Your Guide to Visiting the Asheville Museum of Science

Your Guide to Visiting the Asheville Museum of Science

The Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS) is such a wonderful destination for kids! I love taking our two boys there because it’s both educational and entertaining.

There are so many fun exhibits, from a climbing structure designed after a bird’s nest, to an amazing gem collection and even a spot to build and test small cars.

The Science Museum is a the perfect rainy day activity in Asheville because it’s all indoors and provides a ton of activities for both learning and burning off energy. We love visiting with our kids and definitely recommend it if you are looking for something kid-friendly in Asheville. Speaking of, make sure to check out our guide to Asheville with kids.

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This article shares information about the Asheville Museum of Science, including admission rates, where to park and details on various exhibits. Here’s a table of contents to help you jump around!

About the Asheville Museum of Science

Though it is known as the Asheville Museum of Science today, it originally began as the Burnham S. Colburn Memorial Museum on Coxe Avenue. This museum featured the extensive mineral collection of engineer and bank president Burnham Standish Colburn, who helped find the Southern Appalachian Mineral Society in 1931.

Over the years the museum has grown and relocated a few times. It’s most recent move and new name came in 2016. Today, in addition to the original gem collection, exhibits in AMOS include other topics like astronomy, geology, weather, climate, ecology and paleontology. You can read a much more extensive history of AMOS on their website.

The science museum is located in downtown Asheville right in the center of town. It’s on Patton Ave near S&W Market (a favorite spot of ours!) and just down from all of the fun shopping and eats on Biltmore Ave.

The museum is all located on the ground level so it’s easy to get around. It’s pretty small, with three rooms each with a different purpose. And it is ideal for children.

One thing to keep in mind when visiting is that it’s a popular destination for field trips, especially on Fridays! It can get pretty chaotic when there are several classes running around but they all typically eat lunch right at 12 and then it gets pretty quiet.

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Admission to the Asheville Museum of Science

Individual Day Passes to AMOS

All visitors to AMOS who are over age 3 are $10 each and those younger than 3 are free. They are closed Tuesdays (like a lot of Asheville establishments!) You can reserve tickets online or buy them in person on the day of your visit. The hours vary, so definitely check with the museum to confirm they’ll be open when you are planning a visit.

Annual Membership

The Asheville Museum of Science has several tiers for annual membership. The prices listed below are for those ages 3 and up. The younger ones are free!

  • Curiosity (1 person*)                            $35 + tax
  • Trailblazers (2 people*)                      $70 + tax
  • Expedition (4 people*)                        $130 + tax
  • Expedition Plus (6 people*)                $180 + tax

In addition to admission for cardholders, memberships also include guest discounts, a 10% discount at the gift shop and even a discount on AMOS birthday parties and facility rentals. You can read more about their memberships here.

ZOOM Pass Program

If you are local to Buncombe County, you can get free admission to AMOS every 30 days using a Zoom Pass. In fact, you can get free admission to several Asheville area attractions every 30 days. It’s a great program and definitely worth checking out if you live in the county! Learn more here.

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Parking at AMOS

The Asheville Museum of Science is at the heart of downtown Asheville. Which is great if you are walking around, but parking can be a bit tricky. Luckily there are several options close by so you should be able to find something that works.

There are a very few street parking spots out front, a pay-to-park lot across the street and a few more down Lexington Avenue toward The Rhu.

I personally prefer to park at First Presbyterian Church’s pay-to-park area because then I get to walk past The Rhu on the way in. My kids even expect it now! I love getting a coffee from there and my kids love their pastries.

If you are looking for a parking garage, there’s one on Lexington at the Aston St intersection. This is the Biltmore Avenue Parking Garage and you can enter on Lexington.

Exterior sign of The Rhu in downtown Asheville

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Exhibits at the Asheville Science Museum

AMOS is made up of three separate spaces, one of which houses the original gem collection mentioned in the about section. This is the Colburn Hall of Minerals and it’s full of local minerals and gemstones.

This area of the museum has a scavenger hunt for children with gemstones and stickers as prizes. It’s very cute to see all of the kids running around with their clipboards checking various items off.

The room we typically spend the most time in has fossils, a large climbing structure, a terrabox filled with sand, a toddler foam block area, weather exhibits, solar system activities and a splash zone.

The terrabox is used to demonstrate the shape of the terrain and has a light above it to show various topographies. Kids crowd around it in awe of how the light affects the sand.

The climbing structure is also really fun, both for kids to claim on and for adults to watch. It simulates the canopy of the Southern Appalachian Forest and even includes a large bird’s nest at the top. There are several floors to it as well as a slide on the side.

Across from there is a section for toddlers with soft foam blocks. And right next to that is a family-favorite of ours: the water exhibit. Speaking of, bring a change of clothes if you plan to visit the water exhibit. While it’s an especially fun one, it’s easy for little ones to get when splashing at the water table!

Climbing structure and slide at the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)
Dinosaur fossils at the Asheville Museum of Science (AMOS)

And of course, there’s a cast of a real dinosaur!

AMOS’s third room is the STEM lab and it’s where they host the Little Explorer’s Club. It is also closed when field trips are there, which happens often!

What I love about visiting the science museum is that even though the exhibits may be the same, my kids experience it differently each time.

Sometimes we get mesmerized by the cast of the dinosaur and other times we can’t get enough of the weather pattern exhibit. It’s always enjoyable and perfect for our two (ages 2 and 5.) It’s also great for older kids, especially if they have an interest in STEM subjects.

We hope this guide to the Asheville Museum of Science helps you plan a fun visit there the next time you are in downtown Asheville.

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