Facing down winds of up to 78 mph. Controlling a robotic dinosaur with the same hydraulic technology behind amusement park rides. Such experiences only skim the surface of the 100-plus attractions available in Da Vinci Science Center's 10,000-square-foot, two-story exhibit space. Here, other hands-on activities run the gamut from assembling models of carbon nanotubes to navigating a 72-foot tunnel in complete darkness or with the aid of a friendly firefly.
But exploring exhibits isn't the only way to interact with science at Da Vinci Science Center. For visitors of all ages, the center sponsors nearly three-dozen programs including Science on the Move, which brings experiments directly to schools and community centers. In addition, Da Vinci Science Center hosts several events throughout the year such as Ice Cream Wars, where participants create tasty treats using liquid nitrogen as a freezing agent.
The 43,000 square-foot facility of America On Wheels is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the expansive history of American transportation. Within that, 23,000 square feet are devoted entirely to exhibit space, where guests will find a variety of classic cars, racing vehicles, trucks, and motorcycles. Rotating exhibits have included topics such as classic cars of the 1930's (including a 1933 Buick), muscle cars, and trains. In addition to offering family memberships and group tours, the facility hosts rentals of its space and a museum store, as well as a classic caf? complete with ice cream, shakes, floats, and hot dogs.
Despite being open to the public since 1930, Lost River Caverns has been kept in immaculate condition, retaining a youthful character that belies its close to 250,000-year existence. Step underground and peer at the profusion of stalactites, stalagmites, fluorescent minerals, and other natural crystal formations filling the cavern’s five chambers—including the Crystal Chapel, which radiates with residual love from the more than 80 wedding ceremonies it’s hosted since 1949. As dripping sounds echo in the distance, you’ll encounter the eponymous lost river, whose waters originate from an unknown source before disappearing back into Earth’s great Fiji bottle. You’ll also get wise to the Lost River Caverns’ colorful history and the odd ways it’s been used by bootleggers, college fraternities, and fantasy fellowships looking to level up by fighting the caverns’ many tonberries. Once you emerge back into daylight, ogle the rare fossils, unique minerals, and gems that abound inside the Gilman Museum before relaxing over a bite in Picnic Grove, whose covered bridge overlooks the leisurely flowing Silver Creek.
When the car industry was just blossoming, many vehicles were manufactured in Pennsylvania. The Boyertown Museum of Historic Vehicles preserves that legacy, with exhibits stretching back through the 19th and 20th centuries. Established in 1965 by Paul Hafer?a 57-year industry vet?and his wife Erminie, the museum exclusively features vehicles produced in Pennsylvania and none that simply had "Pennsylvania or bust" scribbled on their rear views.
At the turn of the 19th century, it became all too clear to historian and archaeologist Henry Mercer that handmade objects were being cast aside for machine-made things. He wanted to help preserve the pre-industrial way of life, and so he built a museum for his artifacts adjacent to his own home, Fonthill Castle. Today, Fonthill Castle is a National Historic Landmark and a museum in its own right, displaying handcrafted art both made by Mercer and collected by him during his world travels.
Dr. Levi Mengel founded the Reading Public Museum in 1904 to cement book-borne knowledge with hands-on learning. Today, the educational hub houses an extensive permanent collection of art, historic and scientific artifacts, ever-changing exhibitions, a planetarium, and an arboretum. Art enthusiasts swoon at the museum's mélange of masterpieces, such as etchings by Matisse and Picasso, and a lithograph by Renoir. The artifactual vault harbors petrified proof of earth's natural history, biological bits of science, and insight into humanity’s collective civilization.