Learn more about Thinkery’s mission, vision, and core values.
We’re a STEAM engine to power kids’ imagination, creativity, and love of learning.
Thinkery is where Austin’s children and their families come to enjoy play-based, inquiry-rich, hands-on learning experiences. Thinkery offers 40,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor activities designed to let children and families learn through play.
Through a variety of hands-on, interactive STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) exhibits and programs, Thinkery encourages physical, emotional and cognitive development for young learners and fosters joyful curiosity for all ages. Our target ages are newborns through eleven years old, but our interactive experiences are designed to engage learners of all ages!
Thinkery strives to be an inclusive, friendly, inspiring space to learn for our entire community, regardless of income, mental/physical abilities, ethnicity, nationality, race, sexual orientation, gender expression/identity or family status.
To create innovative learning experiences that equip and inspire the next generation of creative problem solvers.
A creative community with a passion for lifelong learning and discovery.
Our Key Values
We will be INCLUSIVE by making every facet relevant and accessible to all.
We will promote EXCELLENCE as a dynamic standard for which we serve at the very best of our ability.
We will amplify RESPECT by treating people with honor and dignity.
We will spark INNOVATION by embracing risk and seeing failure as lessons learned.
We will encourage PLAYFULNESS with the confidence to let go and enjoy.
We will foster COOPERATION by working together to form a collaborative best.
We will unleash CREATIVITY by exploring the path between what is and what can be imagined.
Learn more about the leadership team behind Thinkery’s educational programs and mission-focused work throughout our community. MORE
In 1983, a group of Austin parents and educators created a space to provide innovative new educational and cultural opportunities to local children. Over the next three decades, the Austin Children’s Museum would grow and evolve into Thinkery. LEARN MORE
As a nonprofit organization, Thinkery’s mission relies on the generous support of Members, businesses, and people like YOU. By providing accessible experiences to underserved and underrepresented audiences, Thinkery broadens its ability to equip and inspire children throughout Central Texas. LEARN MORE
What we do
Joyful learning through STEAM-driven play.
Thinkery is where Austin’s children and their families come to enjoy play-based, inquiry-rich, hands-on learning experiences.
We believe that innovative, play-based, STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math) learning experiences are a powerful way for children to develop problem-solving skills, critical thinking, and curiosity about the world around them. Our exhibits and programs encourage children—alongside their caregivers—to solve creative challenges, explore a variety of materials, and to develop new ways to complete unfamiliar projects. Through these activities, children gain the tools and confidence to develop and grow into enthusiastic, creative, lifelong STEAM learners and thinkers.
recognize that Thinkery is a part of a larger learning ecosystem
including schools, home, and the local community. We understand that
people learn best when those different elements are connected and
support each other. Thinkery serves as a center for parent-to-parent
connection, community engagement, and supportive caregiver networking.
We also partner with other Austin-area nonprofits, businesses, schools
and community organizations to share innovative learning experiences
- Playing is learning.
- Learning is a joyful, fun and lifelong endeavor.
- Children deserve stimulating, sophisticated, well-designed spaces and experiences.
- Children learn best alongside caring, responsive adults.
- Engagement and collaboration with our community are vital to our success.
- We must always approach learning in new and innovative ways.
- We are a community space where people connect, conversations spark, and ideas grow.
How We Do It
Play with a Purpose!
Children learn through play – whether it’s a child-led exploration of the connections between water and sound in Currents; alongside an adult directing your own Stop Motion Animation Station movie in Innovators’ Workshop, an exploration of sensations in Kitchen Lab; experimentation with movement in a Move Studio obstacle course; diving into imaginary worlds during Storytime; or testing out an idea with new materials making your own cardboard creation in a Spark Shop making activity. Play helps develop the ability to imagine, perceive, reason, and problem solve while building a foundation for a lifetime of learning.
Build STEAM Knowledge
Children begin developing an understanding of STEAM concepts as infants. To support this, Thinkery provides fun, engaging, high-quality STEAM experiences that cut across subject areas and set the stage for how they approach learning into adulthood. Thinkery children explore cause and effect with electricity and switches during a Scribble Bot Birthday Party, play with patterns manipulating colors in Light Lab, test structure and purpose designing a catapult in Camp, and investigate size and purpose of tiny structures at Micro Eye.
While all children are born with an innate sense of curiosity about the world around them, they need adults to foster, guide and amplify their interests in STEAM. By providing opportunities for parents and caregivers to share in joyful, positive STEAM learning experiences and to see themselves as essential parts of their child’s early learning, we set children up for future success.
Nurturing scientific thinking is essential for developing curious, creative and bold lifelong STEAM learners and thinkers. Thinkery uses the process of inquiry to promote scientific reasoning. We “hand the reins” to children and adults to explore what they find curious–which leads to asking questions, making discoveries, and testing those discoveries in the search for new understanding.
We believe the principles of inquiry and lifelong learning are equally important for our visitors and for ourselves as an organization. Thinkery approaches exhibit and educational program design as an evolving process. We believe our exhibits and educational programs can be expanded and improved: we involve a diverse staff, our visitors and our community to continually enhance our learning experiences.
Promote Positive Adult-Child Relationships
Thinkery supports adults in the vital work of parenting and caregiving. Adult engagement within a free-choice learning environment is necessarily diverse and multi-faceted. Thinkery provides multiple entry points for adult engagement, integrating opportunities for grown-ups to observe – a child create a masterpiece at Paint Wall, facilitate – an improvement on a co-designed bridge at Build Landscape, and collaborate with – creating a temporal “family portrait” in Frozen Shadows.
In partnership with The University of Texas at Austin and local community organizations, we increase parent/caregiver understanding of early childhood development, children’s scientific reasoning and research-based parenting strategies to enhance parent-child bonding and family well-being.
Thinkery is firmly committed to your privacy. We do not collect personally identifying information about you when you visit our website, unless you choose to provide such information to us. Providing such information is strictly voluntary. This policy is your guide to how we will handle information we learn about you from your visit to our website and museum.
Use of Links
Within our website, we may provide links to other servers which may contain information of interest to our readers. We take no responsibility for, and exercise no control over, the organizations, views, or accuracy of the information contained on other servers. Creating a text link from your website to our site does not require permission.
Use of Text and Images
If you would like to publish information that you find on our website, please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org. Where text or images are posted on our site with the permission of the original copyright holder, a copyright statement appears at the bottom of the page.
This website is designed to be accessible to visitors with disabilities, and to comply with federal guidelines concerning accessibility. We welcome your comments. If you have suggestions on how to make the site more accessible, please contact us at email@example.com.
Reading or Downloading
We collect and store only the following information about you: the name of the domain from which you access the internet, the date and time you access our site, and the Internet address of the website from which you linked to our site. This is all information obtained from Google Analytics. We use the information we collect to measure the number of visitors to the different sections of our site and to help us make our site more useful to visitors.
Contact Information and Donations
If you complete the online profile update form and share your personally identifying information, this information will be used only to provide you with more targeted content. We may use your contact information to send further information about our organization or to contact you when necessary. You may always opt-out of receiving future mailings—see the “Opt Out” section below.
In supporting Thinkery—whether through donations or membership—we will ask that you provide personal information to us, including name, address, email, and phone number. This information will be used to correspond with you regarding your support. We will never sell your personal information. We will occasionally share Member information, specifically names and addresses (we will never share your giving history, phone number or email address) with like-minded nonprofit organizations in Austin. To request that your name and address not be shared, please send an email request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sending us an Email
You also may decide to send us personally identifying information, for example, in an electronic mail message containing a question or comment, or by filling out a Web form that provides us this information. We use personally identifying information from email primarily to respond to your requests. We may forward your email to other employees who are better able to answer your questions. We may also use your email to contact you in the future about our programs that may be of interest.
We will not obtain personally identifying information about you when you visit our site unless you choose to provide such information to us. Providing such information is strictly voluntary. Except as might be required by law, we do not share any information we receive with any outside parties.
If you sign up for one of our email lists, we will only send you the types of information you have requested. We won’t share your name or email address with any outside parties.
Opt-Out or Change Your Contact Information
You may choose to receive only specific communications (such as our newsletter) or none at all. You may also update your contact information previously provided to us through another online form. You cannot remove yourself from our database, but you can prevent unwanted communication.
To request that your name and address not be shared, please send an email request to email@example.com.
Photography and filming are conducted by Thinkery for marketing and educational purposes. Entering the museum and/or purchase of an admission or program ticket constitutes your consent for Thinkery and our programming partners to use any photos, images or film it deems appropriate without payment, inspection or review.
All rights to the photographs and video belong to the museum. If you want a photograph or video removed of yourself or dependents on any of our web channels, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feel free to take photos and post about your visit. We love seeing and sharing (with permission) visitor photos on our social media channels—when posting your photos, add the hashtag #ThinkeryATX so we can see them, too! When photographing more than just your group, please be considerate and respectful of other visitors’ privacy.
If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with this website, you can contact us at email@example.com.
Thinkery is funded through a combination of philanthropic gifts and earned income. Additionally, the museum is supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department. Visit Austin at NowPlayingAustin.com.
Plan your next trip to Thinkery
Get all the details you’ll need before visiting the museum and review Thinkery’s health and safety policies.