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9:00AM – NOON  |  AGES 0-5

Tot Day Admission includes complimentary Planetarium programs at 10:00, 10:30, or 11:00am

Each month we set up activities and interactive learning stations designed to create an experience that will ignite your child’s curiosity and interest in science.  Tot Discovery Days are casual, drop-in programs when our youngest visitors can enjoy Eugene Science Center activities “big-kid-free.” We open one hour early, just for Tot Day, before the general public can explore the science center.

Limited to children ages 5 and younger, accompanied by a parent or guardian. Siblings who are not the appropriate age for these activities will not be allowed into the activity areas at this time. A named member must be present to receive membership benefits.

Advance registration not required.


Tot Discovery Day Pricing:

Eugene Science Center Members: FREE
Non-Members, Ages 1-61: $6.00 each
Non-Members, Ages 61+: $5.00 each
Infants 0-12 months: FREE

Tot Discovery Day admission is discounted from regular combo admission pricing and includes hands-on activities just for you and your Tot. Save money on multiple Tot Day visits by becoming a member.

Tot Discovery Days are now included in our Museums For All program.


May 8th: VIRTUAL Tot Discovery Day

Backyard Science

Join us from home for a very special virtual Tot Discovery Day. We’ve prepared 6 activities you can try from home, as well as a special planetarium presentation. Our educators will demonstrate how to turn household materials into fun science activities for your tot!

We’ve provided a list of materials you can gather in advance and then follow along at home during a live recording – streaming on facebook live this Friday at 11:00am. Can’t find the suggested materials? Some are easily substituted with similar items you already have.

After the live event, we will post written instructions online for each of the activities. The live recording will also be available to view after the event.

You can share photos or videos of your experiments with other families on the facebook event page or using #eugenesciencecenter.

Eugene Science Center Virtual Tot Day
Backyard Science Materials List

Each activity below has a list of materials to gather for you and your toddler to participate in our live virtual tot day experience. ESC Educators will lead each activity. Instructions will be posted online after the live event.

Milk Fireworks:

  • Milk
  • Food Coloring (Few different colors)
  • Dish Soap
  • Cotton Swab
  • Container

Nature Rubbings:

  • Nature Materials (sticks, rocks, leaves, blades of grass, flowers).
  • Paper
  • Crayons (with paper off)

Paper Bag Kites:

  • Paper lunch bags
  • Hole punch
  • Yarn
  • Sturdy string

Food Sink or Float:

  • Clear Container to hold water
  • Apples, grapes, veggies, rocks, ping pong ball, tennis ball

Bubble Tunnel:

  • Small Toy Car
  • Long tray or table
  • Bubble solution (mix dish soap and water or use premade bubble solution)
  • Bubble wands

Backyard Sundial:

  • Pencil
  • Ball of Playdough
  • Medium sized rocks
  • Sunshine

 Backyard Science Activity Instructions 

Backyard Sundial (This setup will take multiple hours to set up on a sunny day):

  1. Pick a spot in your backyard or around the outside of your house that gets a lot of sun. 
  2. Pick a period of a 4-5 hours your tot will be most active (Yes, you can actually set up the sundial for an entire day). 
  3. Create a makeshift sundial by sticking your pencil eraser side down in your ball of playdough so that it sticks straight up.
  4. At the top of an hour (11am for example), place the sundial out in the place you picked. Mark the end of the shadow it creates with a rock. 
  5. An hour later, go out and mark the spot where the shadow of the dial has moved to. Repeat this process until you mark the period of time you want. 
  6. Go out each day with your tot and help them tell what time of day it is.

Milk Fireworks: 

  1. Pour milk into your container, just enough to cover the bottom. 
  2. Place a drop or two of each color of food coloring into the center of the milk. 
  3. Dip your cotton swab into the dish soap. 
  4. Put the dish soap soaked end of the cotton swab into the center of your milk (where the food coloring is). 
  5. Watch what happens!

Food Sink or Float: 

  1. Pick up the food item you want to test. 
  2. Let your tot hold the item and ask if it is light or heavy. 
  3. Ask your tot if they think the item will sink or float. 
  4. Allow them to hold the item over the tub of water and drop it in. 
  5. Ask your tot what happened.
  6. Repeat the process until all the items have been tested. 

Nature Rubbings: 

  1. Place the blank sheet of paper over the nature object you want to create a rubbing from. Try and make it as flat as possible. 
  2. Pick up a crayon (make sure the paper wrapping is off) and press it firmly on its side on the paper and rub back and forth over the object. 
  3. You should see the object take shape on the paper

Paper bag kites (choose a windy day to fly): 

  1. Cut a rectangular hole in the bottom of your paper bag, leaving about a ½ inch of intact paper bag around the hole.
  2. Cut four (4) strips of tape. Use these strips to reinforce the top corners of your paper bag. This will be where you punch your holes.
  3. Use your hole punch to create four (4) holes at the top of your paper bag, one in each corner of the bag where you placed the tape. 
  4. Cut two (2) pieces of string, 30 inches each.
  5. Tie one string through two holes to create a loop. Do the same with the second string and the other two holes.
  6. Cut a third piece of string roughly a yard (36 inches) long.
  7. Tie the third string through both of the previously made loops to create a long handle for your kite.
  8. Paint and decorate your kite however you like. Be sure not to put too many heavy accessories/decorations or else your kite will have a hard time getting off the ground. 

Bubble Tunnel: 

  1. Ready your bubble wand with bubble solution. 
  2. You might have to help your tot with this. Blow a bubble onto the tray so that it sticks. You can add a small amount of bubble solution to the tray itself to help it stick. 
  3. Now dip the toy car into the bubble solution.
  4. Push it towards the bubble and watch what happens (it should go right through the bubble without popping).
  5. Now you can get creative and try and make a giant bubble or link multiple bubbles together to make a longer tunnel.

Early S.T.E.M. Storytime

Second, Third & Fourth Fridays of Each Month

11 - 11:30 am | Ages 0-5

Immediately following 10:30 pre-K planetarium shows

March 26, 2020: We have temporarily paused all Early STEM Storytime programs, while the Science Center is closed to the public.

Jump start your preschooler into S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education with the Eugene Science Center’s new storytime. Join us for a story and hands-on activity designed for early learners. Each storytime is a unique expansion of the Tot Discovery Day theme from the first Friday of the month.

Early S.T.E.M. Storytime is included with general admission.

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