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The Saint Louis Science Center is an educational complex located in Saint Louis, Missouri, in a corner of Forest Park. This center spans several buildings, including a planetarium, a science museum, an Omnimax® theater, an Exploradome, and a Community Science Resource Center. With its sprawling campus bisected by Interstate 40, the two sections are joined by a pedestrian footbridge that features its own exhibits. The family-friendly museum complex offers more than 750 exhibits and is among the largest American science centers. As of 2011, the center was one of the few science museums in the U.S. to offer continuous free general admission to families and individual visitors.
Past exhibits at the Saint Louis Science Center have included flight simulators, hands-on engineering activities, virtual experientials in computer programming, and a historical exploration of Civil War medical tools and procedures. Among other highlights of the Saint Louis Science Center are live demonstrations, a partnership program with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and a special play and learning area for children 3 to 7 years old. A Omnimax® theater shows films on topics such as tornadoes and exploring other planets. Visitors can join a tour of the theater to glimpse its behind-the-scenes workings.
Camp-ins, summer day camps, and a team robotics competition are offered for children. An ongoing variety of family and adult programs are also featured. Off-site programming is available for school and community groups.
The Saint Louis museum is open seven days a week. The campus also offers a gift shop and restaurants. Free parking is available near the planetarium as well as in other nearby areas. The science center is accessible to individuals with mobility difficulties. Group rates are available with advance reservations.
A planetarium was the first part of the Saint Louis Science Center to open in 1963. Twenty years later, the center was renamed after combining with the Museum of Science and Natural History that had been previously located in Clayton, Missouri. The complex was significantly expanded in 1991 to add additional buildings and exhibits.
Several other noteworthy educational museums are located in Saint Louis. Art exhibits are featured at several venues including the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, the Contemporary Art Museum, and the Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts. The Saint Louis Mercantile Library also has artwork on display, in addition to historic and cultural archives.