15 Ways to Explore the Kirby Science Center in Sioux Falls, SD

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This summer, we spent an unexpected few days in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. We were supposed to stay overnight as a layover on our way to Wisconsin, but when we saw all of the family friendly activities, we decided to extend our visit. We had a wonderful 3+ days exploring the area. One of our favorite spots was the  Kirby Science Discovery Center, located in the Washington Pavilion

The Pavilion, a former high school, has over 250,000 square feet of performing arts, visual arts, and museum space under one roof: Husby Performing Arts Center, home to two theaters (a 1881 seat hall and 290 seat theater), the Visual Arts Center, with eight galleries of exhibition space and the Visitor Center to the Sculpture Walk and outdoor Sculpture Garden, and the CineDome, which shows a variety of short films on the 60 foot domed screen (and has super comfy, reclining seats!).  Leonardo’s Café, both a full service café and catering company, is also on site. We spent a majority of our time at the Kirby Science Discovery Center, a three floor museum with over 100 hands-on exhibits and activities. 

outdoor entrance to Kirby Science Center

Travel Tips:

  • Information on admission fees and hours here; Typically, the center is open from 10am until 5pm Tuesday through Saturday, 12pm-5pm on Sundays. The center is open on Mondays and has longer hours during summer months.
  • Check here for a daily calendar of events across all venues at the Washington Pavilion.
  • Parking is available several lots and on the street- more information here
  • Restrooms located on the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd floors
  • The entire complex is handicap accessible via elevators and strollers are allowed
  • Small concession stand (snacks and drinks mainly for the ClineDome shows) available on the 2nd floor; also check out Leonardo’s Cafe
  • Plan on at least 2 hours to fully explore all three floors of exhibits and more time to watch a show ($2 surcharge) in the CineDome- schedule here
Kirby Science Center in Sioux Falls, SD

Top 5 Things Toddlers Will Want to Do:

  1. Splash in all of the water tables in the Room to Grow exhibit. (2nd floor)
  2. Dig for fossils in the Dinosaur Discovery exhibit. (3rd floor)
  3. Explore the toddler area in the Health Quest exhibit. (4th floor)
  4. Hop inside a tractor cab and pretend to drive into the field in the Grow It! exhibit. (3rd floor)
  5. Climb on, over, and through the massive, two story tall indoor structure in the Prehistoric Adventure Climber.(4th floor)

Top 5 Elementary Age Children Will Want to Do:

  1. Crawl through tunnels and learn all about the life of bugs and their contributions to maintaining the health of the land in the Grow it! exhibit. (3rd floor) 
  2. Test your biology knowledge with many hands-on challenges, including a 21 foot replica human body,  in the Health Quest exhibit. (4th floor)
  3. Test your South Dakota historical knowledge with an interactive trivia game in the Learn South Dakota exhibit. (3rd floor)
  4. Check out all the bright lights in the Glowing Gallery. (3rd floor) 
  5. Balance across the rock climbing wall and bikes in the fit Zone exhibit. (4th floor)

5 Things Kids at Heart Will Want to Do:

  1. Complete the scavenger hunt in Jack’s Imagination Lab. (2nd floor)
  2. Solve prehistoric puzzles of dinosaur skeletons on interactive touch screens in Dinosaur Discovery exhibit. (3rd floor)
  3. Step inside the Tornado Alley and feel winds up to 90 miles an hour. (3rd floor)
  4. Race against the clock in brain challenges an reaction time contests in the Health Quest  exhibit. (4th floor)
  5. Watch a show in the four story CineDome Theater. Check out the movie schedule here. Note: there is a $2 per person surcharge for movies.

For more fun, check out our Sioux Falls City Guide and 10 Family Friendly Places to Eat in Sioux Falls

Welcome to South Dakota exhibit at Kirby Science Center

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11 Comments

  1. Wow! This looks like a great place to visit and have some fun!! Sometimes we skip stuff like this because for us it is about the motorcycle ride, but you are inspiring us to make more of these stops! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Looks like such a fun and educational day out! Thanks for a lovely read, will definitely check it out if I am ever in the area 🙂

  3. What a great place to explore together! This is definitely got to be a top family attraction for the area and super fun for adults too.

  4. Wow that museum looks like so much fun! If I was a kid, I would be having the best time. I think those things for a kid at heart also look so fun. I am always down for a scavenger hunt.

  5. I love that they have made use of an old high school for this super cool space. What a great place for a whole family to play together.

  6. My inner child is coming out… I want to go! This looks so fun! My niece, and even us adults, would absolutely love this. If I’m ever in South Dakota, I’m making a pit stop here! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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