Skip to Content

Must-See for the Family: The Amazing Mid-America Science Museum

If you’re looking for something fun, exciting, and educational for the whole family, the Mid-America Science Museum might be it. In fact, it’s one of the top-rated attractions in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

So what makes this destination so popular?

Today, we’re sharing everything you need to know about the Mid-America Science Museum and a few nearby attractions.

Let’s jump in!

A Tesla coil like the one at the Mid-America Science Museum

What Is the Mid-America Science Museum?

The Mid-America Science Museum has been inspiring and educating minds since 1979. The 73,500-square-foot building has opportunities for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) activities. 

This impressive facility sits on 21 wooded acres and has welcomed more than 3.5 million visitors. Guests can enjoy a variety of exhibits and activities. Whether it’s the underground cave maze or the Tesla coil, it’s hard not to learn something new.

It’s received national and global recognition, and its activities impress officials as well as guests. In 2001, it became the 19th museum to become a Smithsonian Affiliate.

Set aside a few hours to explore the facilities. This’ll ensure you can take your time and that no one feels rushed through exhibits.

Where Is the Mid-America Science Museum?

The Mid-America Science Museum is in Hot Springs, Arkansas. The facility is just outside the boundaries of Hot Springs National Park, and it’s a short drive from the visitor’s center to the science center.

If you’ve never visited Hot Springs, it’s an incredible experience. It has a rich history, with health and wellness playing an important role. There are several preserved bathhouses, and the city’s architecture provides a glimpse into the past.

The area’s natural beauty is equally as impressive. Hot Springs sits within the Ouachita Mountains. While not the Rockies, these mountains range from 1,000 to 2,500 feet above sea level. They provide just enough rugged terrain to increase the difficulty of the hikes. If you visit during the fall, the mountains come alive with the fall foliage colors.

Is the Mid-America Science Museum Just for Kids?

While many exhibits and programs have children in mind, the Mid-America Science Museum isn’t just for kids. It offers something for everyone, regardless of their age. Through interactive exhibits, young and old can have a great time while learning something.

It even offers an evening for adults only. They partner with the Friends of Hot Springs National Park and Superior Bathhouse Brewery. Their popular “Drink and Think” series wouldn’t be possible without the partnership.

These five evenings throughout the year include special speakers and interactive exhibits. You can learn about local rock formations, tardigrades, and the Webb Telescope as you sip a tasty cocktail. Admission includes two drink tickets, hors d’oeuvres, and a ticket to the event.

Other Fun Things To Do Near the Mid-America Science Museum

The Mid-America Science Museum is an incredible experience. However, you won’t want to miss a few other nearby attractions.

Hot Springs National Park

Hot Springs National Park is the oldest park managed by the National Park System, and President Andrew Jackson established it in 1921. It’s home to 40 hot springs, over 20 miles of trails, and the incredibly popular Bathhouse Row.

It covers approximately 5,550 acres and is wickedly famous for its healing properties. Generations of people have flocked to these hot mineral-rich waters to try to cure their ailments. Today, several of these hot springs remain open for bathing. Additionally, several spas on Bathhouse Row offer luxury services.

If soaking in hot water isn’t your thing, hike a trail or take one of the scenic drives. The Hot Springs Mountain Drive and West Mountain Drive offer some of the best views. 

Garvan Woodland Gardens

The University of Arkansas’ Garvan Woodland Gardens is a sight to see. As far as botanical gardens, it has everything you could ask for. Several structures help create the perfect backdrop for photo opportunities. Many trails are ADA-accessible, and you can even bring your pet along for a small fee.

This garden is on a 210-acre peninsula right on Lake Hamilton. It’s a peaceful place to stroll and unwind at the end of the day. With more than 5,000 species of plants, you’ll have something to see anytime you visit. 

Lake Catherine State Park

Lake Catherine State Park sits on, you guessed it, Lake Catherine. You’ll find numerous opportunities to spend time outdoors and connect with others. Between the playgrounds, trails, and natural beauty, it’s easy to appreciate this state park.

If you’re looking for a place to stay, the park offers 20 cabins, including a cottage with two bathrooms and a patio. If you choose this fancy cabin, you’ll enjoy a private fishing pier that makes it easy to catch your dinner.

Finally, if you want a more rustic experience, you’re in luck. You can book one of the 70 RV spots or six primitive tent sites. In addition, there’s even a yurt available for rent. Tours, hikes, and ranger programs mean there’s always something going on here.

Take the family on a gem hunt too: Can You Really Find Diamonds in Arkansas?

Best Places to Stay Near the Mid-America Science Museum

It’ll take a few days to experience all the Mid-America Science Museum and Hot Springs offer. Luckily, a few great places nearby make it easy to stick around for a while.

Gulpha Gorge Campground

Have you ever wanted to camp in a national park? Here’s your chance! Unfortunately, it can be hard to snag a site as there are only 40 spots throughout the campground.

Each site offers power, water, and sewer connections. Additionally, it’s essential to know that there are no shower facilities. The campground has a maximum length of 60 feet, including your towing vehicle. If you and your rig can fit, you’ll be close to all the action.

You don’t have to go far to dive into outdoor adventures. A popular hiking trail cuts through the campground. More than 26 miles of maintained paths mean you’ll have plenty to explore during your stay.

We found more places to park your rig: 7 Best RV Parks in Hot Springs, Arkansas

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn

Lookout Point Lakeside Inn was named the #4 Top Small Hotel in the US by TripAdvisor. If you’re looking for a cozy bed and breakfast, this is it. Twelve rooms offer a comfortable place to stay and a delicious breakfast.

Guests love the view of Lake Hamilton and the gardens no matter which room they choose. You can soak in the whirlpool or cuddle up next to the fire. It may have opened in 2003, but it provides a luxury experience that rivals the bathhouses that have been around for over a century.

The Waters Hotel Hot Springs

The Waters Hotel is a luxury boutique accommodation offered by Hilton. It blends modern elegance with the historic charm of the surrounding area. The building was initially constructed in 1913 and has undergone extensive renovations. It offers many of the modern amenities you’d expect to find in a luxury hotel.

It’s only a few steps away from Bathhouse Row, so you can easily explore all that Hot Springs offers. You can even sneak back to your room and relax between adventures to help ensure you enjoy every moment. But if you’re not quite ready for a nap, grab a drink and enjoy the views at the hotel’s rooftop bar and lounge, The Avenue.

Is a Mid-America Science Museum Road Trip Worth It?

The Mid-America Science Museum is a great option if you’re looking for an exciting road trip. It offers something for everyone, and the surrounding area only enhances the fun. Whether you want to go on an exhilarating hike or relax in a bathhouse, there are opportunities for both.

You won’t regret a trip to this hidden gem. So pack your bags and head to Hot Springs, Arkansas!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below: