As we drove from Omaha to Grand Island for the annual Nebraska State Fair, my mother in law pointed to a random sign along I-80.
“Oh! The Edgerton Explorit Center!!! I’ve wanted to go there for ages!”
The what?? I said? I clearly had no idea what she was talking about.
“The trick to education is to teach people in such a way that they don’t realize they’re learning until it’s too late.”- Doc Edgerton
The Aurora science museum is a hands on science center geared specifically towards inquiring minds of kids.
As a prior preschool teacher and fantastic Grandmother to my two boys, she found this the perfect excuse to make a pit stop in Aurora, NE.
So, instead of heading straight back to Omaha after camping at Mormon Island for the fair, we decided to pull off I-80, get onto Hwy 14, and make our way to the explore center.
Fun For Kids (Ok, And Adults, Too!)
So yes, this interactive science center is supposed to be geared toward kids buuuut, I’d be lying if all of us adults didn’t have a little (ok, a lot) of fun, too!
You are pretty much free to independently explore, however, if you aren’t sure how something works, want a demonstration, or just would like some more educational information on any of the exhibits, all you have to do is ask.
Our Favorite Exhibits
The Bubble Tubes
The baby totally loved these. He just stood next to them gazing at the movement for ages!
Land Geography Sand
Ok, I think I liked this one the most! It was fascinating to see how the same amount of water changed to different formations based on displacement….plus the sand was super soft! I’m not ashamed to say that I stayed here for awhile playing with the sand watching the water move as the kids went off to something else!
Bed of Nails
Apparently, if you lay on this, the nails won’t even hurt.
Also apparently, this was not meant for adults! Mr. WellTraveledNebraskan found that out the hard (painful) way!!!
Let’s be honest here, Mr. WellTraveledNebraskan claimed he was flying with Lil B but really, he was enjoying it a little too much himself!
Dino Ball Pit
What are two things that kids love?
Dinosaurs and ballpits! I mean, sure….why not combine them!?
There are dress-up dinosaur hands and feet, fake tails and everything. A bit of a strange combo, but the Pit was a Hit!
This was all of the adults’ favorite by far. It was absolutely fascinating that you could move a ball just with the power of your brain waves!!!
It was pretty cute watching Lil B attempting it, but at the end of the day, Gramma was no match for anyone!
Tips For Going To the Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora Nebraska
1. Call ahead to see if they have any large groups or classes coming
One of the center’s main “clientele” is school groups. So, if you want a quieter experience, simply call and see what their schedule is. We were fortunate to have almost the entire place to ourselves since we were there in the summer and it was a blast!
2. Great For Homeschool Groups
If you are homeschooling, you really can’t beat the hands-on experience of science exploration!
3. Call Ahead and Arrange For a Demonstration
The staff at the science center are phenomenal! After all, the entire point of the facility is to spark intrigue and excitement in young learners! Therefore, if you call and ask for a demonstration or hands-on learning experiment, they are pretty happy to oblige
4. Get in Free With an Omaha Children’s Museum Membership
If you have an Omaha Children’s Museum pass, then you are apart of the ASTC Passport Program, which gets you in free or at reduced prices to other science and learning centers across the US!
The catch is that the discounts are only good for locations that are more than 90 miles from place of purchase. For example, if you have a Hastings Musuem pass, this is also in the program, but Aurora is less than 90 miles from Hastings, so you do not get the free admission. (I know, a bit confusing!)
^Pin This to Your Nebraska Bucket List Board!^
Doc Edgerton: Who Is He?
Ok, so who IS Dr. Edgerton?? One of my favorite parts about Nebraska is that we house all sorts of great insider secrets. One of them being that Dr. Edgerton, an inventer with many notable achievements to his name, one of the most influential being the invention of the strobe light, was born right here in Aurora Nebraska!
In fact, Doc was ranked as one of the top 15 most influential inventors of the 20th century by National Geographic (he also made great strides in Oceanography, the field of photography, and many more).
Dr. Edgeton had a passion for education so his family decided that it was vital to create an institution that continued his love for science, exploration, experimenting, and inventing.
Getting To the Edgerton Explorit Center
Address: 208 16th St, Aurora, NE 68818- just a few minutes off the 332 I-80 exit
The Aurora science center is about:
- 28 min to Grand Island
- About 2 hours to Omaha
- Just over an hour from Lincoln
Phone: (402) 694-4032
- Adults $8.25
- Children (2+) $8.25
- Seniors (60+) $7.00
- Under 2 Free
*Cost is at current time of writing
- Mon-Sat 9-5
- Sun 1-5
Other Things To Do in Aurora NE
I was actually really surprised at how much of a bustling little town Aurora was! It was more than just a one main street kinda town and had I known that there were more things to do, I would have planned more than just a few hours at the Edgerton Explorit Museum
In fact, there are many people doing cross country road trips looking for things to do along I-80 in Nebraska, and I think Aurora could be a great pit stop during a long drive!
A fascinating look into the past about how local inhabitants made sure that Aurora became their home. It’s a great glimpse into the past
Support Local Restaurants
There are plenty of local eateries to stop into and grab a bite to eat at in Aurora. Get American food and burgers, indulge on Italian Gelato, or since you are in Nebraska, chow down on a prime rib. All that and more can be found at local Mom and Pop restaurant in Aurora.
Nebraska doesn’t always get the best rep for outdoor adventure, but there is still so much to do out in nature! At the Pioneer trails you can find:
- Trails for hiking and biking
- Campgrounds (with electrical hookups_
- Equestrian trails
- Fishing and Hunting
- Picnic Shelters
- Winter activities like cross country skiing and snowmobile trails
Have you been to the Edgerton Explorit Center in Aurora, NE? What was your favorite part?