"" Writer's Wanderings: In My Backyard -- Great Lakes Science Center

Monday, January 26, 2009

In My Backyard -- Great Lakes Science Center

While we do travel to a lot of exotic places in the world, I often wonder if the people who live there appreciate what a tourist comes to see and do. Have you ever considered what you might show someone who comes to visit the area where you live?

Northeast Ohio offers quite a few things. Among them the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame which has a great museum detailing much of the history of the music. Right next to it however is the Great Lakes Science Center. It was there we spent the better part of a Saturday with our visiting seven year old grandson.

There is always a featured exhibit and we visited it first. The exhibit was about robots. It wasn't as interactive as I thought it would be but we had a lot of fun trying to beat a robot at putting together a puzzle. The robotic arm had quite a personality and sneered at us when we failed.

The other floors of the Science Center are a wonderland for the technically intrigued. Some of it was over the head of a seven year old--which in turn meant it was over my head too. But on the third floor we both came alive with all the hands on exhibits. Even if you couldn't understand the principle behind some of them (although my husband tried hard to explain a few), it was still fun to watch the cause and effect of spinning a wheel to create a vortex in a tube of liquid or the optical illusions you could create with mirrors.

Of course there's always the old static electricity lesson. Nothing like creating a bad hair day!

I think our favorite exhibit though was the space shuttle simulator where you could try to land a space shuttle. The machine was very patient and stopped you when you got into trouble. If you crashed anyway, it just told you that with a little more practice, you would become a pilot. Yeah, right, like the real NASA budget could afford to let you crash one of those babies.

What's in your backyard?
In this economical squeeze, you might want to take another look at what's available to explore. I'll bet you haven't seen it all. For a start, check out the museums or a close by science center like ours.

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