The goal of the Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City, Texas, it to involve children in the importance and daily applications of science and technology in their lives. A kid’s museum established in a renovated 1880 gristmill, efforts to make unanimous light bulbs come on in the minds of children participating and learning from interactive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) exhibits is not lofty, but so imaginative and creative, and right within reach.
Here in the Texas Hill Country, the repurposing of a once-useful facility for its day and time into such a far more useful and beneficial platform from which to stimulate the minds of our youth is a wondrous achievement. Not unlike this impressive undertaking that Bonnie Baskin (former CEO of two biotech companies) sought to complete, the setting in which it finds itself has also transformed with the times and made itself equally as suitable for such growth and optimism. Johnson City is not only the hometown of former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson and family, but it also holds the world’s largest cyanotype (sun print) picture! Not only that but it features a thriving art community, a brewing company, an eclectic coffee shop – ultimately striking an effective balance between positive economic growth and small-town Texas roots.
The use of new design elements in contrast to the old mill structure on the Hill Country Science Mill is immediately striking. With over 35 exhibits that the entire family can have fun with and learn from, you can easily spend a full day at the museum. Upon entering the facility, visitors can create their own avatar that travels with them through each exhibit. It can be custom-designed (partially) and at each exhibit, your specific avatar can explain more about each component and display! All signage is bilingual (English and Spanish) and there’s even a toddler area designed specifically for the littler family members to experience and play in. The facility also features a farm-to-table restaurant called Lady Bird Lane Café (in honor of the former First Lady) and an outdoor picnic area if you choose to pack your family’s lunch.
After a trip to the museum, children and families are invited to log into the museum’s Explorer Zone using their original avatars and continuing the learning experience through educational and interactive games and further exhibit details! Check out the Hill Country Science Mill’s website for more details, or better yet, take a trip out to Johnson City. The museum is open from Wednesday to Sunday with varying hours, and admission rates for all age groups are $10 or less, with children under 3 getting in for free.