Science centers offer big fun and lots of learning

Science centers can be found in or near almost every US city. Many offer interactive exhibits where visitors don’t just look, they do. The newest ones put you into the exhibit itself. Here’s a sample of what’s out there.

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
Raleigh, North Carolina

With more than a million specimens of present and ancient life, this museum houses the world’s only fully restored skeleton of the predator Acrocanthosaurus (“the terror of the south”), as well as the first dinosaur ever found with a fossilized heart and four whale skeletons.

Creative Discovery Museum
Chattanooga, Tennessee

This museum offers a series of changing exhibits for children. Recent and current exhibits include dioramas focusing on Creatures of Habitat, Getting Into Shapes and Tinkering With Technology.

Liberty Science Center
Liberty State Park, Jersey City, New Jersey

“Science equals fun” is a central idea at this museum. Its signature exhibit is a 41 1/2-foot, 700-pound geodesic sphere that unfolds to 18 feet, then shrinks back.

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
Portland, Oregon

Children, with chaperons, enjoy overnight “Camp-ins,” an idea that has taken hold in a number of science museums. Guests take a simulated deep-sea dive in a submersible sphere or tour a Navy sub.

Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium
Tucson, Arizona

Flandrau features a first-class collection of rocks and minerals and a spectacular multimedia sky show that combines high-tech entertainment and learning.

Discovery Park
Safford, Arizona

A gem of a science center, mostly outdoors, that showcases all that is beautiful about the nature and science of southern Arizona. Its 123 acres contain an unusual variety of desert environments. Also, a space shuttle takes small groups on a simulated journey through the solar system.

Exploration Place
Wichita, Kansas

Unusual experiences that combine learning and recreation. In the “CyberDome” the audience controls virtual journeys to Mars, inside the human body and into Earth. In another theater, dodge incoming asteroids.

Milwaukee Public Museum Butterfly Wing
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

This is an enchanting exhibit of at least 300 butterflies from around the world, hatching, then fluttering and eating for their five to seven day existence. Wear bright colors, stand still, and these delicate creatures will land on you. Caution: when leaving, check to prevent hitchhikers!

source: Parade Magazine