plan your visit

Hours

school year hours

Began September 12, 2017

For holiday and vacation week hours, click here.

CHILDREN'S 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

SCIENCE DISCOVERY MUSEUM

CLOSED for expansion and renovation until early 2018

Summer Hours

Begin June 18, 2018

For holiday and vacation week hours, click here.

CHILDREN'S 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

SCIENCE DISCOVERY MUSEUM

CLOSED for expansion and renovation until early 2018

Admission

ONE TICKET = 2 LOCATIONS

Adult: $12.50

Senior (60+): $11.50

Child: $12.50

Under 1 year old: Free

Teachers are always free!

Members: FREE Learn More


First Friday Night Free!

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

During summer, we are open with FREE admission EVERY Friday night of the month! 

We will gratefully accept non-perishable food donations for local food pantries.

 

First Friday Night Free is generously sponsored by Middlesex Savings Bank, with additional support from Emerson Hospital. Thank you!

Tips for Visiting

Facilities

There is one museum building and an outdoor nature playscape on our campus: the Children’s Discovery Museum is for ages 0-6, and Discovery Woods is for all ages. The Science Discovery Museum is currently closed for expansion and renovation until January 2018. There are also outdoor exhibits including Whisper Dishes, the Slapaphone, and Bessie's Cove 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.

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.

a word on waits

The Children's Discovery Museum sometimes reaches capacity (think rainy days or holidays); when that happens we create a wait list. Your party will be given a number when you check in, and you will be admitted as soon as space opens up. You are free to enjoy our outdoor exhibits and Discovery Woods. And as long as you have your wait number, you may leave museum grounds without losing your place in line.

Planning to visit when the museum first opens, or late afternoons, can help you avoid crowds.

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.

Strollers

Strollers are not permitted in the Children’s Discovery Museum because the exhibit spaces are tight. We recommend a Snugglie or backpack carrier for your visit to this building; these are available to borrow at the Admissions desk.

Stroller parking is available outside the building.

Restrooms

You will find restrooms on the 2nd floor of the Children’s Discovery Museum and in the Discovery Classroom building. The restrooms have special toilet seats that flip to offer both adult- and toddler-sized seating.

Changing Areas

There is a family-style bathroom with built-in changing table in the Discovery Classroom, and a designated changing area in the Children’s Discovery Museum.

No Smoking

The Discovery Museums have a no smoking policy for the entire campus, including Discovery Woods.

SMILE!

During your visit to The Discovery Museums, you may be photographed and/or videotaped by our staff for marketing purposes. If you prefer not to be, please tell us at the admission desks. We will happily provide stickers to your party so that we know to avoid you with our cameras.

PARKING

The Discovery Museums have free parking. 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 Museums, not in the parking lots! Handicap spots are available near each 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 Museums.

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 your group to accommodate any special needs. Please call 978-264-4200 x111 with any questions.

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 Children's Discovery Museum has three floors; only the first floor is handicap accessible. Strollers are not allowed in this building due to tight spaces. If you have a disability or special need, please let us know so we can try to make an accommodation.

Discovery Woods is inclusive and fully accessible. An accessible pathway winds through the space, and the Discovery Treehouse is accessed on-grade from the driveway.

Please view and download our Story Guide for Discovery Woods to help plan your visit with your child.

Noise reducing headphones are available to visitors who may be sensitive to sound or need a break from stimulation; please ask at the Admission desk.

Looking for a quiet spot? We recommend the closed off stairwell in the museum, or the Discovery Classroom if it is empty. A staff member will be happy to point you in the right direction or find a good spot for you and your child.

EATING

Out of respect for people with allergies, no food or drinks are permitted on the exhibit floors or in Discovery Woods. There are no indoor eating areas, but there are a number of picnic tables throughout our grounds. Feel free to picnic outside and re-enter the buildings when ready. We are happy to recommend nearby family-friendly eateries; please ask for a map with locations at the Admission desks.

Small snacks, water, and drinks are for sale in our gift shops.

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

For the safety of our visitors, we ask that any adults who wish to visit The Discovery Museums 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, and the water table is emptied and cleaned twice a day.

“Dirty Toy Bins” are provided in the Children’s Discovery Museum 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 on each floor of the museum buildings.

Need Help?

Just ask! Our Explorer staff members are here to support your museum experience. They can be identified the green aprons worn in the Children's Discovery Museum, and the blue vests or blue jackets worn in Discovery Woods. 

Getting Here & Parking

TRAVELING TO THE DISCOVERY MUSEUMS TODAY? HOORAY!

 
Our address: 177 Main Street (Route 27) Acton, MA 01720  
 
Look for Bessie the Dinosaur in our front yard!
 

View and print our campus map here.

 

Parking is FREE!

 

 

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 Museums are 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 Museums are 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 Museums are 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 Museums are 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 Museums are 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

Commuter Rail

The Museums are .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 Museums will be on your right.

MinuteVan

For a transportation service within the town of Acton, try MinuteVan: email coordinator@minutevan.net, phone 978-844-6809.

Holiday & Vacation Week Hours 2018/2017

JANUARY 2018

New Year's Day

OPEN 12:30 PM - 4:30 PM

Monday, January 1

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, January 15

 

FEBRUARY 2018

Presidents' Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, February 19 - Friday, February 23

 

March 2018

Good Friday

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Friday, March 30

 

April 2018

Easter Sunday

CLOSED

Sunday, April 1

Patriot's Day & School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, April 16 - Friday, April 20

 

May 2018

Memorial Day

CLOSED

Monday, May 28

 

June 2018

No holidays

 

JULY 2018

Independence Day

CLOSED

Wednesday, July 4

 

August 2018

No holidays

September 2018

Labor Day

CLOSED

Monday, September 3

Maintenance Week

CLOSED

Tuesday, September 4 - Sunday, September 9

Rosh Hashanah

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, September 10

Yom Kippur

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Wednesday, September 19

 

October 2018

Indigenous Peoples' Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, October 8

Halloween

OPEN 9:00 AM - 1:00 PM (early close)

Wednesday, October 31

 

November 2018

Veteran's Day

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Monday, November 12

Thanksgiving eve and Thanksgiving day

CLOSED

Wednesday, November 21 & Thursday, November 22

 

December 2017

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

CLOSED

Sunday, December 24 & Monday, December 25

School Vacation Week

OPEN 9:00 AM - 4:30 PM

Tuesday, December 26 - Saturday, December 30

New Year's Eve

OPEN 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Sunday, December 31