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Amy Flory

Science center provides a respite from winter

It’s still winter. Have you noticed? We certainly have, and are pining for spring days that bring trips to the park and the ability to go outside without the task of rustling up the necessary snow gear. One of our favorite activities during these cold, indoor days is visiting the Connecticut Science Center.

The science center is one of the most impressive places to take kids in Connecticut. Located in Hartford, it boasts 150 hands-on exhibits, a 3-D digital theater, and a wide variety of topics to entertain family members of all ages in its 144,000 square foot building.

We have spent hours exploring the multiple floors and their dizzying array of educational fun, and my children, being four and six, particularly love the Lego Imagination Station, the Stream Table, and the Sight and Sound Experience.

There is always a traveling exhibit, and currently Lost in Egypt is on display. When we visited last week, the kids deciphered hieroglyphics, sat on a camel replica, and pieced together a 3-D pottery puzzle, pretending to be archaeologists reconstructing a clay pot with found pieces. We explored photographs of ancient Egypt, comparing them to current day pictures depicting cities and children playing soccer, and saw a real life human mummy. It’s a very interesting exhibit, and will be available until May 4.

Usually when we visit, we arrive in the morning and pack a lunch to enjoy at the tables provided, or grab something from the onsite café. There is a third option now for hungry patrons, with a newly opened Subway.

Last spring, we purchased a family membership, and we have easily used it enough times to make that investment a great value. Sometimes the kids and I will have a few hours open up in the afternoon and zip up for a few hours. We may not have time to see everything, but that’s okay. We’ll be back soon to catch what we missed.

Every time we visit the science center, I pack extra clothing for my children. By far, their favorite spot in the vast building is the KidSpace water area. Flanked by benches for the parents, kids wear bright blue smocks meant to keep water off the kids’ clothing — which work with varying degrees of success. The siren song of the Lego water table pulls my boy in and keeps him there for as long as I’ll allow, while his little sister grabs a container and gets to work filling, dumping, refilling, and transferring water from one water table to another. There are bright plastic balls that are sucked into clear tubes and spit out somewhere else. It’s very cool, and even though you’ll see it as soon as you enter the center, make it your last stop, not your first, to keep clothing dry until the end.

The Connecticut Science Center is a wonderful place to spend a cold, winter day, with or without children. It is located at 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, near the convention center. Hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Parking is available in the garage. See more information at www.CTsciencecenter.org.



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