7 - Monday, September 13
Thursday, September 16
Indigenous Peoples' Day
Monday, October 11
Saturday, October 31
OPEN 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (early close)
Thursday, November 11
Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day
Wednesday, November 24 & Thursday, November 25
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Friday, December 24 & Saturday, December 25
School Vacation Week
Monday, December 28 - Thursday, December 30
New Years’ Eve
Friday, December 31
OPEN 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (early close)