Science & Discovery Center is Children’s Museum with a Purpose

It’s colorful, it’s interactive and it’s a discovery center that fascinates children and grown-ups alike.

Science & Discovery Center Panama CityThe entrance to the museum emphasizes learning, imagination, discovery, exploration, and inspiration.

Science & Discovery Center Focuses on S.T.E.M.

It used to be called the Junior Museum of Bay County. Now with a new multi-generational mission and a new education facility this science museum and nature center, located on 12 acres in the heart of Panama City Florida, has shifted its focus to S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Offering summer camps in topics from dinosaurs to robotics, this science center is expanding its educational outreach.

Learn about space at the Science & Discovery CenterInside, exhibits are colorful and interactive.
Hands-on exhibits in electricity ...
... and musical instruments

As one of the oldest children’s museums in Florida, the Science & Discovery Center of Northwest Florida, as it is now called, has been inspiring budding scientists since 1969. In those days, the idea of what we today call an interactive museum was a new one and many volunteers donated time and money to make the Junior Museum a place where children could have fun while learning.

Children can "play" a piano with light and sound.

Inside the exhibit hall are hand-on displays of electricity, light and color, wind, music and sound. There’s even a model of a gulf oil rig. In the discovery room, kids can “drive” a boat, shop or be the cashier in a grocery store, put together a life-size puzzle of the human body and learn about bones.

Kids can learn about trade at the store.
You can even touch the petrified wood.

Visitors here will find an array of permanent exhibits as well as a series of traveling exhibits throughout the year. 

Explore the Pioneer Village

A log cabin in the pioneer village

Over the years there have been many additions to this community-supported discovery and science museum. In 1981 an exhibit building was constructed, and in the 1970s a pioneer village was created with donations of authentic log cabins brought in from Bay and nearby counties.

Log cabin at the Science & Discover CenterInside the log cabin

The pioneer village includes a barn filled with 19th Century agricultural tools with a blacksmith shop attached, a log cabin home, a gristmill and a smokehouse. Other area museums that also have pioneer villages are the Baker Block Museum near the Blackwater River State Park, and the Panhandle Pioneer Settlement in Blounstown, so you can visit them all.

Nature Trail and Other Exhibits

There is also a ¼-mile nature trail through the forest that is partially accessible via a boardwalk. In June 2010 a new 6,000 square foot Visitor Center and Classroom Building was opened with a flexible space for children’s camps and meetings. The building also has restrooms, offices, a front desk and a small science store.

A boardwalk through the forest lets visitors see the natural habitats of different animals.

The museum is located at 308 Airport Road, Panama City, Florida 32405. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 children, seniors and military. Museum Members and Bay County teachers are admitted free with ID. There is an additional $3 fee to see the traveling exhibits.

The Science & Discovery Center of Northwest Florida is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is closed Sundays, Mondays and major holidays.

For more information about the Science & Discovery Center or museum memberships, call 850-769-6128 or click on the link above to visit their website.

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