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When the Science Mill offered to host our family for an afternoon of STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fun, I couldn’t resist. A scenic day trip to the Texas Hill Country and Johnson City, where the Science Mill is located, was exactly what our family needed to reconnect and remember the fun we have when we’re all together. I’ll take any opportunity I can find to get my kids off of their screens and into the real-world for some hands-on experiments that open their eyes to everything around them. This post is sponsored by the Hill Country Science Mill but all opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands and initiatives that support San Antonio Mom Blogs!
When you’re searching for family fun during the holidays, look no further than a short, scenic trip up 281 North to The Hill Country Science Mill. In addition to the Science Mill’s cool design (much of this fun and funky science museum used to be a grist mill and cotton gin) and more than 40 fascinating hands-on STEM exhibits (science, technology, math, and engineering) for all ages, a variety of art installations, and a 3D movie, the Science Mill rings in the holidays this year with:
- special holiday hours.
- exciting holiday activities.
- a brand-new Science and Art Park.
If you haven’t visited the Science Mill yet, San Antonio Mom Blogs’ contributor Melanie Mendez-Gonzalez wrote a great overview of what the Science Mill offers families. Start with her Hill Country Science Mill review and check out the video from my family’s recent visit. Then come back here to learn all about the holiday fun the Science Mill created for you and your family this year!
Spend family time this holiday season at The Hill Country Science Mill
With the holidays coming up, families are looking for unique ways to have fun, get out of the house, and see and experience something new and different together. The Hill Country Science Mill is the perfect addition to your holiday plans.
Starting with Thanksgiving week, the Science Mill offers the following special holiday hours this year:
Monday, November 21: 10am-5pm
Tuesday, November 22: 10am-5pm
Wednesday, November 23: 10am-5pm
Thursday, November 24: CLOSED for Thanksgiving Day
Friday, November 25: 10am-6pm + Bling Bar
Saturday, November 26: 10am-6pm + Bling Bar
Sunday, November 27: noon-5pm
Monday, December 19 – Friday, December 23: 10am – 5pm
Monday, December 26 – Friday, December 30: 10am-5pm
Sunday, December 31: 10am – 3pm
Monday, January 2 – Friday, January 6: 10am – 4pm
Exciting holiday activities at The Hill Country Science Mill
When you visit the Hill Country Science Mill during Thanksgiving weekend, you’ll get two bonuses: The Bling Bar and the Johnson Lights Spectacular!
The Bling Bar, a special exhibit offered on the Friday and Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, encourages kids and parents to make LED jewelry as gifts for teachers, family members, and friends. There’s a small, $5 fee per person to cover materials for the Bling Bar (in addition to regular admission), but you’ll walk away with two battery-powered, handmade gifts to take home.
Also taking place on Thanksgiving weekend in the town surrounding The Science Mill is the festive kick off to Johnson City Lights Spectacular! With celebratory holiday lights decorating this small town from the Friday after Thanksgiving to January 1, this kick off weekend, which starts at 5:30 p.m., includes the lighting of the Blanco County Courthouse, the Pedernales Electric Co-op headquarters, Johnson City Memorial Park, and various businesses and homes throughout Johnson City. The Friday, November 25, lighting kick off features Christmas carols, a visit from Santa, and fireworks. And, on Saturday, November 26, enjoy a holiday night parade, and a visit from Santa.
The holiday evenings after the after the kickoff (especially those on the weekends) feature holiday food booths, live music, entertainment, arts and crafts, shopping, and during the first two weekends in December, the Blanco County Living Nativity Christmas pageant every half hour on Friday and Saturday nights beginning at 6:30 pm.
The Hill Country Science Mill’s brand-new Art and Science Park
In August, the Science Mill began creating a beautiful backyard area featuring five outdoor interactive exhibits. This new Art and Science Park will be completed in phases through December 1 but many of the exhibits will be open and available to see during the Thanksgiving break. This lushly landscaped backyard overlooks the Pedernales River, and brings to life:
- a 20-foot tall giant wave pendulum visitors can control with a button.
- a 30-foot tall stainless steel arm and hand sculpture which visitors can control using a series of levers, and pulleys to perform sign language.
- a fossil dig area for little visitors.
- a redesign of the Science Mill’s popular Leonardo kinetic sculpture, which will now allow visitors to go inside the sculpture to view, firsthand, its inner workings as it propels balls throughout the sculpture.
- a habitat for a giant African Spurred tortoise which will allow visitors the use of a virtual reality headset to view inside the habitat. The ground will be heated for the tortoise (to a balmy 70-75 degrees). And, there will be opportunities to feed the tortoise.
Make a day trip to the Hill Country Science Mill part of your holiday celebrations
The Hill Country Science Mill is just an hour north of San Antonio, although the drive feels shorter when you immerse yourself in the views of rolling hills, cows out to pasture, and natural countryside.
Plan to enjoy the Science Mill during the day and stay for the incredible light shows and holiday activities in Johnson City. And, don’t worry about packing lunches or snacks for your visit. The Lady Bird Lane Cafe, onsite at the Science Mill, offers organic and all-natural products made from scratch, including soups, salads, sandwiches, flat breads, small bites, and desserts. You can enter the cafe from the street or from inside the Science Mill. It’s conveniently located next to the area for Scientists Under Three so you can grab a snack while your littlest scientists experiment nearby. Please note: The Lady Bird Lane Cafe will be closed November 21 and December 19 and 26 but The Science Mill will still be open on these dates.
Perfect for a quick holiday road trip, the Hill Country Science Mill offers something for everyone in the family.
Admission is free for children under 3, $8.50 for ages 2-18 and students, $10.00 for adults, and $8.00 for Seniors (65+) and Military. For more information, please visit:
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