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Tennessee is known for its music, scenic beauty, culinary scene and outdoor adventure. The state is also home to unique stories, fascinating creatures and discoveries. This May 4th, a day that celebrates all things Star Wars, use the Force to explore these Tennessee science museums and attractions.
Johnson City will host a couple Star Wars-themed events for May 4. Local race/event owner, The Goose Chase, will host the May The 4th Be with You 4k. This race will start and end in King Commons Park and is sure to be a fun event for Star Wars enthusiasts and families. All participants will receive a May the Fourth Be With You t-shirt, medal, and the first 100 registered will receive a lightsaber. Don't forget about the Darth Dash (ages 5-10) and to dress up for the costume contest. Star Wars characters will be walking the streets of downtown during this event as well. Additionally, Connect Downtown, Johnson City's Main Street Program, will host May The 4th Sip, Shop, & Stroll featuring Star Wars characters, shopping with downtown merchants, and complimentary, themed beverages and snacks at each participating business. A ticket includes a downtown branded wine tumbler with lid to take around to each stop along the stroll.
“Discover Steampunk: A Fantastical Hands-On Adventure,” a new exhibit at Discovery Park of America, uses this subgenre of science fiction to provide a fun opportunity for children and adults to experience the humanities, science, technology, engineering and math. It includes robotics, photography, automation, sculpture and hands-on learning. See the exhibit and then explore the Science and Space Gallery to learn our universe, see a meteorite and watch a film in The Starship Theater. Outside, marvel at the collection of NASA mission patches inside the geodesic dome, see an F-84 Jet and the 110-foot Titan I missile, donated by NASA.
Memphis Museum of Science & History has something amazing to discover for all ages. Marvel at pre-historic fossils and ancient relics, gaze into the galaxies at planetarium shows and walk on the wild side with native wildlife.
Step inside a family-friendly workshop, “Tinkering Garage,” to explore engineering, math and construction while you build your own creation at Adventure Science Center. Tools and materials are provided; just bring your imagination. Adventure Science Center is closed on Wednesdays, but check out the garage starting May 5.
The newly renovated Explorers Landing exhibit features hands-on educational experiences at Customs House Museum & Cultural Center. Kids can create giant bubbles, learn the science behind cave formations, send race cars down a ramp and more.
Try out surfing, snowboarding, a climbing canyon or a flycycle at Discovery Center. The “Run! Jump! Fly! Adventures in Action!” exhibit is an action-packed family-friendly adventure that runs through May 22. Other permanent exhibits include “5 Senses” that has a larger-than-life eye, nose, ear, tongue and hand to teach to children about the senses. “Waterworks” features a water table where kids can pump water, dump it, pool it, dam it and more. "Tiny Town & TotSpace is designed for crawling infants and toddlers as they discover the world around them with a mini pediatrics office, music store, post office and workshop.
Unearth the curiosities of the world through play, immersive exhibits and hands-on activities in the heart of Chattanooga at Creative Discovery Museum. Science and art collide in the surreal, one-of-a-kind Barsamian Sculpture exhibit. Check out special events like Sensory Night, a low-stimulus evening every first Thursday of the month for children with sensory sensitivities. Admission is free, but registration is required as attendance is capped at 100 guests.
Dive into an augmented reality sandbox, curl up in the fairytale forest, build with LEGOs and enjoy the sounds in the music garden and interact at the STEM station at The Muse Knoxville. Exhibits are catered to children ages 6 months to 10 years old. Kids can learn about the world around them through hands-on exhibits that help them learn through play.
Science and history come alive. The American Museum of Science and Energy explores Oak Ridge’s history of the Manhattan Project and how it changed the world. AMSE’s family-friendly science and exhibits highlight smartphone technology, 3D printing, super-computing and life-saving cancer treatments through interactive, hands-on exhibits and special events.
Explore the kid-friendly science and technology exhibits at Hands On! Discovery Center. Children ages infant and older can enjoy the interactive exhibits that teach science in a fun way. Explore Quantum Space, an immersive, augmented reality exhibit, learn about gravity with the Gravity Dish, build your own creation with giant blue blocks made of dense foam in Imagination Playground take a look inside the Infinity Mirror. You can also see the electrifying, Guinness record-holding experience that honors Nikola Tesla during The Tesla Experience. Tickets are $2 per person with admission.
Kid-friendly, mind-bending exhibits abound at WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. Enter the upside down museum where the ceiling will be under your feet and the ground above your head. Pass through the inversion tunnel for endless fun ahead. Explore outer space, Far Out Art Gallery, light and sound and the Imagination lab. Each zone tests your knowledge and teaches something new. Touch 10,000 volts of electricity, navigate through space on a mission to Mars and play laser-tag. Ride the Wonders of Flight which takes you 500 feet into the air on a giant, tethered balloon where you can enjoy 360-degree views of the Great Smoky Mountains.
For more family-friendly museums in Tennessee, explore the Plan Your Trip page.