- Written by Katie Harris Katie Harris
Explore the world and beyond From a set of turntables where aspiring DJs can spin their own mixes to a photo room where shadows appear frozen on the walls, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery (FCMoD) will amaze everyone.
Located at 408 Mason Ct. in north Fort Collins, FCMoD opened in 2012 when the City of Fort Collins Museum and Discovery Science Center merged to provide more hands-on exploration in science and culture than ever before, all in one location.
In addition to exhibits on topics such as “Natural Areas,” “Wildlands and Wildlife” and “First Peoples,” FCMod also houses a local history archive as well as the Otter Box Digital Dome Theater, a 35-foot dome screen featuring films about the cosmos for all ages.
While the museum is designed for open discovery and exploration, a few popular activities require planning, FCMoD marketing manager Cathy Jones says.
Early Childhood programs including Storytime in the Dome on the 1st and 3rd Thursdays of each month and stem-based Tot Time on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays take place from 10:15-11:15am. In addition, drop-in programs including museum artifact deep dives and creepy crawly encounters take place on Saturdays from 10am-2pm.
While the museum is open from 10am-5pm Tuesday through Sunday with extended hours until 8pm on Thursdays, Jones recommends visiting after lunch and on Thursday evenings to avoid large crowds and school groups.
Whether you plan to map out your itinerary ahead of time or explore freely, there are a few exhibits you won’t want to miss.
“The Tot Spot has been a big hit since the day it opened, and is geared for kids 5 and under,” says Jones. “This exhibit area is a mini version of our main gallery, reflecting many of the same discovery themes you would find out there but in a much more little kid-friendly way.”
She says the Music and Sound Lab is another guest favorite. Guests can test their lung power on musical horns, take digital guitar and drum lessons and travel back in time to the early days of radio in this expansive portion of the museum.
After exploring the inside of the museum, grab lunch at the attached Flat Hat Coffee and head out to the Big Backyard where kids can enjoy room to run while continuing to explore and make music via the outdoor exhibits. Before leaving for the day, climb the stairs to the rooftop of the museum for spectacular Old Town views.
To make the most of your visit, Jones recommends purchasing a membership such as the Family Plus. In addition to limitless visits, the membership includes program discounts, early entry, special days and sneak peaks. The Family Plus membership also includes guest passes and free admission into the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Daily admission without a membership is $9.50/adult, $7/senior or student, $6/child 12 and under and free for children under 3.
Before venturing out for a day at the museum, Jones recommends browsing the gallery guides on FCMoD’s website, www.fcmod.org, to make the most of the educational opportunities the museum offers.
Whatever your interests, the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery is sure to have something that sparks it.
“Little kids love pushing the buttons and pulling the levers, while older children and parents can read about the mechanisms or history represented by the activities,” says Jones. “The whole gallery is interactive in many ways, so offers something for both the small child, the teenager and up.”