Motor City STEM: Explore Science in Detroit & Beyond

With cities such as Detroit that provide a great location for science, history and technology and others like Ann Arbor and East Lansing that are home to internationally-known universities, Michigan is a STEM-centric hub.

Boasting a strong tradition of industry and innovation, Detroit and the broader state of Michigan welcome STEM groups curious about automotive technology, underwater life and astronomy.

Museums & Zoos

​The Michigan Science Center focuses on inspiring and empowering curious minds to explore STEM in a creative, hands-on hub. With its wide variety of exhibits like the 4D theater, interactive labs, planetarium and more, it encourages students to discover all sorts of science, math, technology and engineering. Through guided field trips, students are encouraged to visit the more than 250 interactive exhibits in the museum to learn about various STEM principles and experience topics such as life science, engineering and space.

Cranbrook Institute of Science

Cranbrook Institute of Science

As a unique and historic community, the Cranbrook Institute of Science is comprised of the Institute of Science but also an Academy of Art and Art Museum, Schools and Center for Collections and Research, which all have formed one of the world’s leading education, science and art centers. With programs that go unparalleled, the Cranbrook Institute of Science serves as a unique educational institute that seeks to provide transformational experiences in STEM education. Both daytime and overnight field trips bring a whole new level for students to discover topics like chemistry, anthropology, life science, astronomy, engineering and more. These experiences provide students with the ability to get immersed in a museum that houses over 20,000 artifacts, planetarium shows and nationally-acclaimed exhibits

With over 2,000 aquatic creatures, SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium offers 12 interactive exhibits for visitors to experience over 250 species up close and personal. Whether students learn about the aquarium’s conservation program, encounter the vast array of sea creatures, touch a rockpool creature in the TouchPool, experience a feeding demonstration and more, the Michigan SeaLife Aquarium gives students insight into how they can help to protect marine species worldwide or even learn about the ones native to the many lakes around Michigan. Students also can dive into topics such as biodiversity and water resources for animals or investigate the anatomy and adaptations of squid through dissection.

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

SEA LIFE Michigan Aquarium

A home to more than 2,400 animals of 235 species, the Detroit Zoo is a renowned leader in wildlife conservation, animal welfare, environmental sustainability and humane education. Various attractions the zoo provides include the Science on a Sphere (which is a display of Earth’s dynamic simulations to educate visitors about environmental issues that impact human lives), the Giraffe Encounter (where visitors can feed a giraffe) and the 4-D theater. Field trips at the Detroit Zoo give students hands-on learning experiences to expand their classroom knowledge. The added learning labs provide students the opportunity to expand their knowledge of conservation, life sciences and career paths through topics that include wolf conservation, wildlife forensics, animal behavior and medicine career paths.

Universities and Academia

The National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory, or NSCL, is a national facility that allows scientists from all over the world to discover atoms and their role in the universe. As part of the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams (FRIB), the NSCL helped to not only advance nuclear science but also to made Michigan State University known worldwide for its innovations in nuclear science and cross-disciplinary fields. Discover the rare isotope facility through an educational tour. Through these once-in-a-lifetime tours, students encounter physics in real life, the goals and methods of nuclear science, walk through the vaults where nuclei are accelerated and watch a demonstration.

Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium

Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium

​The Talbert and Leota Abrams Planetarium on the Michigan State University campus has been open since 1964 to create a center for space science and education. The Planetarium strives to increase appreciation and awareness of the night sky, support scientific literacy and connecting with the outside community, whether they are K-12, university level or the public with interactive multimedia. The field trips that the Planetarium offers students are a wide array of shows like the race to land a robotic spacecraft on the Moon, discovering the wonders of the sun, catastrophes of the cosmos, how the existence of ice outside of Earth shapes the natural system of other planets and moons in the solar system and more. Students also get to experience what the night sky looks like at the time of their visit.

Industry & Technology

Experience game-changing technology and get an inside look at America’s most iconic truck through the Ford Rouge Factory Tour. During the Rouge Factory Tour, students experience the science and history of manufacturing at one of the world’s largest automotive complexes. Help students tie their classroom knowledge into these trips through programs such as the Spark Chaser, Investigating 21st-Century Manufacturing and Environmental Innovations and the Outdoor Living Lab.

Ford Rouge Factory Tour

Ford Rouge Factory Tour

The Class Outside Series at Comerica Park offers students the chance to learn about various educational programs and enjoy one of America’s favorite sports: baseball. Through programs like STEAM Day, Weather Day or even CSI: Forensic Science Day, students are given the opportunity to listen to speakers, participate in interactive educational experiences and watch the Detroit Tigers play.

Nature & Outdoor Activities

Offering tours of both the Recycle Here! Facility as well as the Lincoln Street Art Park, the Green Living Science Initiative gives students an insight into environmental impacts and sustainable building. Through hands-on activities, students also use this outdoor classroom to enhance their STEM knowledge of the conservation of natural resources. The unique setting of both the recycling facility as well as the art park allows students to experience recycling in an urban setting and the outdoor classroom created recycled from a 40-foot-shipping-container.

Green Living Science Initiative

Green Living Science Initiative

Experience the great outdoors of Michigan right in the heart of the city at the Outdoor Adventure Center in Detroit. Through the Outdoor Adventure Center’s field trips, students can experience the many exhibits and learn about the natural resources of Michigan. These exhibits teach students and visitors about many subjects such as the animals (underwater and throughout the forests of Michigan), the landscapes, conservation and more. This unique experience lets students study topics such as the behavior of birds, the use of natural resources during the Michigan White Pine era, mammal behavior and adaptations.