Seasonal & Special Events

Darwin’s Birthday

February 13  1-4pm

Cranbrook Institute of Science is celebrating Charles Darwin’s Birthday! This event features a variety of hands-on activities centered around Darwin’s work. Be a biologist and classify species by their physical characteristics, see how the predator/prey relationship creates an evolutionary arms race with each trying to one-up the other, and learn how genes influence the lives of creatures large and small. Institute geologist and paleontologist John Zawiskie discusses Darwin’s On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection and how subsequent fossil record research has altered modern views on extinction and diversification. As icing on the birthday cake, the Institute will also have on display its rare first edition On the Origin of Species. Join us for this unique glimpse into the life of Darwin!  Darwin’s Birthday events are free with Museum admission.

The Acheson Planetarium will host a special showing of Natural Selection at 2:30pm to allow guests to witness the thrill of scientific discovery through Darwin’s eyes and see the pieces of the scientific puzzle fall into place. Tickets are $4 person for Members and $5 for the public in addition to Museum admission.  Children under 2 are $1.  

42nd Annual Maple Festival

Sunday, March 13, 2016
12:00 - 4:00pm

The Institute is excited to present a favorite rite of spring. All activities are open to the public. In addition to maple-themed snacks, guests are invited to learn about the science of maple syrup production, listen to the story of sugaring in Colonial North America and taste the pure sweetness of homemade maple candy. In addition to craft stations and hands-on table top activities, timed planetarium shows, story hour and a self-guided walk to the maple evaporator will also be available. Don’t forget to stop in the Science Shop during your visit to pick up featured Michigan made maple products to celebrate the day!

Program fees to participate in the Festival include:
General Admission
*Adults - $18
*Children - $15

Member Admission
*Adults - $15
*Children - $12

Note: Children apply to those 12 and under. Ages 2 and younger are free.

To register, please use our online form, call us at 248 645.3245, or stop in at the Visitor’s Service Desk during your next visit. 

For more information, please contact the Membership Office at 248 645.3245 or via email at

Featured Exhibit:  Bats: Superheroes of the Night

Inside activities include:

  • Craft Activities:  Butterfly Pinwheels and Flower Planting Activity
  • Tree Tapping 
  • Animal Prints
  • Natural Rock Art Activity (Presented by Science Shop, kit available for purchase)
  • Discovery Center – adult/child interaction
  • Native American Games 
  • Bat Zone touring with live animals on site
  • Voyage in Time guest presenter Jeff Vallender tells the story of sugaring in Colonial North America  
  • Cranbrook Schools Robotics Team demonstrations
  • Planetarium showings of Michigan Sky Tonight at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30pm.  (Tickets will be available at the Visitors Service Desk at check in and are included in the Festival fee)
  • Auditorium Presentation:  The Maple Sugaring Process at 12:45 and 2:45pm
  • Story Hour:  Origin of Maple Sugar in the Science Shop at 1:30 and 2:30pm
  • Maple Sugar Candy Making demonstrations at 1:00 and 3:00pm

Outside self-guided nature walks to the Sugarin’ Hut will be available all day.

Refreshments, featuring a Maple Snack Station, will be available in the West Entrance.

For more information, please contact the Membership Office at 248 645.3245 or via email at