Saturday, March 2, 2013

Space Simulators & Jars of Earwax: The Edmonton Science Center


There are two official 'science centers' in Alberta.  Families and schools have the option to visit the Calgary World of Science and the Edmonton World of Science, depending on their proximity.  They are both owned by the Telus World of Science corporation, who also happens to own the Vancouver World of Science as well.

Have I said "World of Science" enough times for you yet?  Read that last paragraph five times fast; I dare you!

Last month I was able to slip along on a Junior High field trip to the Edmonton World of Science, despite being a Grade 4 teacher this year.  I think my principal was sensing that I miss my Junior Highs every now and then, and figured it was time for a major dose of fun.  The kids were excellently behaved and the science center proved to be a fantastic learning experience for all.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
The Edmonton Science Center, courtesy commons.wikimedia.org

The major focus of our field trip to the science center was to visit the giant IMAX theater and watch a film about life in space.  The IMAX screen at the Edmonton World of Science is 13 meters by 19 meters, which means you feel as if you are falling into the movie as you watch it - the screen seems to wrap around and encompass you.  This IMAX theater was actually the first one in all of Western Canada - yay for Edmonton!  Unfortunately, the admission for the IMAX show is NOT included in the general admission price for the science center (something we as a school field trip were not aware of, causing some confusion and panic at the admission desk originally).  Prices for the IMAX shows range from $13.95 for an adult to $9.50 from children 3 to 12.  You can also buy a combo pack to blend the general admission cost and the movie in order to save a bit of money.  For more information on pricing, click here.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
Enjoying my time as an astronaut.

Within the regular exhibition areas, we found many favorite features.  Many of my students really enjoyed the Forensics Exhibit.  Last year I taught a Forensics Option course, so the kids had some background knowledge in the area, and were able to navigate the exhibition with some clarity and understanding.  Another favorite was the Space Gallery, where the kids had fun (for some reason unknown to me) lying on the ground and pretending to fly through space.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
Flying through space, kind of...

A favorite exhibit was the Environmental Gallery, which featured imitation tidal pools, an aquarium, a lightning simulator, and to everyone's excitement, the tornado simulator.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
Feeling mighty powerful and creating my own tornado!

Another fun favorite was the Health Gallery.  Once the kids and adults alike stumbled into the room, there was no getting us out!  This room is designed to teach kids some of the miracles of the human body, such as how far blood will spurt when a major artery is damaged, or how our olfactory senses can distinguish between smells. (Some of the example smells were pretty nasty to sample!)

In a caged off section of the Health Gallery is the Grossology Gallery - a room stocked full with disgusting facts, simulations, interactive features, and my favorite, the display of nasty glass jars loaded to the brim with human 'excretions'.  Jars filled with urine, ear wax, sweat, eye goop, dandruff, and much, much, (MUCH) worse are stacked seven feet high for young scientists to marvel at.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
I hardly have to explain how gross this is after you read the labels...


things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
Mm, a giant bottle of sweat.  Christmas gift, anyone?

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
At least this one was only 1/4 full... does that make it better? I don't know.

If the experience at the Edmonton World of Science had to have a highlight, however, it would be the Space Simulator.  All of the students (and me, the only teacher with an iron stomach) tried our hand at strapping into the swirling, spinning machine - some kids went twice!  It was only a 30 second ride, but got the blood flowing to your head quite quickly.  I stepped out of the simulator feeling, not dizzy, but very warm from the increased flow of blood.  A strange sensation.

things to do in Edmonton, Telus World of Science Edmonton
Me braving the space simulator - it was quite fun!

If you want to take your family for a fun day trip, or go out on an adventurous and stimulating date with a special someone, visit the Edmonton World of Science webpage for information on admission prices, location, and special exhibits.  Gallery content, IMAX feature films, and special exhibits rotate quite frequently to keep things exciting and interesting.



What was your favorite experience at the Telus World of Science?  Feel free to share!

2 comments:

  1. I love those spinny ball things! This sounds like such a fun field trip. Schools need to do more field trips. It's also so cool that you did a forensics unit; I did one in high school and it was so much fun. We went to "forensics school" and then we had to solve a fake murder that was acted out by volunteer seniors. It was awesome.

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    1. The simulator was fun - I wished that it had gone faster and for a bit longer, but it was still a fun experience! And I LOVED teaching the forensics unit - it was given to me for free when I visited the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. Thanks, Smithsonian Institute! ;) I love that you got to solve a fake murder - fun!

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