Taking the Kids to San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation

Taking the kids to

 

 

San Jose’s Tech Museum of Innovation should be on every parent’s bucket list when visiting California’s Silicon Valley. With its entertaining and educational exhibits, the museum engages visitors of all ages.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose face

 

What to See

At the Tech Museum, visitors learn about the importance of technology in the modern world, turning its guests into curious kids. There are various displays on subjects such as computer technology, robotics, DNA testing and genetic engineering, where modern technology plays an important role.

This museum is an inspirational destination for older kids and adults, especially for those interested in the workings of modern technology. Though some of the computer concepts discussed might be a bit too advanced for smaller children,  they will probably still love playing with the exhibits.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose white

Why We Liked It

In this tech ‘shrine’ of sorts, every interactive section strives to educate guests about tech concepts while encouraging them to seek their own solutions to problems. Patrons can build their own hand prosthesis and understand the mechanical difficulties associated with making their invention work. Participants can also grow bacteria in Petri dishes, create security layers to protect accounts from internet hackers, and keep their balance through a major earthquake simulation.
We liked the dance floor that mirrors the dynamics of social media, and the excellent exhibit on cyber security.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose pink

But the highlight for us wasn’t the digital tech (surprisingly) but the biotech. Our son with autism enjoyed the lab that taught him the process of splicing bioluminescent DNA. It gave him a feel for what it’s like to do some real lab work.

Unlike other museums we’ve visited over the past decade, this one had signage with detailed explanations that helped guests understand the concepts and importance of each topic presented. Furthermore, we loved the fact there were many museum docents ready to answer questions.

The Exhibits

The museum consisted of three floors, each with different presentations.
The main, ground level floor, housed the admissions booth, cafe (surprisingly healthy and tasty sandwiches), and the museum store.

The lower floor was dedicated to Space Exploration,  body weight and other topics that engaged the kids.
On this floor, we saw the Exploration Gallery, with the earthquake simulator and a section about planets in the solar system. The highlight of the gallery was a space jet pack simulator where visitors could get propelled across the room in bursts of air.

Next to the Space area, there was a section on “Social Robots,” where patrons could build their own robot. Probably the most memorable exhibit on this floor was the Cyber Detective gallery, a series of interactive exhibits that teach kids about cryptography and cracking passwords.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose science

The top floor had two primary displays.One about silicon and semiconductors detailing the timeline of the integration of the silicon chip tech in computing.
The other featured the innovations in the global health care industry that focused on cost-friendly solutions for third-world countries. On display were inventions such as water-powered contacts (liquid vision), water filters to make polluted water drinkable in Africa, and material-friendly pouches for prematurely born babies that need heat to survive.
Our sons thought the section on Robot Design basics, where patrons can have either have the robot spell their name out with letter blocks or stencil their picture very ‘cool.’

Though we tried to get into the Bio design Studio, we didn’t get to it since the line was quite long. Guests, apparently need to make a reservation for this section in advance.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose robot

Amenities

The building has an excellent gift shop with lots of educational, kid-friendly products available for purchase. Continuing the hands-on theme, the kids can play with the toys before buying them. The museum also has an onsite café where guests can dine in or take their meals to go.

The facility includes an IMAX theater that shows various educational films. The day we visited we enjoyed a 3D movie about the city of Jerusalem, Israel, as seen through the eyes and perspectives of three women who were Jewish, Christian and Muslim.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose arch

Getting there

Located on 201 South Market Street, the museum is easily accessible by The VTA Light Rail line as well as several of the local buses. Travelers arriving by car will want to take either the exit for the Paseo de San Antonio or the Convention Center Station to get to the building from the interstate. Visitors can park across the street from the building for about $5 USD.

Ticket Information

Patrons can pre-order tickets online. Tickets can be printed at home or picked up at the special kiosk in the museum. Admission to the museum costs about $16 for children and $21 for adults. Travelers should also note that the Tech Museum only ever closes for Christmas Day and Thanksgiving.

Autism Travel Tips:

  • Light sensitive individuals should be aware that the entryway is brighter than some of the other areas in the museum. However, the building has plenty of overhead, electrical light.
  • There is an elevator in the building, so people with mobility issues don’t have to use the stairs.
  • The Tech Museum is an entirely indoor venue. Therefore, the museum is not affected by outdoor weather conditions and is an excellent destination any time of year.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose orange

  • If you are a student, you get a discount as well! Bring your student IDs!
  • We highly suggest getting the IMAX and Museum combo tickets. More to explore for one day!
  • There are lockers on two different levels that cost approximately 50 cents to rent.
  • Although the building was full of people when we went, it was not overly crowded, and it was easy to get around.
  • Visitors should  be aware they  need to hold on to their entry ticket throughout the course of their visit since the tickets have to be scanned at each of the exhibits’ interactive features.

The Kid Friendly Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose space

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