Where prospectors once used the running waters of a river to search their hauls for gems and gold, Copperhead Creek Gem Mining Company employs a winding wooden sluice. Deputized geologists shovel scoops of raw material sourced from 12 mines into wire mesh sifters, allowing the current to carry off the dirt and reveal the colorful stones that lie within. The company also offers bags of mining rough that are likely to contain fossils and arrowheads, along with geodes that visitors can crack at home by using a hammer or throwing them really hard against a tree.
Named one of the 50 Reasons to Love Bloomington by Bloom magazine and one of the nation's top 25 science centers by Parents magazine, WonderLab Museum of Science, Health & Technology invites visitors of all ages to discover how exhilarating science can be. Between a two-story interior and an outdoor WonderGarden, the museum flaunts more than 50 hands-on science activities. A range of exhibits bring youngsters face-to-face with scientific principles in such attractions as the two-story Grapevine Climber climbing maze, the Bubble-Airium’s cloudball machine, and Water Works' ball launcher. Over in the Fitzgerald Hall of Natural Science, live amphibians and insects crawl around settings that mimic their natural habitats. For children aged 6 and younger, the George & Evelyn Brabson Discovery Garden grants youthful scientific inquiry through live animal displays, the Magnet Wall, and a tree house. The museum also hosts regular special events.
More than 50 years old and 8,500 members strong, the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) strives to promote percussion through education, research, and performances across the world. To carry out this mission, the organization includes more than 50 chapters in the US and 28 chapters abroad, all of which communicate online via resources such as lessons, free practice exercises, and annual events. Each year PAS hosts the annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention—the largest of its kind in the world—in which exhibitors convene to showcase the newest developments in percussion technology, instruments, and publications. The convention also includes over 120 clinics and performances with lauded artists covering all genres and styles of music.
The staff at Art of the Soul encourages an inner examination of the self through artistic expression. Creative Spirit classes grant students three hours of freedom to delve into the process of creating art without the constraints of a specified media and models that refuse to pose in fruit baskets. During each course, artists adorn surfaces such as canvas, fiber, and metal work with eco-friendly materials to visually interpret the workings of the subconscious, and Picassos can take home their finished masterpiece after class. The program’s only goal is to inspire personal expression and build upon a love of art and a penchant for wearing smocks.
Urban Element assembles scrumptious café fare while surrounding guests in an inviting wine bar atmosphere replete with art-adorned walls and live music. The menu abounds with fairly healthy fare, including homade roasted red-pepper hummus ($8) and grilled-pineapple-and-shrimp salad ($10). Patrons can coordinate outfits to match the blue cheese pasta with chickpeas ($10+) or sample a curried chicken-salad sandwich or wrap ($7). The prevalence of paintings at Urban Element allows guests to appreciate local art without the need to pay admission or ship themselves inside cardboard boxes to fancy museums.
Crafted by a cognitive scientist and a design team from the University of Washington according to state academic standards, the A4L program includes five units that merge traditional literacy-education techniques with activities such as theater exercises to accommodate different learning styles. The program anchors lessons in familiar stories such as The Three Little Pigs, with the goal of raising student achievement in both reading and writing. After participating in the A4L lessons, students have shown increased enjoyment in reading, as well as improvement in reading ability, which teachers report appeals to students of various reading levels and backgrounds. Each student will receive a copy of the book from their particular A4L program and an accompanying workbook.