The entire Earth spins inside of the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It's as if visitors have launched into outer space, where they can see everything—clouds forming over North America, hurricanes churning in the tropics, and millions of animals in migration. Night falls, and the major cities light up Earth's continents like misshapen Christmas trees. Just then, the planet disappears, and in its place rises a spinning orb of fire and violent solar storms: the sun. The display, appropriately titled Science On a Sphere, is actually a 6-foot animated globe powered by a series of video projectors. It serves as the perfect centerpiece for OMSI's Earth Hall, which explores geology, tectonics, and everything else that makes Earth a living planet. The hall's exhibits let visitors control wind turbines and launch satellites into space.
Earth Hall is only one section of the museum, however. More hands-on activities wait within Turbine Hall, where kids design bridges and boats. Visitors can tour the USS Blueback, a U.S. Navy attack submarine that guarded the Pacific for 31 years, or gaze towards the heavens inside of Kendall Planetarium, which uses real-time 3D graphics to transport audiences into the very heart of black holes. Even Theory, the onsite eatery, has an educational focus. The restaurant's displays explore food sciences while Chef Ryan Morgan and his team use local ingredients to cook meals in full view.
Although every corner of OMSI sparks scientific curiosity, the museum's educational programs take things one step further. The faculty hosts astronomy camps and teaches 50-minute interactive labs in which kids might make soap or dissect a squid—a requisite skill for any future biologist or sushi chef.
The consortium of professional instructors at Fred Astaire Dance Studios, which was cofounded by the legendary toe tapper himself, shepherds adults of all ages and skill levels through lessons that span the style spectrum. Low-pressure private sessions allow enthusiastic teachers to fine-tune individual students' techniques and form, using their expert eyes and mechanical dancing shoes preprogrammed to do the cha-cha. Patrons can learn how to cavort through classic waltz and fox-trot romps or swivel through the modern steps of tango, swing, or rumba. For dancers hoping to hoof it up in a social setting, the group practice provides a one-night extravaganza of instruction, demonstrations, and amateur firewalking.
When Lisa Stark's quest for a sensual, laid-back exercise class turned up nothing, she took matters into her own hands. To forge her ideal workout, which is a balance of sexy sizzle and athletic toning, Stark researched popular dance-fitness styles, documented choreography at local clubs, and even enlisted a former exotic dancer to teach her how to kick, saunter, and fill out tax forms in a sensual manner. The months of studying paid off?today, Lisa shares her wit, warmth, and fitness regimen with troupes of women at The Exotic You. Ladies of all fitness levels gather for classes that teach a complete routine of sensual dance moves, checking negative body-talk at the door and summoning their inner vixen out with slow leg extensions and passionate hip rolls.
At Live Laugh Love Glass, the hot shop and fusing studio are welcoming venues even when filled with molten glass. Open to students age 9 and over, classes in glassblowing invite tender-footed artists to cut their teeth by creating blown-glass pieces ranging from votives to colorful flowers. Those seeking something a little more low-key can head to the glass fusing studio, or partake in painting classes, which include all materials and easy-to-follow instructions to create a finished painting.
Clifford Koufman?s fascination with drums of all kind has taken him around the world in search of guidance from renowned musicians by the likes of Arabic master drummer Souhail Kaspar, Guinean Grandmaster Famoudou Konate, and American jazz icon Bob Moses. Koufman has used his refined drumming powers and extensive musical experience for good as a therapeutic music specialist who has visited several Portland-area children?s hospitals and as the founder of Sound & Rhythm Drumming Studio. There, since 1999 he has specialized in teaching one-on-one and group West African drum lessons on authentic djembes and dununs, demystifying concepts such as beat displacement and polyrhythms for his hand-drumming prot?g?s. Students can also bring drumsticks and learn to tame a standard drum kit, learning the music theory and time-keeping techniques needed to perfectly execute Rachmaninoff?s little-known triangle solos.
The nonprofit Interactive Museum of Gaming and Puzzlery celebrates the historical importance, aesthetic beauty, and clever design of all types of games. Collectible card games, skill games, and video games are just a few of the varieties within the museum's collection. Visitors can also stop by for group gaming sessions, discussions on topics such as Native American games, and other events.