Making science education fun can be a challenge for both students and their parents. The Dallas Museum of Nature and Science meets that challenge head-on. This is not a dry, dull, cobweb filled museum, but instead a world-class resource that you will want to return to again and again.
Nestled behind the Cotton Bowl in Dallas’s historic Fair Park, the Museum of Nature and Science (formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History and The Science Place) offers two buildings of educational scientific discovery, including a planetarium and an Imax theatre. Opportunities for interactive and hands-on learning are found in nearly every part of the museum.
The following article describes a few of the most interesting exhibits.
Hands-On in the Physical Sciences Exhibit
The Physical Sciences exhibit is a prime example of the many opportunities for hands-on learning in this museum. Dozens of hands-on modules demonstrate the principles of physics, motion, electricity, and mathematics. This exhibit showed us in a very real way the effectiveness of a lever and fulcrum as we experimented with lifting a thousand pound ball. We used air power to cause a small ball to hover in mid-air.
Not Yesterday’s Science Project
Exhibits like the Living Genome exhibit provide the opportunity to experience science issues ripped from tomorrow’s headlines. Here you can explore contemporary topics like cloning and stem cell research. Discover the relationship between our DNA and who we turn out to be. Find out how genetics affects human health and illness.
What Was That Furry Creature?
Ever wonder what lurks in the fields woods beyond your backyard? For Texas residents, the exhibits in the Hall of Texas Mammals, Bison Hall, the Hall of Texas Birds, and the Hall of Texas Wetlands can help answer that question. These exhibit areas feature life-size wildlife dioramas of species native to Texas.
Rocks are just rocks, right? You won’t think so after you visit the Mineral Majesty exhibit. This exhibit contains an interesting variety of gems and minerals, including a spectacular amethyst display. By far the most interesting display in this exhibit is the display on Fluorescent minerals. Watch over a dozen minerals change color as they are bathed in various type of light, including ultra-violet light.
There’s a Dinosaur in My Backyard
Well, not really, but maybe there could have been. This Texas Dinosaur exhibit and the Texas Ice Age exhibit features fossils found in the Texas areas and reconstructions of Dinosaurs that are thought to have once roamed Texas. Fossils found locally are on display throughout the exhibits. A robotic reconstruction that looks like the largest armadillo I’ve ever seen is actually a depiction of prehistoric creature called a Glyptodont that became extinct thousands of years ago.
Stuff You Need to Know
The museum is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and on Sunday from 12 pm to 5 pm. Except when there are special events like the State Fair of Texas, parking is free. There is a cost for admission with discounts available for senior citizens and children. The IMAX theatre and planetarium shows cost extra. There is a museum café for drinks, sandwiches, snacks, and salads. Children seven and under will enjoy learning activities designed just for them in the Kids Place.