Tuesday, June 19, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 15

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on July 29th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 21 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 21

Discovery Corner: Exhibits within exhibits



People ask us all the time, “How many exhibits do you have?” This seems like a relatively easy question, especially for those of us who actually work and play here, but every time this brain teaser pops up, my mind begins to scramble and count, and before too long it becomes one of the most intricate mathematical problems I've ever faced—truly something to tease Einstein or his modern day equivalent. However, mathematics is a crucial part of education, so let’s break this equation down into what we can call the first ever Discovery Corner math problem. Get your notepad and calculator, fasten your glasses to the top of your nose, and turn on some Mozart because this is about to get serious.

To the untrained eye, it might seem as if there are 18 exhibits: the Bunkhouse, Rancho Pasquini Barn, Mighty Machines, Planting Station, Tar Pits, Diner, Tale of the Whale, Discovery Cove, Pirate Ship, USS Discovery, Mission to Mars, Walking Piano, Big Bank, Bubble Machine, Creation Station, Fire Station, Insect Lab, and the Giant Microscope. However, once you actually get involved in each exhibit, or exhibit area, you will find that there are way more than 18 things to learn. We call this the “exhibit within exhibit” phenomena. For example, the barn area also holds R.H. Tesene’s BBQ Hall of Fame, which features a history of Santa Maria family brands, plus a real tractor for children to touch, learn, and play on. The planting station always supplies three different crops to choose from, providing a lesson in horticulture. When you are done finding bones in the tar pits, you can play an interactive game with Leander the American Lion, or try the interactive touch screen at Tale of the Whale! At the pirate ship, when you are done chasing scalawags, you can learn about fecal identification of coastal birds, as well as different local fish and crustaceans, or test your sea legs in a boat. At Mission to Mars, not only are you testing your physical strength and stamina on the rock wall, but you can learn all about the red planet by reading the informational plaques at the site. Oh, and let’s not forget about the newly added organ, where kids can get in tune with their musical side. I’ve named just a few, but in total there are more than 40 exhibit areas with far more than one thing to do, see, or touch.

We encourage you to come, play, and explore the museum and discover all the extra intricate things each exhibit offers. Each day is an adventure here, and how long an adventure lasts depends on how hard you look (or how many carbs you ate for breakfast). You never know what you’ll find … .

The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is at 705 South McClelland St. in Santa Maria. We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.


Erin Kiniry, program coordinator for the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, wrote this week’s Discovery Corner, a weekly column in the Sun highlighting events, science activities, and more. Send comments to discoverycorner@santamariasun.com.

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