Located in downtown Mobile, Exploreum visitors can experience more than 150 hands-on science adventures in three permanent galleries: Hands On Hall, the Wharf of Wonder and My BodyWorks, the most advanced health exhibit in the nation.
The Gulf Coast Exploreum is a science center located in downtown Mobile adjacent to the Museum of Mobile. Instead of using the large parking garage, which does have a fee, try to find a public parking lot. There is one located across the street from Fort Conde; which is also Mobile’s Welcome Center.
The Exploreum consists of a main exhibit hall, a secondary exhibit hall upstairs, an IMAX Dome theater, Hands on Hall, and the Wharf of Wonder. Admission includes entry to all exhibit halls and you can choose to add an IMAX ticket for an additional fee. The main halls can change depending on what exhibits are being showcased at the time. When we visited there was an exhibit in the main hall that dealt with the human body, while upstairs was an exhibit called the Scratch Factory. Hands on Hall and the Wharf of Wonder are stationary exhibits that never change. Naturally the IMAX dome theater rotates the films it shows, however all films are educational, so no big name blockbusters here.
For being one of the premiere attractions in Mobile, I hate to say how disappointed I was at the Exploreum. The exhibits used to be a much higher caliber and were well taken care of. The human body exhibit that was on display downstairs at first looked amazing, it reminded me of one of the pavilions at Epcot. Unfortunately, many of the exhibits most were broken, covered up, or just plain out didn’t work. There was a kiosk in which you could print out cards to measure your physical fitness in each display. One distinctly said out of cards while the other 2 machines were jammed. The cards were of little use anyways as most displays to check your fitness level were broken. I found the large animatronic heart to be very interesting and the rhythmic heartbeat sound was very soothing. It was fairly dark in the exhibit so if I had a bench I could’ve taken a nap. My son however found a display on body sounds very amusing. You can imagine how many kids ran over to push the “fart” button.
Upstairs was an exhibit called the Scratch Factory. I wouldn’t call this an exhibit more of an arts and crafts studio. There were various tables set up with crafts that you could build paper airplanes, parachutes, and cars. Sadly, most supplies were missing and it was just a mess.
Hands on Hall and the Wharf of Wonder are located on the other side of the building. Hands on Hall hosts exhibits that naturally you can play with. If you’ve been to any other science center you’ve seen many of these displays before. You may notice logo’s that show Minds on Hall mixed with those that say Hands on Hall. The Minds on Hall used to be located upstairs in the secondary hall. I don’t know what happened with that area but the displays are now mixed in, making some areas very cramped. Also to further make the area seem smaller, the Wharf of Wonder takes up a good part of Hands on Hall. This area is only for children 5 and under and features a ball pit play area themed as a wharf.
The IMAX Dome Theater is one of the main attractions at the Exploreum, The movies are educational and small children may find them boring. Since the IMAX admission requires an extra fee, be sure to check the subject matter of the film and make sure it is something your family would be interested in. Strollers are not allowed inside the theater and must be left parked by the projection room.
If you’re in Mobile and there is an attraction you’d like to see, feel free to visit. Just make sure to see the attraction when it’s first unveiled as to make sure the displays are working and functional. Having seen all the disrepair it is very hard to recommend a visit to the Exploreum. If it’s a rainy day and there is little else to do, this could be a good way to burn some time.
This review is based on a complimentary visit to The Gulf Coast Exploreum. I received no other
compensation and the business owner did not state any requirements that I express a particular point of
This Science museum was fun and very educational for the whole family. We bought a yearly pass which made it affordable to visit again soon AND.... this pass gets us into other museums and science centers for the year...many for FREE! You just can't beat that. We loved this place.
This is a wonderful place for the kids to visit. If you are local I suggest getting the family yearly price. The place is divided into several parts. One section is for 5 and under and it includes a boat to play on, tons of plastic balls, and a few dress up. The area next to this includes many scientific illusions and experiments to play with that are very interesting. In the main lobby is the access to the Imax theater that gives you the feeling of actually being in the action of the video (whichever one happens to be playing) itself. Across from the lobby on the other side is the bottom floor which houses several exhibits related to health courtesy of our local hospital. The 2nd floor on the same side is a chemistry lab that give demonstrations and has more exhibits that are interractive. It also includes a 3-D science movie which is currently on our solar system. In addition to all of this they offer special exhibits at least twice a year on a variety of subjects usually for a small additional cost.
We visited there when my kids were 3 year old and 18 month old. Even though they were not really interested or couldn't reach most of the science stuff, they loved to play in a toddler play area and dinosaurs exhibition for that summer. There are an ocean which is full of balls and our kids enjoyed "swimming" in it and climbed up the boat. This place is located in the downtown area, and we were staying in a hotel just a block away from there. That was a great place for a rainny day.
Our favorite part of the Exploreum is the fact that so much of it is hands on. The kids love the laser harp and dj section and they especially enjoy seeing themselves on tv at the WKRG studio. We are excited about the upcoming Bob the Builder exhibit which will be at the museum from 10/5/09 to 1/4/10. Don’t forget to see the IMAX before you go. It is projected on the only domed screen on the Gulf Coast.