Last weekend, our Content Manager, Heidi, took her family to the Grand Opening of the Science Mill. She and the kids were so impressed with this cool new, museum and all of the amazing hands-on science activities it offers. Read all about it & check out her photos from the visit…


Entrance to Hill Country Science Mill

The Science Mill is a beautiful, new science center housed in a renovated 1880′s grist mill in Johnson City (about an hour from Austin). It’s full of so many wonderful hands-on learning stations and exhibits sourced from all over the world. It also includes a 3D movie theater, cafe, and pretty outdoor grounds to explore.

When we first arrived on opening day, the science center was bustling with energy, excitement and lots of people. When we checked in, we were invited to head to a computer station with a passport card in hand to create our own robot avatars. As you travel through the museum you can swipe your passport card at different kiosks to learn more about each exhibit as you go. At the end of your museum visit you can return to the computer stations and take a photo with your avatar. (My five year old, especially, loved this feature.)


Making an avatar

Photo with avatar at the end of visit

Photo with avatar at the end of visit

The kids loved the exhibits within the old silos: The Story of Water feels like you are stepping into a real cave, the Cell Phone Disco allows you to light up a huge wall by texting or making a phone call, and my children would have spent hours in the The Fractalarium, marveling over the beauty, lights and music.

Cell Phone Disco

Cell Phone Disco



The Story of Water


The Fractalarium


Looking into mirrored table at The Fractalarium


There are also many “maker stations” in the museum for hands-on science exploration. My boys loved playing the banana piano, creating race cars, playing with “critter bots” where they could command the movements of a robotic armadillo and longhorn.  My youngest loved “dig in”, an exhibit where he could play with sand to form mountains, rivers, and lakes. The boys also liked experimenting with wind to make sailboats go and exploring the virtual human body at a tabletop, touch screen display.







The outdoor area includes an impressive kinetic sculpture that the kids were fascinated with. And we loved the playing a giant game of tug-of-war.



It’s hard to fully express quite how much is offered at the Science Mill. We spent about 3 hours there, and we feel like we didn’t get to see and do all we wanted to. I guess that just means we’ll need to plan a trip back very soon!

— Hours & Admission:

  • Regular museum hours are Wednesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Sunday 12-4 p.m.
  • Admission is free for children under 2, $8.50 for ages 2-18 and students, $10 for adults, $8 for Seniors (65+) and Military.

The Science Mill offers field trips and homeschool classes, birthday parties and summer camps, too. For more information about the Science Mill, including directions from Austin, please visit their website.