Children’s Science Center Lab: NoVA’s First Interactive Museum

The Children’s Science Center Lab is an interactive museum where children, families, and school groups can explore science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts through fun, engaging hands-on exhibits, activities, and programs.

The Lab’s mission is to inspire a love of learning STEM by providing
unique opportunities to explore and create.

All You Should Know About The Lab

The Lab is divided into four areas: Experiment Bar, Inspiration Hub, Tinker Shop, and Discovery Zone. Each area has hands-on science activities and experiments to explore.

Experiment Bar

At the Experiment Bar, there is a menu of three experiments to choose from. STEM educators are there for support as they provide you and your child a tray of supplies to facility the activity. New experiments are introduced each month, and one current experiment will be rotated out.

Tinker Shop

In the Tinker Shop, there are several activities to choose from including building robots, building a hover craft to fly in a wind tube, and more!

The Tinker Shop will test your child’s creativity and problem-solving skills to make their creation work. The activities in the Tinker Shop will also switch out on a
regular basis.

Discovery Zone

Next to the Tinker Shop is the Discovery Zone. This room is designed for visitors 5 years old and younger. The Discovery Zone features giant blue building blocks for children to build their creations while developing creativity and enriching critical thinking.

The Discovery Zone also has a giant pixel peg board where light meets creativity, and tables and chairs to read a book or play with magnetic tiles and blocks to enhance their mathematical thinking skills and strengthen dexterity.

Inspirtation Hub

Behind the Tinker Shop you will find the Inspiration Hub. The Hub has a Chain Reaction wall, gears table, Power the City activity, and the 3D Printer Experience presented by AWS InCommunities. All of these activities will activate critical thinking for your child.

The Garage is a flex space used for private programs, special events and presentations. If there is no event and it is a regular timed entry, you can find additional STEM fun and challenges.

Family Fun at the Children’s Science Center

Each year the Children’s Science Center hosts events for families to participate in, camps, birthday parties, and more!

For the month of October, the Haunted Lab is where new experiments such as Monster Genetics, Plasmodial Slime and Spooky Scavenger Hunt will fill you with Halloween fun !

The Annual Family Costume Party takes place with special activities including the Spooky Slime Piano, an animal encounter, and building spider launchers! Prizes go to the participants wearing the most creative and SPOOK-tacular costumes!

December through February the Lab launches the Winter Wonder Lab where the museum is transformed into a winter wonderland for guests to experience wintery STEM subjects.

Activities include embarking on an arctic animal expedition, exploring the geometry of a snowflake, and lighting up a circuit with slime. Winter Wonder Lab is open on weekends and school holidays.

The Lab also hosts other family events such as New Years Eve Around the World, We Heart STEM, Kids Night Out, and other exclusive member events!

Camps & Birthday Parties

Enroll your child in spring and summer camps with each week being a different theme! Camps are designed for rising 1-5th graders. Camp hours are 9:00am – 3:00pm Monday through Friday. Theme announcements and camp registration opens early in the year. Check for updates at!

Celebrate your child’s birthday party at the Children’s Science Center Lab! Your party will be a unique and exciting experience that includes STEM educators, hands-on activities, and a demonstration of your choice!

All parties include a two-hour celebration for up to 50 people and the entire Lab is exclusively for your party and closed to other guests. Reservations for birthday parties at the Lab are taken three weeks in advance. For inquiries, email [email protected] or call 703-648-3130 extension 3.

Pricing and Admissions

The Children’s Science Center Lab is open every Weekend to guests through three, two hour, timed-entry sessions on the weekends and most school holidays. Those sessions are from 10:00am – 12:00pm and 1:00 – 3:00, and 3:30 – 5:30. The Lab strongly encourages guests to purchase tickets in advance.

Tickets are $15. Children under 2 are free. You can save $2 by purchasing your ticket online. Children under 17 must always be accompanied by a paid adult while visiting the Lab. The Lab also opens on most school holidays.

Good to Know Before You Go

  • The Lab is open on weekdays from 10am – 12pm and 2pm – 4pm
  • Admission is $15 per person for ages 2 and up (under 2 are free). There are yearly memberships available which include admission, discounts on classes and parties, and access to special events. If you are planning on visiting more than two or three times a year, buying a membership quickly pays for itself.
  • Pre-book your birthday party three weeks in advance by emailing [email protected] or call 703-648-3130 ext. 3.
  • Bathrooms with changing tables and step stools are available in the center, as well as just outside in the mall.
  • No food or drink is allowed in the center. There are plenty of kid-friendly dining options in Fair Oaks Mall and you are allowed to leave for lunch and come back.

Getting There

The Children’s Science Center Lab is located in Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax (at the entrance Next to Dick’s Sporting Goods) at 11948 Fair Oaks Mall, Fairfax, VA 22033.

* Photos by Children’s Science Center Lab website

Photo of author

OK Editorial Team

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