By Carol McCracken (Post # 2,549)
Two exciting exhibits opened last week with the intent of sparking the interest of young minds in the sciences. One is on space exploration and the other is about robots – emphasizing the real-life characteristics of animals and insects. Both exhibits are presented by the Portland Science Center, at 68 Commercial Street on the Portland waterfront. The exhibits opened on Friday, January 27, 2016 and will run for a few months.
The Portland Science Center opened in September of 2015 with its first exhibit – Body Works – that was highly successful. More than 70,000 visitors saw the premiere exhibit. “We’ve had families and student groups coming from as far away as Presque Isle and Vermont,” said Joe Gold, President of the Gold Group,, which owns and operates the Center. “We look forward to bringing even more excitement to downtown Portland.”
The SPACE exhibit contains actual rocks from the surface of the moon and from Mars. Exhibits show exciting applications of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), examines amazing discoveries and explorations from the past and introduces visitors today’s explorers who are shaping our future destiny in the universe. “Our exploration of space is an absolute necessity,” said R. P. Hale, Senior Educator at the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center in New Hampshire. “We want to ignite the desire for discovery in kids who will be our next pioneers to explore the galaxy. This exhibit could be the spark that lights the imagination of a future astronaut or a scientist in the space program,” Hale said.
On the second floor of the PSC is the Robot Zoo. It’s a place where children can interact with robotic creatures. Recommended for ages 4 and older, this exhibit reveals the magic of nature as a master engineer. Three robot animals and seven hands-on activities illustrate fascinating real-life characteristics, such as how a chameleon changes colors and how a fly walks on the ceiling. Another exciting part of this exhibit are the robots created by students from South Portland High School – the “Riot Crew 58.”
The Portland Science Center exhibit contains a strong educational component geared toward ages 7 to 17. Educational materials to accompany student visits are also available for teachers and schools.