The South Florida Science Center & Aquarium debuted the first phase of its West Wing improvements on Feb. 2. The “Hall of Discovery” contains new exhibits, along with old favorites that have been given a modern twist. All are highly interactive and focus on hands-on, minds-on science.
The opening offers guests 5,000 additional square feet of exhibition space. As a continuation of the $5 million expansion in 2013, the Hall of Discovery is the first phase of improvements.
A highlight was the Science Center’s first bilingual exhibit, which explores nanoscale science such as atoms and molecules. The first and only nano exhibit in Florida, the exhibition presents the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introducing real-world applications while exploring societal and ethical implications.
Once all improvements are completed, the total amount spent will be $1 million.
“The South Florida Science Center & Aquarium is the anchor institution for informal science education in our community,” CEO Lew Crampton said. “In addition to physical improvements, we are continuing to expand our programming. Within the last four years, we have doubled our programming, for both children and adults, increased our exhibition space by 20,000 square feet, increased our annual revenue from $1.5 million to $3.5 million, and our attendance is up from 100,000 to 205,000 annually.”
There are plans for an early childhood education room, improvements to the planetarium and observatory and a new 18-hole miniature golf course.
The science center has lowered entrance fees to celebrate the “Hall of Discovery” opening. During “Afterlife: Tomb & Treasures of Ancient Egypt,” admission is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children 3-12, and $14.95 for seniors over 60. Members get in free.
The museum features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, an 8,000-gallon aquarium with both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, a conservation research station, a Florida exhibit hall and an interactive Everglades exhibit. The “Afterlife” traveling exhibit features more than 200 ancient and authentic artifacts. The blockbuster exhibition has interactive components, making it feel like guests have taken a trip to Egypt to explore ancient artifacts and tombs.
The “Hall of Discovery” includes more than 10 hands-on brain teasers and an interactive wall of old but fresh favorites, such as the energy conservation station. Guests can pedal on a bicycle until light bulbs receive enough energy to light up. The rehabbed part includes a modern twist to illustrate the differing amounts of energy needed to light LED, CFL and halogen bulbs.
For more information, call (561) 832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org.
ABOVE: Matthew Gittere, 7 of Wellington enjoys an exhibit in the new Hall of Discovery.