Spread out among 132,000 square feet and three levels are a variety of permanent and temporary exhibits that represent the museum’s goal of innovative inspiration. The recently opened, hands-on, and interactive exhibit Invention at Play examines the evolution of playtime from the hoop-and-stick of yesteryear to the portable holographic virtual wristwatches of today. The art, film, and music-focused Tech Virtual Test Zone conceptualizes ideas from the virtual world of Second Life with interactive wonders such as the Wall of Musical Buttons. The Wall allows visitors to experiment with note intervals in familiar musical melodies, and Mashup Masterpiece gives visitors the ability to add their own creative modifications after observing an artist's artistic process. Aspiring weatherpersons can learn about the powers of wind, water, and sun in Green by Design, or budding Beakmans can perform various science experiments in the Exploration Gallery. Keep the stimulation going while giving tired legs a rest with the included educational IMAX movie. Check out current offerings such as Arabia or Under the Sea or peruse the schedule for other upcoming shows at The Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater.
The silver screens at BlueLight Cinemas showcase second-run films every day in theaters with high-back chairs and DTS and Dolby surround sound. In the concession area, attendants provide a cornucopia of goods, including Dippin' Dots, Peet's Coffee, and Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn topped with real butter from actual tombs inside the food pyramid. The locally owned theater keeps in tune with the community by staging events throughout the year, offering theater rentals for parties, and allowing moviegoers to influence upcoming features by requesting a movie.
"The Nick" showcases alternative, foreign, and art-house films in a theater steeped in the stylings of Hollywood. Beyond the elegant marquee lights, in a smoothly styled lobby, the walls are accented with stained-glass detailing comedy and tragedy masks. The retro chic movie house boasts two intimate and two large screens, which will soon play host to a bevy of upcoming shows. Current features include Academy Award nominees Black Swan, Another Year, The Illusionist, and Biutiful, the story of a crime boss who is diagnosed with a serious illness which forces him to reconcile his good intentions with his lawless lifestyle.
From the cabernet-hued curlicues on the carpets to the gilded columns and soaring ceilings, the Alameda Theatre is steeped in history. During the Second World War, soldiers crowded in to watch films in the auditorium, which also has spent stints as a practice area for rock bands and as a skating rink. The theater was recently brought out of dormancy with an extensive renovation project that restored the glow to its art-deco façades and towering neon sign. Gold leaf, some still intact from the building’s construction in 1932, leads eyes up to a screen 50 feet in width.
A packed schedule of first-run films flickers to life on the big screen, with showings in 3-D letting audiences see explosions leap from the flat surface or watch pieces of the Hulk’s hard-to-program VCR fly past. The historic theater also showcases classic films such as The Graduate or The Wild One every week, and hosts a talent show every Friday and Saturday evening.