Museum of Natural History & Science
The Museum of Natural History & Science, Cincinnati Museum Center’s oldest predecessor institution, has its roots in the very earliest days of the city. It’s also one of the three museums that make up Cincinnati Museum Center.
Museum of Natural History & Science today
The Museum of Natural History & Science at Cincinnati Museum Center offers a world of science, history and nature through interactive exhibits and amazing artifacts. Guests can reach their own “ah-ha” moment through creative thinking and problem-solving skills. With something for all ages, there’s always more to explore in the Museum of Natural History & Science.
Creating monumental educational experiences is what makes Cincinnati Museum Center unlike any other museum, and we know that the most effective educational experiences spark interest through fun. The Museum of Natural History & Science inspires wonder and teaches basic principles of science, while also highlighting our active role in groundbreaking research. By connecting science and history, the Museum of Natural History & Science inspires the next generation to keep asking questions so that we can find tomorrow’s answers.
Just thirty years after the founding of Cincinnati, physician and scientist Daniel Drake founded the Western Museum in 1818 and hired naturalist John James Audubon as its first employee. In 1835 Drake established the Western Academy of Natural Sciences, incorporating the collections of the Western Museum. After the Civil War, this organization evolved into the Cincinnati Society of Natural History. The Society continued to grow in sophistication, adding to its collections and expanding its staff.
After nearly a century as a tenant in various downtown buildings, the museum moved into its own home on Gilbert Avenue in Eden Park in 1958. Here it distinguished itself by creating a widely-adopted educational program where hundreds of museum exhibit cases rotated through the Cincinnati public school system, reaching thousands of students weekly in their classrooms. Attendance and membership continued to grow until the museum moved to Union Terminal in 1990. Today it attracts more than 1.5 million guests every year.
Museum of Natural History & Science Exhibits
Dinosaur Hall features incredible, awe-inspiring specimens you won’t find anywhere else and utilizes our globally-significant fossil collections to explore dinosaur evolution, ecology and biology.
Ever wondered how a tornado forms, how you can lift your weight or what happens when push comes to pull? Find out in the new Science Interactives Gallery, and try your hand at experiments for all ages! The Science Interactives is now open in the Museum of Natural History & Science.
The Austin E. Knowlton Foundation Science Stage
Join us every day as we bring science to life! Science Live! Stage Shows explore scientific concepts such as electricity, chemistry, and physics in easily understandable (and often explosive) ways. From objects frozen solid and brittle in liquid nitrogen, to a fireball you can actual feel the heat off of, the shows are extreme in all the best ways.
Guests can pick their adventure: choose between beginner and advanced expeditions and feel the chill as you dip below ground and follow the flow of water as it carves formations through 500 feet of twists and turns. Then, deepen your understanding of these features of our regional landscape in the above-ground interpretation center.
Neil Armstrong Space Exploration Gallery, presented by the Harold C. Schott Foundation
Ohio is a space state, with a proud aviation heritage. Dare the next generation of space pioneers to aim for the stars. See if you have the right stuff, like John Glenn, or follow in the small steps and giant leaps of Neil Armstrong. This exhibit features a 360° theater experience and artifacts that can only be seen in Cincinnati — including a moon rock presented to CMC by Armstrong himself.
Come face-to-face with a mastodon, giant sloth and dire wolves as you explore Pleistocene Cincinnati through an ice cave and immersive trail.
John A. and Judy Ruthven Get Into Nature Gallery
The 20,000-acre Richard & Lucile Durrell Edge of Appalachia Preserve System comes to the heart of Cincinnati as you see, hear, touch and smell the wild world around you.
Built on the strength of our world-renowned fossil collection, this gallery will take you through over 150 million years of Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky’s exciting geologic past.
Get started in STEM, or go deeper than you have time for in school, by visiting the museum's STEM Lab.
Includes Cincinnati History Museum, Museum of Natural History & Science and The Children's Museum
Members receive discounts!
Become a Member today to save on programs, exhibits and films throughout CMC.
Open Thursday – Monday
10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Closed Tuesday and Wednesday
Closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day