The Academy of Science of Saint Louis was founded in 1856, as the first scientific organization west of the Mississippi River. The Academy founded the Museum of Science and Natural History in 1959 and moved to Clayton’s Oak Knoll Park.
The museum outgrew these facilities in the mid-1980s. In 1984, the museum acquired McDonnell Planetarium (below)from the City of St. Louis. After a $3.2 million renovation, the building reopened July 20, 1985 as the St. Louis Science Center.
Following a $34 million expansion to construct the current main building, the Saint Louis Science Center opened November 2, 1991. On February 8, 1997, the Science Center added the Exploradome (interior below), an air-supported building just west of the Oakland Avenue building, in order to provide additional space for large traveling exhibitions, to better accommodate school groups, and to have space available for facility rentals and community activities.