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    The much anticipated new early childhood exhibit at the Kentucky Science Center, Science in Play, opens Friday July 3 for Science Center members and Saturday, July 4 for the general public. Science in Play is powered by PNC Grow Up Great as well as many other sponsors and funders from around the city and state. Thursday, local media were invited to see the new exhibit space, and my children and I were able to experience it yesterday morning for

    The event began at 10am with a press conference, and those in attendance heard the executive director of the Kentucky Science Center Joanna Haas speak and welcome everyone to the event. Mayor Greg Fischer spoke as well, and the crowd who was gathered also met the Kentucky Science Center's Curious Kids Board members. Haas said, "Through the portal of play, young kids and their families are empowered to translate their everyday activities at home and beyond into opportunities for learning. In this, we are excited to join our supporters as well as city and state leaders in the important job of setting children on the right path to succeed in school and life.”

    Once the press conference convened, the children were released and many immediately flocked to the newest attraction at the center, the Happy Climber. It welcomes children and families to the space with a happy smile and a very interactive system of tunnels and winding passages that take children up toward the ceiling of the space, fourteen feet high, and back down. In the first area that visitors will come upon on the first floor there is the build your own roller coaster, Happy Climber, Grateful Gears, the mirror maze and a musical sound experience. One side of this main area (which is where the former traveling exhibit space was housed) is the former play area known as KidZone. On the other side is the new space designed with very little people in mind and is a much larger and more interactive area for infants and toddlers. The entire early childhood exhibit runs the whole first floor, replacing the previous 5000 square feet with nearly 11, 000 square feet of hands-on learning space for open-ended play and exploration.

    Everything about the Science in Play space is bigger and better, including:


    -- Build-Your-Own Rollercoaster – an exploration in physics and engineering

    -- Shapes & Stuff Store – a math-rich shopping experience

    -- Little Build – an interactive area where young children can put their engineering skills to work


    -- Science Depot – a fully integrated area with activities

    -- Splash! Water Table – a popular sensory experience which remains a staple of the Science Center

    -- Mirror Maze – a challenging exploration in mirrors which encourages children to observe and explore

    -- Build Your World – an experience built around playing with large blocks

    -- Optimusic – a motion-sensing light and sound show exploring patterns and recognition

    -- Noodle Forest – an immersive sensory experience featuring pool noodles which encourages cause and effect

     ALL NEW:

    -- Happy Climber - has children climbing and using gross motor skills and problem solving as they find their way through the maze

    -- Color & Light – an engaging room that gives young visitors the chance to experiment with colors, shadow, and light

    -- Grow Zone – a protected play space dedicated to infants and toddlers

    -- Grateful Gears – an experience made of interlocking parts which demonstrates engineering skills

    -- Pump It – a highly interactive air experience

    Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for children ages 2-12. Science in Play officially opens this Saturday, July 4 at 9:30am. It is open now to Science Center members. The Science Center's hours are Sunday-Thursday 9:30am-5pm and Friday-Saturday 9:30am-9pm. It is located at 727 West Main Street. You can call 502-561-6100 for more information.

    Photos by Erin Nevitt

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    About Erin Nevitt

    Longtime Louisvillian, I am a children's librarian at heart and have a passion for children's lit. I am most recently a stay-at-home mom who is always on the move, searching for family fun in Louisville. If it's free, it's preferable!

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