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Explore Life on Earth at Cranbrook Institute of Science: Visitor’s Guide

If you are looking for a great place to spend the day exploring and learning about science, then check out Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills. This science museum is located on the Cranbrook Campus which includes not only the Cranbrook science museum, but also the Art Museum, Academy of Art, Cranbrook Schools, Center for Collections & Research, and the Cranbrook House and Gardens.

If this is your first time to the Cranbrook Institute of Science, then make sure you check out the map of the Cranbrook Campus. Finding the Cranbrook Science Museum can be a bit tricky.

The Cranbrook Institute of Science is best for children ages seven and up and is also an amazing resource for homeschooling families in the Metro Detroit area. You can easily spend more than a couple of hours exploring the exhibits and still not see everything. We recommend getting a membership in order to relieve some of the pressure of feeling that you have to see the whole museum in one day. The museums is also great for field trips, special events, and birthday parties.

Exterior of the Cranbrook Institute of Science

Cranbrook Science Museum Exhibits

The 94,000 square foot science museum consists of fifteen permanent exhibits along with an exhibition hall for temporary exhibits. Guests can also enjoy the outdoor science garden, nature trails, planetarium, and an observatory.

Life on Earth exhibit at the Cranbrook Institute of Science

How many different species of life exist on earth? According to the National Geographic Society scientists estimate that there are about 8.7 million species of plants and animals on Earth. (That doesn’t include the other kingdoms of life such as bacteria and fungi.)

The Life on Earth exhibit celebrates Earth’s biodiversity. Visitors can learn about a wide variety of different specimens on display at the Cranbrook science museum. The organisms are organized and also presented based on the taxonomies created by Carolus Linnaeus. Some of the most interesting organisms include rock eating bacteria, parasitic worms, as well as the most unusual pangolin.

Life on Earth exhibit at the Cranbrook Institute of Science

Astronomy Gallery

Visitors can explore several displays within the The Astronomy Gallery such as ViewSpace, Rocks from Space , the tools of Astronomy, and a mechanical model of our solar system known as a Copernican Orrery.

Did you know that our solar system spans over 287 billion kilometers? If you want to appreciate the scale, then try building a scale model with a little help from NASA.

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Every Rock Has a Story

This exhibit explores the story behind each rock and mineral. Each rock has clues as to where and when it was formed and it’s experience through time to this moment. Rocks and minerals are a guide to our planet’s history. They can tell us how plates have shifted, how minerals grown as well as where and when volcanoes have erupted.

Do your children love visiting the beach and looking for rocks? Check out the Beachgoer’s Guide to Lake Michigan Fossils and Rocks.

Every Rock Has a Story Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills

Ice Ages Come and Go

In this exhibit guests can learn about how Michigan’s landscape was carved by glaciers. You can also see and touch a large rock that has grooves caused by glaciers. Finally, learn about how the power of the sun causes the changes in the Earth’s climate.

Ice Ages Come and Go Cranbrook Science Museum in Bloomfield Hills

Ice Age Survivors

In the exhibit Ice Age Survivors explore the large animals or megafauna that survived the Late Quaternary extinctions in North America, that occurred between 11,500 and 10,000 radiocarbon years ago. Wander through a large collection of animal mounts representing a wide variety of survivors.

Ice Age Surviors Cranbrook Institute of Science in Bloomfield Hills
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Mastodons Did Not Survive

Many species didn’t survive Michigan’s last ice age. Learn about not only the animals that went extinct after this catastropihic even, but also those animals that have been affected by human hunting.


Everyone loves a photo op, right? Well step right up and get your picture taken in front of the jaws of a megalodon. This giant fish is one of the most dangerous apex predators in history to live in the ocean.

Megalodon at Cranbrook Science Museum

Flint Anthropology Gallery at Cranbrook Institute of Science

The Flint Anhropology Gallery exhibit By Native Hands features more than 100 Native American artifacts. Guests can also explore video clips along with a soundtrack that tells the history of the native peoples of this area. Learn how their way of life changed over the years as a result of the “colonization” of the area.

Flint Anthropology Gallery

Life Changes Over Time

One of the most noteworthy exhibits within the Cranbrook science museum is the full-sized Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton cast which overlooks the main entrance. Guests can explore natural selection along with evolution through the display which examines the question “Are birds descendants of dinosaurs?”

Tyrannosaurus Rex at Cranbrook Science Center

If you have younger children, then you won’t want to miss the Motion Gallery exhibit. This hands-on collection of physics experiments will not only keep you entertained, but also provides a deeper understanding of balance, motion, speed, force and more. You may also want to check out the Acheson Light Lab, Mineral Study Guide, The Story of Us, Water is Like Nothing Else, and Woodlands Den exhibits.

Cranbrook Science Museum Location, Hours and Admission

Address: 39221 Woodward Ave, Bloomfield Hills, MI 48304
Phone: (248) 645-3200

Hours of Operation as of 2/10/2021

  • Wednesday and Thursday: 10:00am until 1:00pm; and 2:00 until 5:00pm
  • Friday: 10:00 am until 1:00pm; 2:00 until 5:00pm; and 6:00 until 9:00pm
  • Saturday: 10:00 am until 1:00pm; and 2:00 until 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 12:00 until 4:00pm

Admission as of 2/10/2021

  • Adults: $13.00
  • Children ages 2 – 12: $9.50
  • Seniors 65+: $9.50
  • Children under 2: Free
  • All Members: Free

Masco FREE First Friday

Every month on the first Friday of the month enjoy FREE admission to the Institute of Science. This promotion is courtesy of the MASCO Corporation Foundation. Receive FREE admission after 5pm the first Friday of each month. The Café and Observatory are open as well. However, planetarium programs and admission to the Changing Exhibit Gallery are offered at an additional charge.

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