Science World is Vancouver’s giant ball-shaped science centre. The place has an OMNIMAX theatre and family-friendly science-related things to do and see.
Note: As of February, 2024, the OMNIMAX Theatre is still temporarily closed (and it has been since the start of the pandemic).
This article contains the following information about Science World:
The World of Science in Vancouver
Built for the 1986 World’s Fair, Science World is the modern-looking landmark building at the east end of False Creek. The structure looks like it has a giant mirrored ball on top. Inside that ball is the OMNIMAX Theatre where, when the theatre re-opens, you can see terrific films on the world’s largest domed movie screen.
Science World is full of entertaining and scientific displays and activities. It’s highly recommended for young families, especially ones with preschool and elementary school-aged children. Whether you are accompanying a young child, or going alone or with a friend, there are plenty of interesting exhibits to see.
As it is almost 100% inside, and because it’s a first-rate science centre, Science World is an especially great place to visit on rainy days. There are lots of hands-on things to see and experience.
Admission Prices at Science World
Admission rates at the attraction are the following (excluding taxes) as of February 2024:
- Adults (ages 19 and over): $33.20
- Seniors (ages 65 and over) and Youth (ages 13 to 18): $26.75
- Children (ages 3 to 12): $22.50
- Toddlers ages 2 and under: Free
IMAX movies in the OMNIMAX Theatre (when open again) are an additional $6.50 or so (plus tax) when combined with the cost of general admission. OMNIMAX films can also be seen on their own for about $13. (Note: As of February, 2024, the OMNIMAX Theatre remains temporarily closed. Hopefully it will re-open soon.)
TIP: If you plan to visit Science World more than three times in a year, then consider getting a membership. They start at around $242 for a family of two adults and up to four children.
Where is Science World
Located at the eastern tip of False Creek, Science World is just a short walk from Vancouver’s Olympic Village in one direction and BC Place Stadium in the other. Its address is 1455 Quebec Street which is close to the corner of Main Street and Terminal Avenue (the latter of which turns into East 1st Avenue).
Science World is right on the False Creek Seawall and just a short walk from the Main Street-Science World SkyTrain Station.
What’s at Science World?
Throughout the day, Science World’s Family Centre Stage hosts live educational science shows. They are short and feature some kind of science topic, like gravity or energy. They are very visual presentations suitable for children and they often involve some amount of audience participation. The shows are highly recommended and, in our opinion, one of the best features of the attraction.
Galleries at Science World include one called BodyWorks that showcases interesting facts about the human body. It has models of people and various body parts.
Eureka is a popular and especially hands-on area that allows you to play with water, light, sound and motion. There is also a free theatre with educational science movies playing throughout the day, plus the OMNIMAX Theatre, which, at at five storeys high, is apparently the largest of its kind in the world (or at least it was as of a few years ago).
Science World usually runs a monthly After Dark event for those who are 19+. Opening the centre after normal closing time to adults only, there are food items, drinks and music on hand to provide a different experience. There is also usually the option to add an OMNIMAX Theatre movie to your ticket during these events, when the theatre re-opens.
OMNIMAX Theatre at Science World
OMNIMAX movies go for about 45 minutes each. They are beautifully filmed and cost an extra $6.50 or so (which for an IMAX film is reasonable).
Films shown in the OMNIMAX Theatre in the past have included Great Bear Rainforest, Apollo 11 and Superpower Dogs. The theatre is temporarily closed for the time being. It has been closed since the start of the pandemic actually. Hopefully it will be able to re-open before too much longer.
Galleries at Science World
Vancouver’s Science World has had a number of new features added over the last few years. This makes it extra interesting for people who’ve visited the place in the past. In the spring of 2017, for example, they opened the re-imagined BodyWorks Gallery, which at the time made the exhibit more up-to-date with new and refurbished exhibits.
Science World also opened a new and very popular exhibit for children ages 0 to 5 called the Wonder Gallery. It’s a 3,300 square-foot attraction where infants, toddlers, preschoolers and their adult caregivers can explore, experiment and learn through play.
In the Wonder Gallery there are six activity zones. In the Experiment area children can ask questions and search for answers. They can also conduct mini laboratory-style experiments and play in the Wonder Wheels vehicle of science.
Other zones in the Wonder Gallery include the Splash, Shine, Climb and Build areas where little ones get to play with a water tower and lights. They can also climb structures and build things with giant blue blocks. There is also a special enclosed Crawl area, designed for infants aged 0 to 18 months, where parents can relax and babies can safely crawl or just lie around.
Not so long ago, Science World also opened up a new area for tinkering which is fun for all ages. In the Tinkering Space there are blocks and other items to build things with.
JDream Tomorrow Today
Running until May 5th, 2024, the feature exhibition at Science World is Dream Tomorrow Today. This hands-on exhibition lets visitors explore and understand how STEAM is a driving force for a positive future.
For more information about Dream Tomorrow Today, check out the Science World website.
In the Area Around Science World
While in the area you might want to go for a stroll along the False Creek Seawall.
Facing Science World at the front, if you go left along the water (so on the side south of downtown Vancouver), you’ll quickly come to the Olympic Village. This area was home to the world athletes at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
Continue along the seawall heading west and you’ll discover a beautiful walk that leads you all the way to Granville Island. After the Olympic Village, though you might find the initial stretch a bit disappointing as it’s mostly just parking lots and construction to look at (or at least it still was the last time we went). Don’t turn back, though as further along the walk the scenery is quite beautiful.
Tips & Advice
Below is some information to help you make the most of your experience at Science World.
TIP #1: Science World is one of Vancouver’s best places to take children on a rainy day. It can get crowded, though so on especially miserable weekends go earlier in the morning rather than later.
TIP #2: Given that it’s a great place to visit year-round, consider getting a membership if you plan to go several times a year. Young kids can spend hours there, plus it’s educational!
TIP #3: There is free two-hour parking on the street if you don’t plan to stay long at Science World. Look on Quebec Street and around the corner on National Avenue near the Pacific Central Bus and Train Station. If no spots are available, then on-site parking isn’t too expensive (depending on what you’re used to).
TIP #4: You can get re-entry permission, so you can eat elsewhere if you want. There isn’t a lot to choose from in the area, but there is a Tim Hortons, Starbucks and McDonald’s all within a couple of blocks. If you want to eat on-site, your only option (beyond just popcorn and snacks) is the White Spot restaurant, which is really good if you like burgers. Further along the False Creek Seawall, in the middle of the Olympic Village, are the Tap & Barrel pub and Craft Beer Market.
For more information about Vancouver’s science centre, click Science World.
For ideas on other things to do in the Lower Mainland, check out any of the following:
- Vancouver’s Top 24 Attractions
- Vancouver’s Top 100 Attractions
- Rainy Day Activities
- Best Places for Children
- Vancouver’s Calendar of Events