Healthy Earth Gallery

Healthy lives depend on healthy environments. Journey Underground to interact with Virginia geological specimens. Explore our world through the wonder of OmniGlobe. Become an on-air meteorologist in our WDBJ Weather Studio. Create mountains and make the rain fall at our Augmented Reality Sandbox. And get a “hands-on” experience with our Living River & Touch Tank.

Healthy Bodies Gallery

Send foam “blood cells” racing through the Amazing Arteries. See what lies under our skin through a one-of-a-kind “plastinated” human specimen that features actual human organs. Compete against a friend in an amazing state-of-the-art exhibit called MindBall where you move an actual ball to your opponent’s goal using only your mind. Leave with a new appreciation for nature’s most complex being: You!


WonderLab invites guests of all ages to learn the basic elements of coding or programming in an open learning environment. The space includes playful components such as Code-a-pillar, Cubetto, Osmo, and Dot and Dash, in addition to a Scratch workbench, where patrons can program interactive stories, games, and animations. Additionally, the exhibit features an art installation, Racing Electrons, by Jacob R. Smith.

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 new Hidden Garden will focus on the importance of insect pollinators and their lifecycles. 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.

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. These interactive exhibits feature technologies that were developed or are in use in western Virginia, and enable us to live healthy and more productive lives while being better stewards of our environment.

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. In cooperation with Virginia Tech, we also have Mirrorcraft which puts you inside a Minecraft™ game.

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.

Virginia Tech Featured Projects

Dense Space

Dense Space – Paola Zellner and Charles Nichols – Dense Space is a responsive audiovisual environment. It explores the use of linear fibre material to generate forms that in their interplay with light and motion densify the space, increasing its presence, and augmenting the experience of space. It is accompanied by Charles Nichols’ composition, Beyond the Dark.




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.





Plasma – Virginia Tech creative technologies graduate student George Hardebeck combined the interactive technology of the Leap sensor with a virtual environment to create this installation. He wrote code to give instructions to the particles that move and bounce in the space as well as respond to your hand. Inspired by plasma globes, the project experiments with game environments and sensors.




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




Hopkins Planetarium

We are working to reimagine our planetarium. While renovations are ongoing, the planetarium is closed with occasional exceptions for lectures and school groups. Please check our Events Calendar for lectures or our school groups page for classes.