plan your visit

COVID-19

Tickets

All visitors--including members--must reserve a ticket for a specific day and timeslot 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 on the premises; water bottles and baby bottles are the only exceptions.

Water fountains are turned off; bottle fillers are still available for use.

Our snack vending machine has been turned off and will not be available for use.

Cleaning

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

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. 

Adult Support

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.

Group Visits

Under state guidelines, camps and daycare centers cannot offer field trips this summer.

Masks

All staff and visitors ages 5 and up must wear a mask covering their nose and mouth at all times on the Museum campus, both indoors and outdoors. Masks are encouraged for children ages 2-4, in accordance with state guidelines.

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.

Please bring your own masks or other facial coverings with you, as they will not be provided by the Museum. 

Physical Distancing

All visitors and staff must keep 6' physical distance between themselves and other persons at all times.

Capacity Limits

The Museum will operate at reduced capacity, in accordance with state guidelines. 

There are capacity limits for each exhbit 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.

Directional Flow

Please adhere to one-way marked walking flows both inside and outside the building.

Restrooms

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.

Parking

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. 

Travelers

Do not visit the Museum if you have traveled to Massachusetts within the last 14 days from any location except Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey, and have not self-quarantined for 14 days in accordance with state guidelines.

Discovery Store

Our museum store is currently closed for health and safety reasons. We hope to offer some merchandise for online sale soon.

Hours

school year hours

Begin September 10, 2019

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 17, 2019

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

 

Tickets

ONE Price for Discovery Museum and Discovery Woods

Adult: $15.50

Senior (60+): $14.50

Child: $15.50

Under 1 year old: Free

Teachers are always free!

Members: FREE Learn More


Visit for free on many Friday nights!

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

During the summer, we are open with FREE admission EVERY Friday night from 4:30 to 8:00pm, through Labor Day! 

We will gratefully accept non-perishable food donations for local food pantries including Acton Food Pantry and Open Table of Concord and Maynard. Thank you!

 

First Friday Nights Free are generously sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank. 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.

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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.

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.

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

Smoking of any kind, including tobacco, marijuana, vaping, juuling, or any other e-cigarette, is prohibited throughout 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.

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 the Museum and 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.

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.

Need Help?

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!

 
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 weekends from 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

 

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. 

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.  Click here for a map of the walking route.

MinuteVan

For a transportation service within the town of Acton, try MinuteVan: email coordinator@minutevan.net 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 2019-2020

Please note that if you do not see a specific holiday listed here, it is because we are open regular hours that day, 9am to 4:30pm. Only exceptions to our hours are listed here.

JANUARY 2020

New Year's Day

OPEN 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM (late open)

Wednesday, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, January 20

 

FEBRUARY 2020

Presidents' Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, February 17 - Friday, February 21

 

March 2020

No special hours

 

April 2020

Easter Sunday

CLOSED

Sunday, April 12

Patriot's Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, April 20 - Friday, April 24

 

May 2020

Memorial Day

CLOSED

Monday, May 25

 

June 2020

No special hours

 

July 2020

Independence Day

CLOSED

Saturday, July 4

 

August 2019

No special hours

September 2020

Labor Day

CLOSED

Monday, September 7

Maintenance Week

CLOSED

Tuesday, September 8 - Monday, September 14

Yom Kippur

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, September 28

 

October 2020

Indigenous Peoples' Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, October 12

Halloween

OPEN 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (early close)

Saturday, October 31

 

November 2020

Veteran's Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Wednesday, November 11

Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving Day

CLOSED

Wednesday, November 25 & Thursday, November 26

 

December 2019

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

CLOSED

Tuesday, December 24 & Wednesday, December 25

School Vacation

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, December 23 & Thursday, December 26 through Monday, December 30

New Year's Eve

OPEN 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM (early close)

Tuesday, December 31