This past week the kids and I went to the Greensboro Science Center – which happens to be a museum, zoo, and aquarium, all wrapped up in one great destination! The museum covers all sorts of topics, and does so through a variety of different types of exhibits! They have recently completed a major addition (their large aquarium section), and are now getting ready for some more remodeling! This fun ship for the kids will stick around and be included in their new beach-themed wing! The girls had fun checking out the ship, and walking the deck… The museum has a play area for the younger crowd. Caleb loved the water table!
The museum even has a lower level (basement), that will be part of the renovation efforts – the basement will be transformed to a cave-like exhibit that will mimic being underground, and will feature a phosphorescent minerals display along with mining-themed exhibits.
There were engaging displays for numerous acts of nature like lightening strikes, tornadoes, floods, hail, and hurricanes.
The lightening touch screens were a very popular feature in this room…The center offers quite a few keeper programs/feedings/talks, as well as an Adventure Theatre (weekends only) and an Omni-Sphere Theatre, which shows full dome and 3D shows. There is even a laser light program on the last Thursday of each month.
‘Sue’ has her own area in the museum, and the whole place is set up to learn all about discovering dinosaurs! The kids loved the interactive exhibit on how different dinosaurs eyes were positioned – like how the triceratops saw a wide range of vision, and off to the side to be able to watch for predators. Peanut got the panoramic view… There were a couple of volunteers in the room that interacted with the kids and shared all sorts of interesting information with the kids about dinosaurs. The ‘Sue’ exhibit included a lot of hands-on fun for the kids, from electronic exhibits to a scavenger hunt and puzzles and coloring pages.
By far, the littles’ favorite activity here was to dig fossils.
Set up in a tent, just like on an archaeological dig site, the kids could unearth dinosaur bones (replicas) using tools and brushes… The ‘Sue’ exhibit had several reproduction skeletons that you could check out, and plenty of hands-on stuff for the kids to do. I found ‘Sue’ to be intriguing and engaging for me too. The museum has other dinosaur exhibits as well…
The Health Quest area of the center focuses on human health, from birth through death, and culminates in a unique way with an end-of-life meditative room and quiet area.
Located in the back of the center is the museum’s zoo. You can tour the zoo via the ADA paved path – it is under 1/4 mile long, and winds through treed areas and to lookouts for each animal. The zoo is in the process of adding an enhanced zipline to their zoo area! The zipline will open this spring, and will feature 7 platforms. This unique Ariel Adventure will offer a hands-on activity at each platform; the activity will be based on the animal whose enclosure the platform is located in!
This area of the GSM has a fun petting zoo
where the kids got to pet and see-up-close-and-personal goats, sheep,
chickens, ducks, and pigs…The rest of the zoo offers visits to tigers, maned wolves, lemers, a red panda, wallaby, (+ others) and our favorite – a family of gibbons…complete with the most adorable baby gibbon!!!
Back inside, we completed our visit to the GSM with a second stop in at their fabulous newThe Sciquarium is a new area of the museum, and is a great place to check out water-loving animals! These African Penguins were so amiable, and would swim up and show off in front of the kids…
I didn’t know that there were warm weather penguins, but these African Penguins are! They are the mascots of the center’s annual Tuxedo Trot fundraiser that is held every April.
There were educational displays, that taught about different animals, and features that are unique to water mammals and to fish… The kids’ favorite part in the Sciquarium was the sting ray touch tank… the touch tank has large windows in the sides so you can see the rays swim by, and there is lots of room to stand along the sides and wait for the rays to swim by. There are several staff members there to help the kids know proper etiquette for touching the rays (2 fingers extended, run softly on top, don’t try to touch ‘face’ or underneath of ray, and feet on the ground because swimming with them is not allowed 😉 ). There were a couple of aquarium tanks – including a shark tank, and this large wall tank with tons of different kinds of fish, and this HUGE ray in it! (I love watching sting rays – they always look like they are smiling)…
The Sciquarium has a couple of lab areas, where the kids can watch staff work with the animals, including the Living Lab, where animals are quarantined when they first arrive at the center, to ensure health, or to isolate an animal that seems ‘off’.
The Sciquarium has a large wall that features animals of the Amazon, as well as several other large exhibits that feature unique animals like the Fisher Cat. The area also houses Asian Small Clawed Otters, including a batch of 5 babies that were born last November.
The Greensboro Science Center is a great place to spend half a day while you are in Greensboro! They are located just down the road from the Guilford Courthouse National Battlefield, and the 2 together would make a great day trip!
The Greensboro Science Center is a popular destination for school field trips, so if you are planning a visit during the school year, and on a weekday, it is advisable to plan your outing for the afternoon timeframe. Plan on a minimum of 2 hours for your visit.
The center has a great gift shop, a cafeteria area, and even a Fresh Market Cafe, which offers fresh, health conscious food choices. Definitely a great destination if you are anywhere in the area!