Friday, August 3, 2018


I traveled to a galaxy far, far away for a fun Star Wars themed adventure with my kids by simply taking a drive down I-75 from our suburban home to the Cultural Center in downtown Detroit.  We had a stellar time participating in some Star Wars inspired activities at the Michigan Science Center. Then went across the street to tour the spectacular Star Wars and the Power of Costume exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts.  It was a wonderful afternoon in the D!

Our first stop was the Space Gallery of the Michigan Science Center. While there we enjoyed a private showing of the new planetarium presentation "Our Place in a Galaxy Far, Far Away" as part of a small audience that gave the science center's resident astronomer a practice audience before the public opening. The forty-five minute show took place within the science center's Dassault Systèmes Planetarium that has an impressive Digistar® II projection system that utilizes 13,000-watt Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound and a 50-foot-wide, three-story-high-dome.


This live tour of outer space compares our solar system and galaxy to those far, far away. With nods to Star Wars, during the presentation you'll learn the real meaning of a parsec, what an asteroid belt looks like and get a glimpse of a real moon of Saturn called Mimas that resembles the Death Star. My son and daughter were impressed so don't miss out on seeing "Our Place in a Galaxy Far, Far Away" if you visit the Michigan Science Center while it is showing.

After enjoying the planetarium experience, the kids spent some time learning about how telescopes work and can help you stargaze.  We also checked out an original Apollo training capsule on display. I remember gazing into the opening of that same spacecraft with curiosity being the same age my kids are now when visiting the science center during my own childhood.

rocketship capsule
Space Gallery

The kids were really enthusiastic about taking in the science center's "Science of Star Wars" stage show. Science experiment style skits show how sci-fi sound effects like blaster shots are created and demonstrate how lasers work.  They even do a mock up of how a light saber might work!

Michigan Science Center Stage Show

Before heading out, we had some fun interacting with some of the more than 250 hands-on exhibits at the Michigan Science Center.  These are great for sparking kids imagination and interest when it comes to STEM (science, technology, engineering & math). Also check out the Spark!Lab area which is hosted in partnership with the Smithsonian. While the Star Wars exhibit is on display at the DIA, Spark!Lab will be providing activities that tie-in to films. Kids can visualize an alien they think would live on a world like Hoth, build a real world droid, as well as design and test a space craft to see if it can do the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. Lots of fun Star Wars themed stuff to do that is entertaining and educational at the science center in Detroit's midtown neighborhood.

hands on exhibits

Speaking of the Star Wars exhibit at the Detroit Institute of Arts. That was our next stop. We walked across John R to see Star Wars and the Power of Costume at the DIA. This special exhibit will be on display until September 30, 2018.

Star Wars exhibit

Star Wars exhibit
My son and daughter has been asking to go see this exhibition and I surprised them with this visit. To say they were excited is an understatement!  Star Wars and the Power of Costume features authentic concept art that contributed to creating the look of the movies and screen-worn costumes used in the films.  No reproductions here … all original items on display in this exhibit. It is a fantastic opportunity to have the chance to be able to get close up looks at 60 costumes and more than 150 sketches used in creating the Star Wars motion pictures.

A nice aspect of the exhibit is everyone is given a hand-held electronic tour guide.  There are two audio-visual tours to choose from.  An adult version and a kids version.  The adult tour incorporates how the costumes on display were inspired by various art and historical influences and highlights noteworthy examples that are included within the DIA's permanent collection of artwork and artifacts.  The kids version has a Jedi Training storyline and focuses on pop culture references and Star Wars trivia.  My kids thoroughly enjoyed their audio-visual tour. In fact, noticing they were so tuned into it as we toured the exhibit, I switched over to it too. These electronic aides were very well done and really compliment the experience of walking through all this memorabilia.

star wars exhibit audio visual tour

You are going to roar like a Wookiee in excitement when visiting Star Wars and the Power of Costume at the DIA.  Whether you are a Star Wars fan or not, the intricacy and craftmanship of these costumes along with the artistic talent put into the sketches and drawings are sure to impress.  For more detailed overview of the exhibit, take a look at my review from the media preview day I attended earlier in the summer.


We had a blast during our downtown Detroit Star Wars adventure! Don't be a couch potato! Get up and head over to the Michigan Science Center and Detroit Institute of Arts for some Star Wars fun! For more info on planning your visits, go to and

Michigan Science Center


  1. This looks like quite the trip! Almost makes me want to make the drive out to see it, but my Star Wars Fan is a little young to fully appreciate it.

  2. Sounds like a very fun Star Wars-themed day! I have never been to the Michigan Science Center but I've heard it's great. I've been wanting to check out the Star Wars DIA exhibit so hopefully I'll do that at some point.

  3. Sounds and looks like you and your family had a great time. We were talking about going down town to see this but I recently broke my ankle and have to keep it elevated. So it wont be happening for me this time. I'm pretty bummed. I love your photos! So much fun.

  4. My youngest son would absolutely enjoy this. He loves science, both fiction and non-fiction. Dressing up in the space suit would excite him the most.

  5. Oh man, each person having their own electronic tour guide would save the day in our family. My kids have reached the age where they just fight for the fun of it and it would ruin a great family trip like this.

  6. I am so jealous of all the cool, science-based places you take your kids! As a child I would have loved to be taken to museums and exhibits. I'm a huge sci-fi nerd as well, so I honestly wouldn't mind popping over to these locations now.

  7. I'm not a huge fan of Star Wars fan, however I think this would still be fun to attend. The rest of my family would get more out of it than me. I think when you're able to make museums fun, they are easier to remember and make memories with.