Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 26
The Discovery Museum expands its reach
Celebrating 15 years of inspiring children and adults alike, the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum will move forward with plans to serve a broader age range of children. The museum has largely targeted preschool children but its strategic plan going forward is to serve 8-, 9-, and 10-year-olds, starting with its expanded whale exhibit opening in September.
This second phase of the museum’s current “Belly of the Whale” exhibit includes a new kiosk that houses a highly interactive educational video that teaches about whale species, their habitats, and migratory patterns. The installation also explains echolocation, and uses the idea of whale size in relation to everyday objects to teach math, measurement, and prediction concepts. A number of hands-on education stations also use games to help children learn about how sound travels through waves and more.
Another development this fall is the arrival of the highly anticipated Mobile Oil Field Learning Unit (MOLU) in October. MOLU is a $1.2 million traveling exhibit that teaches children about how energy is created through oil exploration, natural gas, and geology. The installation makes its California debut at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum before touring through Southern California schools and other museums in November. Sponsored by the Central Coast Education Collaborative, the exhibit consists of six self-contained components with curriculum-based, hands-on learning activities exploring the science and the technology of energy. The exhibit will remain at the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum through Oct. 16. Schools wishing to book complimentary field trips to the museum can visit centralcoasteducation.org to book a slot.
Meanwhile, the museum will also continue offering its ongoing exhibits highlighting the wildlife of the nearby Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes; the origins of local produce and the rural ranching life; the culture behind the region’s world-famous Santa Maria Style Barbecue; and a “Mars Climbing Wall” and other space-industry elements that celebrate the sights and sounds of nearby Vandenberg Air Force Base.
Another exhibit, “Whose poop is that?,” is a playful exhibit that features replicas of bird waste—all arranged on the windshield of a play speedboat—to help children learn about various local sea bird species.
Other favorite museum features include a body-sized bubblemaker; a crafts station; a reptile collection complete with red boa constrictors, iguanas, tortoises, geckos, toads and a bearded dragon; and a shipwreck on which to climb, with a boardwalk and treasure chest. Games that test one’s sight and other senses, as well as a vet station, classic-style diner, and fire station also make up the mix.
For more information, visit smvdiscoverymuseum.org or call 928-8414.