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The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas

The Museum of Discovery in downtown Little Rock is an interactive science museum that covers topics such as anatomy, physics and the environment. It has also been called one of the top museum experiences for kids.

Prolific writer Bernie Babcock founded the Museum after hearing H.L. Mencken lament that Arkansas “bumpkins” lacked cultural centers. It began as a storefront museum before eventually moving into City Hall in 1942.


The Museum of Discovery in Little Rock, Arkansas is a science and history museum accredited by the American Association of Museums. Their mission is to incite an enthusiasm for science through dynamic interactive experiences in their River Market District building that include Bug Zoos, Energy stations and an Imagination Stations.

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Julia Burnell Smade Babcock, more commonly known by her nickname of Bernie, founded the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in Little Rock storefront in 1927. A best-selling author, suffragist and mother to five children herself, Bernie set out on her mission of cultural and educational enrichment for her home state and imagined creating something that would change people’s perception of it forever.

As her museum grew, Bernie determined to make it permanent. At Christmas time 1929, she presented it to the City of Little Rock as a Christmas present; after which it moved from its storefront location into City Hall until 1935 before finally moving again in 1942 to what is now MacArthur Park Tower Building of Little Rock Arsenal.

Throughout the 1940s, the museum expanded and added exhibits. One of its most acclaimed was an Egyptian mummy dating back 2,500 years. While many questioned its authenticity, Bernie arranged for it to be x-rayed and proved its reality.

In 1998, the Museum of Discovery joined forces with Children’s Museum of Arkansas to become Arkansas’ Science and History Center – this first step toward shifting their focus toward more scientific exhibitions.

After merging, the museum continued its expansion and growth. In 2022, two massive new attractions – a climbing tower and A-Maze-D maze – were added to its collection, both of which proved extremely popular with visitors – more of these exhibits are planned for 2023.

The Museum of Discovery provides students and families an exciting way to discover Arkansas’ rich history through hands-on activities that explore both its past, present, and future.


The Museum of Discovery provides an unforgettable hands-on learning experience for people of all ages. Boasting more than 90 exhibits and programs covering biology, zoology, physics and more for kids of all ages to experience, as well as two-story climber tower and A-Maze-D maze for physical playtime, it makes the Museum of Discovery an excellent way to spend an engaging day or weekend out together!

In 1927, local author Bernie Babcock established the Arkansas Museum of Discovery in response to criticism from H.L. Mencken that Arkansas lacked cultural centers. Her first museum was housed in a storefront downtown; exhibits included the purported head of Chicago criminal Richard Daley as well as King Crowley himself! She also collected “primitive art” and multicultural dolls. Over time, Babcock became more progressive in her collecting, eventually amassing items from museums all across America including Smithsonian.

In 1942, the Museum moved to the Tower Building of Little Rock Arsenal in MacArthur Park and would remain there for over fifty years. In 1964, they adopted their current name: Museum of Science and Natural History before finally adopting it permanently in 1998.

Today, the Museum of Discovery maintains a strong commitment to STEM education with all of its exhibits being interactive. Furthermore, outreach programs available include virtual science programs, family STEM nights and camp-ins at the museum; there are even Girls in STEM programs held here!

The Museum of Discovery also explores military history and its impact on communities, individuals and nations/cultures; there is even a special Children’s Library dedicated to these themes and topics. Accredited by both American Association of Museums and Smithsonian Affiliated Museums.

The museum provides programs tailored for visitors of all ages, such as reading and storytelling sessions and summer camps. Wiggle Worms – a weekly program for preschoolers which encourages movement while encouraging interaction – takes place throughout the school year at Wiggle Worms.


The Museum of Discovery (MOD) in Little Rock, Arkansas is a hands-on science and natural history museum featuring exhibits that cover health, physical, earth sciences as well as early child development. Additionally, during summer months many family science programs are offered.

MOD is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and a Smithsonian affiliate, offering over 90 interactive exhibits and educational programs spread out over 19 acres. Recent additions include Dynamic Earth which explores how our planet adapts through adaptation and transformation; visitors can also discover how forces of nature contribute to dramatic geological shifts.

Established as the Museum of Natural History and Antiquities in 1927 by Julia Burnell Smade Babcock – commonly known by her nickname of Bernie – it served to bring more culture and education opportunities to Arkansas and its residents.

In its initial shopfront, the museum displayed taxidermy specimens and 400 pearl-bearing Arkansas mussels. Furthermore, its collection of prehistoric relics, including King Crowley’s head from an extinct species called Daedalus, drew crowds into its storefront. Thus an air of sensationalism was generated within this unique museum.

Today, the museum serves as an invaluable cultural asset and source of education for Arkansas residents and visitors. With more than 13,000 artifacts including fossils and Native American tools in its permanent collections – and numerous partnerships with institutions to host traveling exhibitions – its reputation continues to flourish.

The museum is open Monday to Saturday. Its parking deck, conveniently situated across the street from it in River Market entertainment district, allows visitors to park for free. Second Street between River Market Avenue and Sherman Street serves as access. Metered parking spots may also be found nearby.

MOD offers various special events for adults, including Science After Dark events featuring hands-on activities and access to the museum after hours. Previous Science After Dark events have featured Top Gun-inspired activities as well as Tinker After Dark events where patrons can explore and create.


The Museum of Discovery in downtown Little Rock offers an ideal daytrip destination with your family. Boasting hands-on exhibits covering world history, culture, and natural science – as well as educational programs tailored specifically towards children as well as adults – the museum makes for a memorable visit for everyone involved!

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The Museum of Discovery boasts over 90 hands-on exhibits designed to encourage experimentation and intuitive exploration, while simultaneously fostering science, technology, engineering, art, and math education. 

Visitors can test the principles of force and physics on a bed of nails; explore endless creative potential in PPG STEAM Studio; or meet animals from around the globe – not forgetting our Guinness World Record musical bi-polar Tesla coil that produces 200,000 volts!

Tickets to the Museum of Discovery can be found both online and at their box office, and include admission, live science demonstrations, and one IMAX documentary screening.

Students, seniors, military members and certified preK-12 teachers at UA Little Rock may be eligible to receive discounts at admission prices when showing identification at the ticket window. Children under three years old are free and the museum is smoke-free environment.

As part of its efforts to aid those affected by Hurricane Michael, the Museum of Discovery is offering free admission for first responders and their families during April 8-9 and 22-23 weekends – with donations accepted at its entrance.

Museum of Discovery memberships can be purchased for individuals, families and schools alike. Members can visit as often as they like for one year while receiving benefits like discounted admission to other museums as well as using their annual guest pass to bring along friends or family who may not yet be members.

The Museum of Discovery is an ideal destination for school field trips and birthday parties, offering both permanent galleries as well as traveling exhibitions. Every month an IMAX film plays at their iPic theater.


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