The Discovery Center

Remember what it's like to discover? Remember what it's like to learn something new? Remember how exciting it is? Remember the first time that you really did get excited about learning about the weather or the way earthquakes work? Well, that is the mission of the Discovery Center of Idaho. They want to help people feel the exhilaration of discovery, by creating and facilitating controlled scientific experiments. It is for the public good, to help show people that science and math can be fun.

The Discovery Center has been operating for about 25 years on Myrtle Street in downtown Boise. It was founded on the values of trust, empowerment, and most of all, fun. The Discovery Center staff and founders understand that science, engineering and math can be hard concepts to gather and understand, so they try to make it simple and exciting.

A few of the most famous exhibits are ones like the Bubble Wall. The bubble wall is a trough about four or five feet long and three inches wide filled with bubble soap. A pole rests in the water and can be raised up by a cord that rests to the side of the trough. When the pole is raised up a long sheet or 'wall' of bubble is stretched out in front of you. You can try to blow a giant bubble or stick your hand through the thick liquid.

Another Discovery Center favorite is the Tornado Maker. This exhibit simulates the actions of a fierce tornado, on a slightly smaller scale, of course. The tall glass case that contains the tornado, has air jets on the top and bottom that create a mini vortex, picking up the small dust particles in the case. The vortex spins and spins, appearing to be a wispy white color, almost like smoke.

An exhibit at the Discovery Center that will blow your mind is the Bernoulli Blower. The air blower shoots air toward the sky. When light objects are placed in the jet stream, they float, defying gravity. You can watch wiffle balls, paper and a lot more float up in front of your eyes.

The centripetal wheel is a fun exhibit. It is a wheel about ten feet in diameter that teaches the laws of centripetal force. Stuffed animals are available to place in the bottom of the wheel, then with a great shove, they are sent around and around the big wheel. The stuffed animals don't fall back down when they reach the top of the wheel, they stay in place the whole way round. This is due to the centripetal force. The spinning of the wheel send everything to the edges, away from the center.

On top of the different exhibits, there are also live presentations everyday at one o'clock pm (Monday through Friday) and two o'clock pm (Saturday and Sunday). These presentations are taught by the enthusiastic Discovery Center staff and volunteers. The lessons are based around the monthly theme that the discovery center planned. The presentation can be different everyday, but always has a link to the monthly theme.

While the Discovery Center's doors are open to everyone, they also have different classes and presentations for different age groups. For example:

The Youth Discoverers. This is a program that is geared towards preschooler level participants. The program consists of weekly lessons every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at 10:30. The teachers will teach a new topic every week that ties into the monthly theme. The class is free after the regular fees to enter the Discovery Center.

Another class that is great for the younger crowd is Science Saturdays, for those youngsters that still have school to go to. These classes vary from examining habitats to robotics programming. Added fees may apply to attend these events.

There is also the Teen Club. The Teen Club is for High Schoolers that like to watch rockets, explosions and so forth. The Teen Club is a free club.

Lastly, there is the Adult Nights for anyone 21 and older. These Adult Nights are a fun time for people to socialize, learn and much more. The Discovery Center brings in bands, food, speakers and everything else, you just have to come. The topics range from the "Science of Snow" to "Science of Sound and Music".

The Discovery Center is determined to have something for everyone. From tots to teens and all the way back up to adults. Anyone can discover and have a good time at the Discovery Center. Whether you are old or young, or somewhere in between, there is something for you. Discover the Discovery Center, learn and remember the thrill of discovery.

http://www.dcidaho.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_Center_of_Idaho

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