Illumination Frequently Asked Questions

When is Illumination?

On Friday and Saturday evenings from November 29 through December 28. Illumination festivities will take place between 5 and 10 p.m.


Who is Illumination for?

Everyone! Visitors of all ages will love seeing the Science Museum they know in a whole new “light!” At Illumination, you’ll find all your Science Museum favorites – the dinosaurs, the towboat, the giant astronaut, the Sportsology exhibit, and more – along with its newest features, including BODY WORLDS Rx, SMM’s Science Superheroes, and our life-sized T. rex puppet. In addition, you’ll find light-based interactive art installations, a large-scale video game that you can play using your phone as a controller, shadow puppet play, an opportunity to help build a city of light, and much more. 


Why did you create this event?

To brighten up the darkest time of year with science! We kicked off the Illumination tradition in 2017, and it’s been evolving according to visitor, staff, and volunteer feedback. Our goal each year is to create an unforgettable, feel-good experience that people want to return to year after year. 


I attended Illumination last year. What’s different about this year’s event? What’s the same?

The museum will still be transformed by dramatic lighting, and this year, that lighting extends to the exterior!

This year, you’ll find different hubs of light-themed experiences – colorful, interactive light and décor in the lobby on level; giant shadow puppet play and a supersized video game on level 4; a “city of light” that you can help build on level 3, and more.

And while you’ll still find volunteers stationed around the museum with select light-themed, hands-on activities, our focus this year is on large-scale experiences that many visitors can experience at once.

And like last year, Java Lab and Chomp will be open for snacks and full meal options, and you’ll find cash bars on every level. All the ingredients will be there for a memorable night at the museum!

Are food and drink permitted?

Yes! In fact, the museum’s own Java Lab and Chomp will be open during Illumination, so you can make a snack or a meal stop, and even enjoy some light-themed food and beverages. In addition, cash bars will be located on each level, so you can grab a cocktail (or an electric lemonade for the kids) and explore the museum!

How long will a visit to Illumination take?

All of the exhibit galleries will be open to explore, and there will be additional activities and experiences, cash bars, and more. Plus, you can add Superpower Dogs in the new, all-digital Omnitheater. Make it a night at the museum!

How much does Illumination cost?

Illumination is included with museum admission – and it’s FREE for Science Museum members!

Is photography permitted?

Yes! Not only is it permitted – it’s highly encouraged! There will be photo ops around every corner – from 15 foot-tall glowing ice shard sculptures to colorful shadow play. We’d love to see your Illumination adventures; tag us at @sciencemuseummn or use #shareyourdiscovery!

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