Science City: A Place for Early Learners

This post is sponsored by Science City at Union Station. Check out their new exhibits, designed for Kansas City’s earliest learners in mind.

Did you know there is a new early childhood learning space open at Science City? I was so excited to have the opportunity to check it out before it opened to the public! This 13,000 square-foot area is just what we needed as a family with young kids. There are three new spaces for younger kids: Let’s Play, Creative Corner, and All Aboard.

Let’s Play

This is such a unique and perfectly-designed space for littles birth to age three. Toddlers can explore Babyscape (a small, soft space with mirrors and interactive activities walled off from the walkers), Pretend Play (complete with costumes), Ramps & Runs (for the busy ones!) and Air Play areas.

Science City Early Learning

Mom Tips

  • There is a large family restroom.
  • There is a nursing/bottle feeding room complete with a microwave for your convenience.
  • Older children are discouraged from being in this space for safety reasons, so plan accordingly if you have a child in AND out of this age range (0-3 years).
  • There is a great play ground space right outside of Let’s Play and Creative Corner immediately to the left (perfect to take an older child to if needed!).
  • Capacity is limited to reinforce social distancing for you and your child’s safety, so plan ahead and get your tickets to ensure your spot.
Cozy little feeding room complete with books and a chair for big sister or brother.

My Favorite Thing

  • This room has gorgeous natural lighting from the wall of windows that look out to the train track and outdoor playground. You feel like you’re inside but outside at the same time.
  • Everything in this space is perfectly sized for the age group. Toddlers and babies are free to safely navigate the area on their own.
  • My two-year-old loved the train table and the air play.

Creative Corner

This area is next door to Let’s Play and is designed for ages seven and under, but is open to all ages. The outer wall is glass and you can see kids painting it from the inside — so cool! There are a few different areas of Creative Corner — the sand room, an everything provided open-ended crafting space that changes daily, and the painting room, complete with a child-sized sink.

Mom Tips

  • Smocks provided for the painting. Great for those who prefer to avoid the “p” word (painting) at home…
  • Great space for both younger and older siblings to enjoy simultaneously.

My Favorite Things

  • I love that there is an art educator on staff for this area!
  • Activities and materials change daily with both open-ended art and guided classes provided (included in admission).

All Aboard

This is an incredible exhibit, perfect for babies through great-grandparents! If you have a train lover in your home, this one is a must. With plenty of room to roam and explore, All Aboard offers a variety of educational, hands- on activities including playing in the Steam Locomotive and Mail Car where your child can blow the whistle, create steam, and sort the mail, all while dressed as a train conductor. The dining and sleeper cars allow your kids to play pretend with serving meals and taking a snooze, complete with train books to read in bed! Kids can transfer grain (round play pit balls) from a wagon into a truck, then onto a grain elevator and into a railway car. Using cranks, wheels and levers, children can watch and move the pit balls from harvest to train. For the builders, there are different areas to build with Brio, and an incredibly intricate Kansas City scene model train display. There is even a tunnel to crawl through to a secret porthole!

Mom Tips

  • Plan a lot of time for this one. We could have stayed here all day!
  • Perfect for all ages.

My Favorite Things

  • For someone who knows little to nothing about trains, I loved the educational displays and information directly connected to the activities my kids were doing. I was able to answer questions and learn alongside my kids.
  • The design of the space is just awesome. It has an industrial feel, and has a massive glass wall that looks out to the actual train tracks.
  • In the Brio train building area, there is a table that is perfect for wheelchair access or a child in a stroller.
  • The real world to play connections are beautifully done.

Now that you are convinced to go check this out,
a few last mom tips for you…

  • Plan to park in the garage for easy and direct access to Science City. Right now, entrance into Science City is on the B Level right past the Ticket Office. Beware that to exit Science City you walk directly through the gift shop. You’ve been warned.
  • There is a place to leave your stroller by the ticket purchase desk and also by Let’s Play.
  • Carve out a decent chunk of time because you could easily spend the whole day here!
  • Twelve months and under are free!
  • There are two timed sessions (one in the morning and one in the afternoon) and a limited amount of tickets that must be purchased in advance. During the time they are closed the staff is disinfecting the entire space to keep Science City safe for play. With all of the changes that had to be made there is also no food or drink allowed inside anymore. 

This incredible early childhood addition rounds out Science City to not only be an engaging science center but a wonderful children’s museum, as well — a place that your whole family will love.

*Be sure to check the Science City website for updated information on COVID-19 safety procedures and current hours.

Megan Coffey
Hi! I'm Megan, former teacher turned stay-at-home-but-never-home mom to Peyton, 7, and Gage, 4. I host the Kansas City MomCast podcast! I'm married to the most patient person on this earth, Chris, and we live in Overland Park with our kids, an insane lab, and two guinea pigs. You can find me over committing to everything, reading informational and self-help texts, listening to podcasts, organizing, spending time with friends over margaritas, thrifting, and staying up way too late to have peace and serenity. I love people and hearing their stories and look forward to connecting with KCMC readers!