For a kid whose feet are planted firmly on the ground, there are few things as amazing as the opportunity to take flight. A car or a train can take you only so far, but a plane or a spaceship can take you pretty much anywhere. Flight represents limitless possibility to children, letting them know that even the impossible can be achieved.
On Friday, January 29, the Saint Louis Science Center will open Above and Beyond, a new interactive exhibition that invites visitors – both children and adults – to learn more about the wonder and science of flight. Presented by Boeing in celebration of the company’s 100th anniversary, the 5,000-square-foot exhibition is designed to celebrate and inspire curiosity about all things aerospace.
During your visit, you will enter an immersive wraparound theater and then venture through five unique galleries: Up, Faster, Further, Higher and Smarter. Each gallery is designed to be not only educational, but also fun and interactive. Kids will have plenty of hands-on opportunities to learn about the newest scientific innovations in aircraft and spaceflight, as well the history and technology that makes it all possible.
Fly a Fighter-Style Jet, Ride a Space Elevator to Orbit, Pilot a Drone and More
While you’re there, you’ll get to feel what it’s like to fly with a flock of birds, thanks to motion-sensing image capture. You’ll also get to experiment with aerodynamics by performing your own simulated wind tunnel test.
Kids are sure to appreciate the chance to design and then fly their own fighter-style jet, especially since they’ll be able to race their friends (or hey, maybe even their parents) in a high-speed, multi-player competition that travels at the speed of light.
And what child wouldn’t jump at the chance to design and pilot a drone? These unmanned aerial vehicles are hot right now, and at Above and Beyond you have the opportunity to see how they work on a range of missions, including gathering data by flying into the eye of a hurricane and tracking animal migration.
If it is space travel that really piques your interest, be sure to enjoy the visually stunning simulated ascent of riding a space elevator to orbit. Experience the physical and psychological challenges of the months-long journey to Mars, and see a 360-degree view of what the world looks like from space too.
You’ll also want to take the time to hear stories about the real-life people behind some of our most historic advances in flight.
In addition to offering interactive displays and important historical context, Above and Beyond aims to inspire children and young adults to consider future careers in aerospace, as well as to build STEM awareness and skills in students in grades K-12. At the exhibition, kids can see a montage of individuals sharing their passion and enthusiasm for their jobs in the aerospace industry, and are invited to share their own visions of what they hope flight looks like one hundred years from now.
Who knows? Maybe it’s your child who is destined to design flying robots that make our lives easier or reusable space vehicles that make space travel as common as air travel is today.
Above and Beyond opens January 29, 2016 and runs through May, 8 2016. Admission for Saint Louis Science Center members is $5 for adults and $4 for children and seniors. For non-members, admission is $10 for adults; $8 for children and seniors. Tickets can be purchased at the Science Center, or online.
Learn more and get tickets at slsc.org
Alyssa Chirco is a freelance writer, mother and margarita lover, not necessarily in that order. In addition to writing for STL Parent, she is Contributing Editor at Parenting Squad, and covers parenting, health and lifestyle topics for publications across the country. She recently moved from the suburbs of St. Louis to a small town in rural Jefferson County, where she is learning to survive with no Target or Starbucks in sight. Follow her on Twitter @AlyssaChirco
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