by Robin B
Impression 5 is cool! It is such a fun, hands-on learning environment and I was excited to take my children for a visit to this museum that I had frequented so much as a child and experience it again through their eyes.
What You’ll Find
A little background on Impression 5: it is located in the heart of downtown Lansing on Museum Drive, right off Lansing’s river trail. Opened in 1972, Impression 5 refers to the five senses and shows how each sense will be engaged by a visit.
The Entrance and guest services are located on the 1st floor. Construction is underway to expand this floor for additional exhibit space. The Science store (gift shop) is also located on this floor. The 2nd floor holds the majority of the exhibits. We visited in July and I noticed it was rather warm with fans running. I asked the guest services employee and she stated there was not currently air conditioning (but that it was part of the construction/improvements), so make sure to dress accordingly! There were plenty of docent/volunteers throughout the exhibits readily available to answer any questions.
The first exhibit you’ll encounter is Chew on This! Our children loved the giant dental tools. There is an interactive grocery checkout activity that was also fun to help explain how food choices affect your teeth.
First Impression Room
If you have little ones, make sure to check out the First Impression Room – a space designated for ages birth – 4 years old. It has a life-size tree for climbing and crawling, a walk-in house for imaginary play, and a small water table area.
Tip: If you know your child will make a beeline for the water table, make sure to pack an extra shirt since s/he is bound to get wet. Also, no shoes are allowed in the room, so make sure to wear/bring socks.
Located centrally among the exhibits is the welcome area – with seating/tables (you can bring in your own snacks), vending machines and the bathrooms. A small detail, but I loved the design of the women’s bathrooms with stalls of different sizes – make sure to check before you go in to find the right size.
Some of our Favorite Areas
Adjacent to the First Impression Room is the Water Room that holds a huge water table with boats and more to explore. They have raincoats in the room if you forget to bring extra clothing. The floor is also wet, so make sure to be careful walking around the water table.
Next door to the water room is the Chemistry Lab. They Chemistry lab offers daily workshops throughout the day where kids can create their very own slime to take home. The cost is $2 per child and you’ll need to purchase tickets at guest services. We were going to do this, but were having so much fun exploring the museum we missed our opportunity.
POP! A Bubble Experience was fun! We got to explore how soap and water molecules interact to create a bubble structure. A highlight was being able to stand inside a giant bubble – my 7-year old picked this as her ‘last thing to see’ before we left and could have made bubbles for hours.
Throwing Things – well, this is one chance I didn’t have to tell my children to NOT throw something! We used a trebuchet to launch different weights across the floor and track the results. Honestly, I think my husband had more fun doing this than anyone.
The Spectrum room was neat – we spent quite a bit of time checking out this new exhibit. I liked the life-size Mosaic that allowed us to create our own picture. *You can even upload your creation to the Impression 5 website for viewing.
The MI Nature exhibit really held the interest of my younger daughter. She was able to explore natural environments just as though she was out in the actual environment. We couldn’t get her away from this exhibit.
Hours of Operation
Tuesday – Saturday open 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Children, 1 & older: $7.00
Children, up to 1 year old: FREE
Impression 5 is a great way to spend an afternoon (plan on at least 2 hours) and I highly recommend a visit if you are considering a trip to the Lansing area. Make sure to check the website calendar for special events held at the museum.