Exploring Ann Arbor: Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center

Ann Arbor, Michigan, is home to two remarkable institutions that offer immersive educational experiences for children and adults alike: the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and the Leslie Science & Nature Center. These venues provide interactive exhibits and programs that foster a love for science, nature, and lifelong learning. Learn information about Ann Arbor, MI.

Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum, located in downtown Ann Arbor, is a vibrant destination that encourages exploration and discovery through interactive exhibits. Since its establishment in 1982, the museum has been dedicated to inspiring curiosity and understanding of the natural world, technology, and the sciences. Discover facts about Discovering Ann Arbor Ice Cube: A Hub for Ice Sports and Community Events.

Exhibits and Programs

The museum features over 250 exhibits designed to engage visitors of all ages. Notable exhibits include the “Legacy Gallery,” which explores the principles of physics and engineering through hands-on activities. The “DTE Energy Foundation Light and Optics” gallery offers insights into the science of light and vision, while the “Water Gallery” allows visitors to learn about the properties of water and the importance of this vital resource through interactive play.

For younger visitors, the “Preschool Gallery” provides a safe and stimulating environment where children under four can explore basic scientific concepts. The museum also offers a range of educational programs, including workshops, summer camps, and special events that align with school curricula and promote STEM education.

Community Engagement

The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum is deeply embedded in the local community. It partners with schools, libraries, and community organizations to extend its reach beyond the museum walls. Programs like “Science on the Go” bring hands-on science activities to classrooms, ensuring that educational opportunities are accessible to all children, regardless of their ability to visit the museum.

Leslie Science & Nature Center

Situated on the northern edge of Ann Arbor, the Leslie Science & Nature Center (LSNC) offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature and wildlife. Founded in 1986, LSNC spans 50 acres of diverse habitats, including woodlands, meadows, and ponds. It serves as a living laboratory where visitors can learn about the environment and wildlife conservation.

Wildlife and Habitats

LSNC is home to a variety of resident animals, including birds of prey, reptiles, and amphibians. The “Raptor Enclosures” house rehabilitated birds that cannot return to the wild, providing visitors with an up-close look at these magnificent creatures. The “Critter House” features live animals and interactive exhibits that teach about native Michigan species and their habitats.

Educational Programs

LSNC offers a broad array of programs designed to educate and inspire. These include school field trips, homeschool programs, and scout badge workshops. Seasonal camps and public programs, such as guided nature walks and citizen science projects, engage visitors in active learning and environmental stewardship.

Community Involvement

As a community resource, LSNC collaborates with local organizations to promote environmental education and conservation. Events like the annual “Nature Play Pop-Ups” and “Family Campouts” invite families to explore and enjoy the natural world together.


The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and Leslie Science & Nature Center are invaluable assets to the Ann Arbor community. Both institutions provide dynamic and interactive learning experiences that inspire curiosity and a deeper understanding of science and nature. Whether exploring the hands-on exhibits downtown or engaging with wildlife and habitats on the outskirts of the city, visitors of all ages can find something to ignite their passion for discovery and learning.