Budding brainiacs, super scientists, and mini mathematicians will burst with delight when they visit the latest D.C. museum dedicated to tiny lab coats and big fun. Designed to foster a love of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (aka STEM) learning, kiddos won’t know which Children’s Science Center Lab station to stop at first. They’ll learn all about friction, drag, chemical reaction, wind energy—and they won’t have any idea they’re being schooled because it’s so much fun. Are your brain waves buzzing yet? Here are the museum’s must-visit-first stations.

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Experiment Bar
Choosy kids can belly up to the Experiment Bar where they’ll ponder what kind of experiment they want to do with the help of an ever rotating menu of choices (on iPads no less!). Whether your little Einstein wants to channel her inner Ben Franklin or team up like Watson and Crick, she can sample from chemistry, biology, physics, and more. Fundamental science made fun? Awesome.

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Inspiration Hub
If the apples of your eyes are always asking when they’ll use school stuff in real life then this center should be your first stop. With areas like Power the City, Catching the Wind (they can design real wind turbines!), Chain Reaction (hurray for magnets!), Gear Table, and the Keva Plank Construction Zone (think Lincoln Logs on steroids) little ones will learn exactly why 2 + 2 = 4 is so important.

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Tinker Shop
Tinkers, engineers, counters and the like will love the Tinker Shop. They can build, bust, create and doodle till closing time. The space is intended to foster engagement with real world engineering problems so kiddos never know what they’ll be helping to solve. There’s even an automated art drawer. Pint sized tinkers can help test ideas in the vertical wind tube, operate on toys, and build circuitry boards. You know your little one is the next Leonardo Da Vinci right?

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Discovery Zone
Fear not if your kiddos can’t quite say their ABCs or count to 10. Five and unders will have a ball in the Discovery Zone where shadow puppets come alive, giant foam building blocks beg to be built with, and tons of books are just waiting to be devoured.

11948L Fair Oaks Mall (Fairfax, Va)
Cost: $12; Free/2 and under
Open: 10 am–6 pm
Online: childsci.org

Have you been to Children’s Science Center yet? Tell us about it in the comments below. 

—Hilary Riedemann

Photos: Children’s Science Center via Facebook