5 Fun And Enlightening Places To Learn About Science
From the physics involved in spaceflight, to the vast depths of the ocean bottom, exploratory science centers introduce topics through interactive displays and demonstrations. Encouraging learning through observation, questioning, testing, and challenging previous beliefs and ideas, these centers provide the basis for discovery. In no particular order, here are some places expanding visitors' minds in a fun and engaging way.
Starting off the list at #1, Blue Hill Meteorological Observatory & Science Center is located at the top of a scenic mountain range south of Boston. Founded in 1885 as a private headquarter for scientific study and measurement of the atmosphere, the Center was the site of many pioneering weather experiments and discoveries, such as the development of radiosonde, which is the transmitting of data by high-altitude balloon.
The Observatory is a National Historic Landmark, and continues to record climate through traditional methods and instruments. Meanwhile, the accompanying Science Center enhances public understanding of atmospheric study through various group programs, like kite-making, balloon launches, and guided hikes. Elsewhere, visitors may take a tour of the Observatory to learn about its instruments and participate in a weather watching activity.
Next at #2 is Elachee Nature Science Center. Situated in Gainesville, Georgia, within the Chicopee Woods Nature Preserve, the nonprofit offers diverse programs designed to promote environmental understanding and conservation. The campus provides a variety of activities for visitors of all ages, including animal encounters, tours, trail hikes, and volunteer programs.
Exhibits at Elachee Nature Science Center include the Trail of Trees, featuring ten tree species that guests learn to identify, and the beehive area, which lets visitors witness an active pollinator ecosystem. Meanwhile, Elachee's outdoor aviary specializes in raptors, such as the great horned owl.
Coming in at #3 is the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, the nonprofit community resource is dedicated to educating visitors in the study of astronomy, while encouraging a sense of discovery. Through innovative programming, exhibits, and activities, the Center aims to inspire sustained interest in the fields of terrestrial and space sciences.
The institution comprises the GroundStation Canada Theatre and Cosmic Courtyard Gallery, as well as a planetarium and an observatory. Hosting in-person science demonstrations, GroundStation covers topics like the electromagnetic spectrum, geology, and exoplanets. In the Cosmic Courtyard Gallery, visitors enjoy interactive exhibits that explore various fields, such as deep space and the possibility of alien life.
Entering the list at #4, the INFINITY Science Center is a nonprofit STEM learning facility and official visitor hub for NASA's Stennis Space Center, as well as the location of its resident labs and offices. Located in Pearlington, Mississippi, the facility serves five states in the Gulf Coast area, between the cities of New Orleans and Pensacola. INFINITY's mission is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and mathematicians by nurturing a curiosity about the world.
Visitors may explore a wealth of galleries and exhibits. The Carnivorous Plants Conservatory holds more than 200 species of the unique flora, while the Hurricane Prediction Lab reveals the data and models used in forecasting severe weather. Elsewhere, a variety of NASA memorabilia and spaceflight equipment are displayed, such as Apollo-era space suits, the first three stages of a Saturn V rocket, and an Apollo 4 command module.
Lastly, at #5 is McWane Science Center. The Birmingham, Alabama institution's mission is to spark wonder and curiosity about the world through hands-on experimentation. Since opening, McWane has welcomed millions of visitors of all ages to participate in its interactive educational experiences. Through a well-rounded curriculum that includes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, visitors and students learn by doing, asking, and testing.
The McWane Science Center has a number of permanent exhibits that are a regular part of the science education experience. These include the Shark and Ray Touch Tank, Alabama Dinosaurs, and the Explore! Collections Center, which is devoted to the up-close exploration of geology, paleontology, anthropology, and zoology. Finally, the John W. Woods IMAX Dome Theater plays immersive wide-angle shows on a variety of themes.