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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. When is the Lab Open?

The Lab is open every weekend and most school holidays for timed-entry sessions at a limited capacity. Timed entry sessions are 10:00am - 12:00pm, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, and 3:30pm - 5:30pm. We strongly encourage you to purchase your tickets in advance. You will also save $2 per ticket when you purchase online! Tickets will be available on the Wednesday two weeks before your chosen weekend. We have developed a reopening plan that is guided by recommendations from public health officials and from the best practices of museums throughout the country. If you have a specific question, please leave us a message and someone will return your call within 1 business day. For the quickest response, please email us at

2. Is the Lab closed on holidays?

Fair Oaks Mall and the Children’s Science Center are closed for Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. We are open New Year’s Day! We will not be offering any programs, virtual or in-person, for those days.

3. What kinds of payment do you accept?

We accept all major credit cards, cash, or local checks. All fees are non-refundable; 6% Virginia sales tax is not included, as we are a not-for-profit organization.

4. My child is under 2. What is the cost for them?

There is no charge for children under the age of 2 to visit the Children’s Science Center Lab.

5. My child is 10. Can I drop him off?

Children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult or care giver aged 16+. Youth aged 13 -17 may be admitted without an adult.

6. I don't have children but would like to visit. When can I?

Adults (18+) unaccompanied by children will be admitted only with a pre-arranged appointment for a staff-escorted tour.  Please continue to check the website and/or newsletter for upcoming “Grown-up” events.

7. Do you allow re-entry into the Lab?

Re-entry is no longer permitted during the timed-entry sessions due to increased health and safety protocols.

8. My child doesn't like crowds. What is the best time to visit?

Weekends are open to guests at a reduced capacity through two hour, timed-entry sessions, which run from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm, 1:00pm - 3:00pm, and 3:30pm - 5:30pm each day. All timed entry sessions are capped at 100 people per session, which is a lot quieter than our pre-pandemic weekends! You can also always call ahead to see if a time slot has filled up or if there are more slots available.

9. Do you allow outside food into the Lab?

The Children’s Science Center does not allow outside food into the Lab. Food is included during some camps and special events, but it is not allowed in the other galleries. Fair Oaks Mall offers a variety of restaurants and specialty foods throughout the mall. Please see the mall directory located throughout the mall.

Note: While we promote a nut-free facility, we cannot guarantee that our facility and displays have not been in contact with allergens.  Although the entire facility is professionally cleaned on a daily basis, our customers may bring in food from home or use vendors for parties that may have cross-contaminants or food produced with peanut oil and you should exercise appropriate caution if you have severe allergies.

10. Do you have strollers available?

We do not have strollers available to rent at this time, but we do have a Stroller Parking area within the Lab.

11. Where are the nearest restrooms?

We have two restrooms with changing tables inside the Lab and there are mall restrooms immediately outside the entrance of the Lab to the right. In addition, there are restrooms at the following locations: Lower Level by the Management/Security Offices, Lower Level Macy’s I/Hour Eyes wing and Lower Level West wing. Family restrooms are located Lower Level by the Management/Security Offices and Lower Level Macy’s I/Hour Eyes wing. Changing tables are available in both men’s and women’s restrooms in our facility and in Fair Oaks Mall. A nursing mother’s room is also available in the mall (please contact a Lab team member for more information).

12. Where is the Lost and Found?

Please report any lost or found item to our staff. If you have left something behind at the Lab, call the Lab and we will try to get it back to you. Lost and Found items will be discarded or donated after 90 days. Items lost in the mall are held in the Security Office located near Macy’s II next to the Management Office.

13. Are pets allowed in the Lab?

Only service dogs are allowed in the Fair Oaks Mall. Pets are not permitted in the mall or the Lab.

14. Are cameras or video cameras allowed?

Cameras and video cameras are permitted, as long as the footage is for personal use.

15. What if I need First Aid?

Inform the nearest Lab team member if you require first aid. We have a first aid kit on site.

16. Do you have locker facilities available?

We do not have locker facilities available at this time.

17. Do you have birthday parties?

Yes, we do! Weekend timed-entry sessions are available to reserve for private birthday parties. We can also bring the party to your location. Check out our Birthday page for more details.

18. Do you have sleepovers?

Sorry, Fair Oaks Mall closes at night so we do not offer sleepovers.

19. What is the cost of parking?

Parking is free at Fair Oaks Mall. With close to 8,000 easily accessed parking spaces, Fair Oaks Mall has a lot of parking–close to mall entrances on lower and upper levels, and in various parking decks. The mall is in the middle of a circle and parking in and around the ring road is plentiful.

20. Do you have memberships or reciprocal memberships?

Yes, you can become a member of the Children’s Science Center Lab.  Learn more about the benefits our members enjoy including unlimited admission to the Lab for one year and access to Member-Only Lab hours.

21. How can I donate to Children's Science Center?

Thank you for wanting to support the Children’s Science Center. As a 501(c)(3) organization, we depend on the charitable gifts from individuals, businesses, foundations, and community organizations to help us advance our mission to inspire a love of learning STEM by providing unique opportunities to explore and create. Learn more about giving opportunities.

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