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From Our Editors
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 Science 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 tank, visitors play an active role in the Science Center's more than 165 hands-on exhibits. In the Sight and Sound Experience, adventurers feel sound vibrations, experiment with lasers and movement, and see themselves in 360 degrees, 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 amazing structure and test Rube Goldberg-style machines without calculating the effects of zero gravity.
Recently, the Science Center welcomed its newest resident: a sound-equipped animatronic dilophosaurus, whose reptilian movements and noises recreate the goosebumps felt during the species' starring role in Jurassic Park. Robotics also plays a central role in Forces in Motion, which introduces the fundamentals of engineering and design by letting visitors shoot a basket with the help of an enormous robot. The Science Center's dedication to machine life also extends to its programs with a summer teen robotics program and camps during school vacations.
Beyond the permanent exhibits, the museum is also a frequent stop for headline-grabbing traveling exhibits from around the country. The Science Center also houses learning areas suited to its smaller guests: in KidSpace, ages 3–6 splash in a water play area, experiment with a wall of magnetic balls, and test their object recognition in searching activities designed by I Spy author Walter Wick. Other child-friendly areas include Critter Corner, Lunar Lander, and Tiny Town—the latter consisting of giant foam building blocks. Beyond the exhibits, a state-of-the-art 3D digital theater screens science-focused films, and four educational labs host special programs such as summer exploration camps and professional development for educators. On-site Subway and FroyoWorld restaurants, meanwhile, keeps visitors fueled. All of this adventure unfolds in the Science Center's sleek building, which honors its green architecture with a rooftop garden boasting panoramic views of Hartford.