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“Bring your kids! Perfect for a family outing”

Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium
Ranked #20 of 71 things to do in Roanoke
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Owner description: Fun for the whole family, the Science Museum of Western Virginia features a tropical butterfly garden filled with butterflies from around the world; fun and interactive exhibits exploring Healthy Bodies, Healthy Earth and How It Works; live animals and the popular "FROGS"; the Living River & Touch Tank; and amazing traveling exhibits such as "TUTANKHAMUN: Wonderful Things From The Pharaoh's Tomb," running June 14-Dec. 31, 2014.
Reviewed 13 May 2014

Since the Museums reopening in Center in the Square I have decided to become a regular, my daughter actually wants to see the exhibit’s and learn about History of our town and wants to explore everything she can. The Museum is now housed alongside the Science Museum which has rotational exhibits and even a touching tank for the kids.

The rotating exhibits are extremely well placed and educational, they currently have a parasite exhibit showing the weird freaky parasites that are in the world, They also have a plasticized human being on display showing the organs and details of the human body. You should check there website to see what current special programs they offer, The Dinosaur program was an extremely big hit with my daughter!

1  Thank CommoGuy4u
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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63 - 67 of 74 reviews

Reviewed 9 April 2014

Not many cities can boast of a Butterfly Garden, but Roanoke has one! I was able to attend several of the "Butterflies at Five" and it was a totally elegant evening with wine and snacks and information. The culmination of the evening was releasing your own butterfly. It can't get much better than this. They have also recently created a new frog exhibit with exotic frogs. I must salute the staff of the Science Museum on their knowledge and willingness to create an exciting environment for all ages. Their new habitat has lots of room for growth and they are getting bigger and better as each month passes!

1  Thank Diane1313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 March 2014

If you are looking for a way to spend a few hours in Roanoke, I highly recommend that you check out the Science Museum of Western Virginia. Their renovated exhibit space is architecturally lovely, the Butterfly Garden is beautiful, and the partnership with Virginia Tech allows for fascinating, rotating exhibits that come straight out of current research. Go up to the roof of for a stunning view of the Roanoke Valley. While it's fun to wander through anytime, be sure to check their website for the current programs. This year they have had cool interactive programs like Birds of Prey, Origami Yoda, Frogs, and Butterflies at Five (a summer program which featured a short talk, butterfly release, a cultural art performance, appetizers and beverage of your choice!). Overall, SWMV is buzzing with energy with something to do for all ages!

Thank ecsjamison
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 February 2014

We have a membership thru the science museum b/c we have a large family. That being said, if you don't have a membership, I would seriously consider whether or not you want to spend a few hours here.
The downsides: very expensive for what you get. Half of the exhibits are "closed" or out of order. The other ones aren't really all that interesting (just watching videos, etc.) The cost is outrageous and "a la carte." You pay extra for the butterfly garden (a main selling point of the museum).
The animals exhibit (by the water tank) is just a bunch of reptiles/spiders/etc. in tanks behind a glass wall.

The upsides: The water tank is cool and children love it. The aquariums downstairs in the main level are beautiful (And interestingly enough, FREE.)

Overall, the museum needs a lot of work. I expected a lot more for the price and given the fact that is a BRAND NEW museum very recently renovated.

2  Thank vinylsbetter
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SciMuseumWesternVa, Public Relations Manager at Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium, responded to this reviewResponded 25 March 2014

Thank you so much for your feedback. We have shared in your disappointment as the weeks and months have passed with our exhibit fabricator behind schedule in completing, delivering, and installing some of our most important exhibits. Recognizing the shortfall, we lowered ticket prices, handed out passes, and worked hard to keep the Museum lively and active through some great public programs like “Butterflies @ 5,” “Raptors LIVE,” “Touched by Dinosaurs,” and "STAR WARS & ORIGAMI YODA," while still struggling with our empty floor space.

Recently, we have made important improvements to better meet your expectations. We cleared away some partially finished exhibits and provided these creative new offerings, with new experiences well worth a return visit:

• Our new FROGS! exhibit features a dozen amazing amphibians from around the world.

• An amazing state-of-the-art exhibit called MindBall puts you into a competition where you move an actual ball to your opponent’s goal using only your mind.

• Our Journey Underground cave experience (showcasing a striking collection of fluorescent minerals) has emerged from under wraps.

• Renewed by Fire has provided a new interactive exhibit on our 5th Floor.

• The Butterfly Garden remains as gorgeous and inspiring as ever.

• And on June 14, we bring to the region “TUTANKHAMUN: Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb,” a first for this area.

All this is to say we hope you’ll give us another chance soon. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2014

The "renovation" has been going on now for the past two year. Half of the exhibits were not open. This museum used to have quite a few interesting hands-on and interesting things to do. Now, possibly 3/4 of that is gone. The weather area is still interesting, but could have had more features. There is just so much empty space between exhibits. The dinosaur exhibit consisted of one fake old animatronic dinosaur with silk trees from Michael's surrounding it. The butterfly garden is nice, but small. Is that where all of the money for the renovation went? Someone needs to do an inventory on how that money was spent. Really, really, really expected much more. Very disappointed. Not sure if I'll go back.

2  Thank Trish S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
SciMuseumWesternVa, Public Relations Manager at Science Museum of Western Virginia & Hopkins Planetarium, responded to this reviewResponded 25 March 2014

Thank you so much for your feedback. We have shared in your disappointment as the weeks and months have passed with our exhibit fabricator behind schedule in completing, delivering, and installing some of our most important exhibits. Recognizing the shortfall, we lowered ticket prices, handed out passes, and worked hard to keep the Museum lively and active through some great public programs like “Butterflies @ 5,” “Raptors LIVE,” “Touched by Dinosaurs,” and "STAR WARS & ORIGAMI YODA," while still struggling with our empty floor space.

Recently, we have made important improvements to better meet your expectations. We cleared away some partially finished exhibits and provided these creative new offerings, with new experiences well worth a return visit:

• Our new FROGS! exhibit features a dozen amazing amphibians from around the world.

• An amazing state-of-the-art exhibit called MindBall puts you into a competition where you move an actual ball to your opponent’s goal using only your mind.

• Our Journey Underground cave experience (showcasing a striking collection of fluorescent minerals) has emerged from under wraps.

• Renewed by Fire has provided a new interactive exhibit on our 5th Floor.

• The Butterfly Garden remains as gorgeous and inspiring as ever.

• And on June 14, we bring to the region “TUTANKHAMUN: Wonderful Things from the Pharaoh’s Tomb,” a first for this area.

All this is to say we hope you’ll give us another chance soon. You’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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