You don’t need to be a scientist to enter, but you’ll feel like one when you leave!

Gear up with a lab coat, gloves, and goggles and travel through experiment stations that get you up close and personal with cellular biology (available in both English and Spanish)!

This hands-on exhibit is $3 for current members and an additional $5 per person for non-members with the purchase of general admission to The Health Museum. Your Cell Lab admission ticket permits access up to 3 of the 7 lab stations per visit.

Named after the respected and accomplished cardiovascular surgeon and medical pioneer, Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, this interactive bilingual lab experience is designed to make biology-based science experiments accessible to the public and inspire future scientists and science-lab leaders in the medical field.

Lab Hours & Pricing






11 AM - 2 PM


11 AM - 7 PM


11 AM - 2 PM


11 AM - 5 PM


1 PM - 5 PM

The Health Museum closes at 3 PM on Christmas Day and on New Year's Eve

Admission Prices


$3 per person


$5 per person

Because of the presence of chemicals, glassware, and bacteria all guests ages 13 and under must be accompanied by an adult. It is also required that all guests be ages 7 and above in order to participate in The DeBakey Cell Lab.

Lab Experiments

DNA Extraction

Isolate and spool DNA from raw wheat germ.
This experiment takes about 15-20 minutes.

Blood Typing

See how blood type is determined using synthetic blood.
This experiment takes about 15 minutes.

Cheek Cells

(Unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions)

Find, stain, and examine cheek cells from inside your own mouth.
This experiment takes about 15-20 minutes.

Checking Hematocrit

Use real blood to determine the percentage of red blood cells in two different samples.
This experiment takes about 15-20 minutes.

Looking at Blood Cells

Use staining techniques to view what blood looks like under a microscope.
This experiment takes about 15-20 minutes.

Testing Antimicrobial Agents

See which antimicrobial agents kill microbes.
This experiment takes about 20-25 minutes.

Enzymes in Saliva

(Unavailable due to COVID-19 precautions)

See how your saliva breaks down food.
This experiment takes about 15-20 minutess.

Mystery Microbes

Identify living bacteria cultures using chemical tests, stains, and a microscope.
This experiment takes about 30-45 minutes.

Giant Chromosomes

Look at giant chromosomes from fruit flies.
This experiment takes about 25-35 minutes.

Field Trips

Students suit up like a real scientist and get up close and personal with cellular biology.

Discovery Camps

Isolate DNA from wheat germ, test microbial agents, extract and view chromosomes from real fruit flies, and more!

Birthday Parties

Get private access and party like a CELLebrity in The Health Museum’s newest permanent exhibit!


Hands-on, scientific fun for your next group outing!

DeBakey Cell Lab Media Inquiries

For media inquiries, contact

Sidebar Boxes
  • Members FREE
  • Children under 3 FREE
  • Children (ages 3-12) $8
  • Adults $10
  • Seniors (65+) $8

DeBakey Cell Lab

Not a member?

A membership at The Health Museum provides you access to a real body of knowledge that includes interactive and educational experiences for the whole family!


Supported by:

The DeBakey Medical Foundation
George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation


Members get your first visit FREE, and SMITHSONIAN FAMILY MAX members get an unlimited pass for one full year!

Other Exhibits


Living Icons is a photo exhibit that features hundreds of Houston-area COVID-19 victims. Created by artist Joni Zavitsanos, the art installation memorializes those who have died as a result of the pandemic and gives us a glimpse of the human impact of this health crisis.


Beautiful Minds: Dyslexia and the Creative Advantage explores the successes of those who think and thought outside the box when faced with the challenges of dyslexia and learn about some of the tools and resources for diagnosis and pathways to success. A unique portion of the exhibit also reflects each community that it travels to, by featuring local students and artists.


Arizona State University student and photographer Devin Mitchell created the Veteran Vision Project to capture the diversity of veterans and their experiences.


Breathe in. Breathe out. Air pollutants are substances in the air that can have a negative effect on our health. Your Body, Your Air explores four common types of air pollutants and their sources in the Houston area, as well as the effect these pollutants have on our bodies and our communities.

Together we can work towards healthier air, healthier bodies, and healthier communities.