5th Floor Galleries

Hidden Garden

The Butterfly Garden at the Science Museum of Western Virginia has transitioned from an exotic butterfly habitat to a native pollinator garden. The museum’s Hidden Garden will focus on the importance of insect pollinators and their life cycles. This change also allows the museum to educate the public about insect pollinators and to demonstrate some of the plants that can be grown in local gardens to encourage happy and healthy insect pollinators, including our beautiful native butterflies and moths.

The goal of this exhibit is to inspire people to look beyond just the adult butterfly to see the entire system; to inspire an appreciation for nature as a whole. For more details, visit the Hidden Garden here.



Toy Joy

Our newest exhibit features larger than life versions of toys and modern amusements, inviting patrons of all ages to PLAY! You’ll find huge Lego™-style blocks, a Colossal Kaleidoscope, and a giant Light Bright, as well as the beautiful Aurora Vortex. Bring your favorite Matchbox™-style car and try it on our moveable tracks at the Roanoke Raceway.




How It Works Gallery

Explore the scientific method of engineering with our larger-than-life foam blocks, fantastic paper airplane launchers, and an amazing gravity-driven obstacle course in Design It! Build It! Test It! Feel the rumble of recycling steel in Steel Dynamics’ Renewed by Fire. Investigate the many ways physics affects our world with a wide variety of hands-on exhibits.







Maker Lab

Maker Lab is a self-guided creation space within the museum. We encourage all visitors to build, create, imagine, and innovate with the wide variety of supplies provided. Maker Lab features a number of recycled and craft supplies which can be used to explore ideas as well as a Lego™ wall, a gear wall, and some challenges to get you started. In Maker Lab, we believe that people learn best by doing and we want to see what you can create!



The Bubble

Your preschooler will love our new multisensory play/research space designed for kids five and younger. This space features a wide variety of toys, games, and books with an amazing array of spaces to crawl, slide, and experience (plus some inviting spots for grown ups to relax). There are also opportunities for dramatic play, experimentation, and plenty of motor skills practice for little hands.




Virginia Tech Featured Projects


Mirrorcraft – Ico Bukvic – Mirrorcraft is an interactive exhibit that allows the user to see his or her mirror image in the version of a Minecraft avatar. A Kinect will allow the avatar to mirror the user’s body and facial movements.




Visit the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology for more information.