The Arizona Science Center is fun for kids of all ages, from toddlers on up. There are plenty of things to do there, and children (and adults) are likely to learn something, and have fun while doing it. My family has had the opportunity to visit the science center twice, once recently, and another visit two years ago. I noticed on this second visit that many of the exhibits rotate. What we saw on our visit in March 2009 may be different than what you see if you visit a year from now. If you do visit, you and your family will probably have a great time.
Forces of Nature
The Forces of Nature gallery at the Arizona Science Center was interesting to see. The highlight of a visit to this gallery is the Forces of Nature show, which occurs once every 15 minutes. While watching, you can feel what it is like to be near a wildfire, hurricane, volcano, an earthquake, and more. Heat lamps, wind machines, and even a little bit of rain (sprinkling, not soaking) contribute to the experience. There’s a table where kids can play with sand and water, exploring the effects of the water on a beach. You can discover how wind makes waves and creates fog.
My Digital World
In this gallery, kids can discover how email is sent, how more pixels can create sharper images, explore ham radio, and see a distorted picture of themselves. Kids and adults can interact with computers, creating and animating a digital picture of themselves, or coloring on their own digital pictures and displaying it on a larger screen.
Level 1 Large Gallery
My family spent a lot of time here, and even my toddler had a great time. In this gallery you can explore personal space, see how genetics can influence eye color, and see if you have your parent’s eyes (this is especially cool if you can do this with your parent or child). You can discover how echoes affect your hearing, if distraction can help you tolerate pain, and see if you obey rules.
Many Hands Make A Home
This gallery shows you how a house is made. Ever wonder how a toilet works? How different building features can keep your house cool? Find out here. For smaller children, this gallery has a small playhouse with a pretend garden outside. My kids were having a lot of fun here, and my toddler didn’t want to leave.
Get Charged Up!
Ever wonder what it feels like to lie on a bed of nails? You can find out here (it’s not as bad as you might think). You can experiment with electromagnetic radiation, lift yourself up with a pulley system, or see how lever placement can affect your performance in a game of tug of war. My two-year-old enjoyed the kinetic energy experiment where you can spin around while holding on to a pole.
Other Exhibits and Information
The Arizona Science Center usually has a special exhibit going on at any given time. A couple of years ago, we were able to see Bodyworlds 3 here, Star Trek: The Exhibition is going on as of this writing. There is a planetarium here, as well as an IMAX theater. These exhibits all cost extra money. I have never had the opportunity to go to the planetarium or the IMAX, but our day here was pretty busy without those extras.
General admission tickets are $9 for adults, and $7 for seniors, college students, and children ages 3 and up. Tickets to the IMAX show or planetarium are priced the same, and cost $8 for adults, college students, and youth ages 13 and up, $7 for seniors and children ages 3-12. Special exhibits are extra.
The Arizona Science Center is open from 10 in the morning until 5 in the evening. There are nearby parking garages, and you can get your parking validated, so make sure that you take your parking ticket in with you. If you visit the Arizona Science Center’s web site at http://www.azscience.org/index.php, you can get more information on special programs, birthday parties, educational resources, and homeschool programs.
If you’re looking for a fun place to take your kids while giving them the opportunity to learn at the same time, the Arizona Science Center is a good choice.