Learning about science in a museum is safer than experiencing it first-hand by accidentally combining paint thinner with an open flame or ingesting a science textbook. Embrace science and come away unscathed with today's Groupon: for $11, you get one combination ticket for admission and a 3-D movie at the Connecticut Science Center (up to a $22 value). The museum is open Tuesday through Sunday (open daily in July and August), with select Monday openings throughout the year.
With more than 150 hands-on exhibits, the Connecticut Science Center offers interactive amusement for visitors of all ages. Befriend our future electronic overlords at the Robots + Us exhibit, or explore the eye-healing, lecture-disrupting precision of lasers at the LaserLab. The Gallery Science hosts live demonstrations that validate science for skeptical children. The combination ticket also includes admission to one showing at the center's 3-D movie theater, which boasts a gigantic 1,200-square-foot screen. Visitors can experience a pilot's-eye view of all things aviation in Legends of Flight or feel the burn at 3-D Sun, which brings viewers within a wing's tip of the sun's surface without Icarusian consequences. See the movie schedule for complete listings.
The Connecticut Science Center's six-level, environmentally friendly building provides stunning views of the Connecticut River and downtown Hartford. Nourished on café fare and hearty doses of pure fact, museumgoers can spend an entire day increasing their contest-winning trivia cache. If one visit isn't enough, each Groupon also counts as $8 toward the value of a Premier Membership (starting at $75).
Wired magazine's GeekDad visited the Connecticut Science Center, which boasts more than 4,100 Facebook fans. Four TripAdvisors give it an average of four owl-eyes, and three Yelpers give it a perfect five-star average.
- The first test is the easier test. Is the Connecticut Science Center one of the best places to bring kids in Greater Hartford? Test passed. If you live in greater Hartford, you should bring your kids to the Connecticut Science Center. – Doug Cornelius, Wired
- Fun, educational, clean, easy to navagate [sic]. – GENXRR, TripAdvisor
Connecticut Science Center
Today, science lets children as young as 7 years old stand in the eye of a hurricane and fly over the surface of Mars—at least at the Connecticut Science Center. The multi-sensory center encourages all ages to explore the exciting side of natural and man-made phenomena. Whether they're braving gale-force winds in the hurricane simulator or engaging with exotic critters in the live animal touch tanks, visitors play an active role in the center's more than 150 hands-on exhibits. In the Sight and Sound Experience, adventurers feel sound vibrations, experiment with lasers and movement, and hear light, whereas Planet Earth encourages them to probe for fossils in a real seabed core. Exploring Space journeys outside the atmosphere with moon rocks and an up-close visit to a black hole, before Invention Dimension, which features LEGOs, returns to Earth so that fledgling engineers can build their own Rube Goldberg machine without the calculating the effects of zero gravity.
Recently, the center welcomed its newest resident: a sound-equipped animatronic dilophosaurus, whose reptilian movements and noises recreate the goosebumps felt during the species's starring role in Jurassic Park. Robotics also play a central role in Forces in Motion, which introduces the fundamentals of engineering and design through the use of sleek, responsive mechanical flyers. The center's dedication to machine life also extends to its partnerships; working with First Niagara Bank Foundation and scientist Tim Gifford, the center sponsors a teen robotics team for camps and competitions.
Beyond the permanent exhibits, the museum is also a frequent stop for headline-grabbing traveling exhibits from around the country; with multiple exhibits coming through every year, no visit is likely to be the same as the last. The center also houses learning areas suited to even smaller guests: in KidSpace, ages 3–6 splash in a water play area, partake in story time, experiment with a wall of magnetic balls, and test their object recognition in searching activities designed by I Spy author Walter Wick. Beyond the exhibits, a state-of-the-art 3D digital theatre screens science-focused films, and four educational labs host special events such as summer exploration camps and experiments in cootie vaccination. An on-site café, meanwhile, keeps visitors fueled with dishes made from organic, locally sourced ingredients. All of this academic adventure unfold in the center's sleek building, which honors its green architecture with a rooftop garden boasting panoramic views of Hartford.