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Dec 16

Seven Hours at Science World

One of Vancouver’s brightest attractions, often on the gloomiest days, is Science World.

It has been put together very intuitively. As you move through the galleries, each one has its own character and each invoke different feelings, stimulate different senses and prompt you to learn via practical application.

Also, it’s a wonderfully social place, where you often find yourself taking part in activities with other people, then ooo-ing and ahh-ing together, sharing anecdotal stories and often laughing together at the things you find yourself doing.

The Exhibits at Science World

As you enter, there is a large open space, and even when it’s busy, one never feels too cramped. There are several tables with displays, learning toys to play with and right in the middle is the Centre Stage.

The Centre Stage is where people will gather several times a day to watch live presentations about a variety of topics. I was fortunate enough to catch the Van de Graaf and Tesla Coil demonstrations during a presentation about electricity.

The presentations, and Science World as a whole, are extremely family friendly.

Eureka!

If you take the ramp up to the next level, the first thing you see is the entrance to the Eureka! Gallery.

In here are exhibits, almost all interactive, that rouse the senses. It’s alive with the noise of children playing games with water, light, sound and motion. All of it is very tangible, and it’s a great way to start off your tour.

The children in your group (and maybe you too ;-) have likely entered Science World in an excited state, so this is just the place for everyone to make the most of that enthusiasm.

BodyWorks and Search

These two galleries are side-by-side.

BodyWorks concerns itself with your body. Everything from your reproductive, digestive and circulatory systems to how your eyes and ears work is graphically displayed. The Search Gallery is about nature and the variety of life: there’s a beaver damn representation, a large Tyrannosaurus rex skeletal model and a live guinea pig among other attractions.

BodyWorks and Search are a great deal calmer than Eureka! There’s certainly fun to be had, it just doesn’t involve throwing, jumping, running or getting wet.

Kidspace

After catching your breath in BodyWorks and Search, you can then enter Kidspace. This is possibly the best indoor playground in Vancouver.

The wonder of this playground is the many play areas that have children collaborating. For example, the climbing frame has two pulleys, one at each end, and each pulley has a rope to a bag on the outside that rests on the floor. You need to get to the top of the climbing frame before you can pull the bag up, and then let it down, meaning you need someone at the bottom to load it up for you.

Also, on the miniature canal system, I’ve seen children, one at each end, working together to pull up gates and close off streams of water so that a boat can make it from one end to the other.

The Imax Screen

If you’re a fan of screentime, whether it be the cinema, your television or a mobile device, there is possibly nothing quite like Imax. If you don’t go to the cinema, or watch television and don’t have a mobile device, there is still possibly nothing quite like Imax.

I was lucky enough to watch, “To The Arctic”. And Yes, as many Hollywood productions are, it’s extremely  cheesy, the storyline is overly laboured and the soundtrack sucks eggs. And I’ve no idea why (except for how much she must have been paid) Meryl Streep would lend her voice to the narration. However, sitting in that theatre will make you feel like you’re in a helicopter flying over the arctic, complete with stomach churning pseudo-vertigo thrills and spills.

Aside from dreaming perhaps, Imax has always been and still is one of the most immersive experiences you could ever have.

Cold, wet and grey? Go to Science World for the Day.

Cold, wet and grey? Go to Science World for the Day.

What to Eat at Science World

On this particular day I had been snacking mostly. There are many snack and soda vending machines throughout Science World. But it was early afternoon by the time I came out of the Imax film and I was hungry for something more substantial.

Whatever your opinion on mass-produced deep-fried convenience fast food, that’s what’s primarily available at Science World. Along with these, “Award winning burgers,” as the website refers to them, are also some regular sandwiches, salads and wraps. You can also bring your own food, and there is a cafeteria style seating area to accommodate those who bring packed lunches.

Whether you like burgers or not is beside the point. Is it very scientific to be selling mass-produced deep-fried convenience fast food at a venue that is very much for children? I didn’t see an exhibit in the BodyWorks gallery about the health benefits of fast food.

Sustainability   

The Sustainability gallery is on the ground floor. You’ll come to it as you’re looking for the exit. This gallery is a lot of fun—a great way to bring your day at Science World to an end.

Almost every exhibit in this gallery is interactive, and if you’ve got some energy left to burn off, some exhibits are extremely physical. The point here is to show you how much electricity, water or leg-power is required to get things done.

There’s also a suggestion board that asks you to leave a comment about your thoughts on energy consumption.

More than Seven Hours at Science World?

Science World is mainly for children, so if you have children in your group, you’re going to have a great time. Seeing a world of science through the eyes of so many kids in the same place at the same time is a marvelous thing.

It’s not only for children. If you have an interest in science, are just a little bit curious and want to know more, Science World is a great place to start.

The staff and volunteers are exceptional. One staff member in particular went to great lengths to help us. I only know him as Julio, but thank you and your colleague for everything you did.

Yes, you probably could spend more than seven hours at Science World.

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