One of our favorite types of places to visit are ones like Science Museum Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. These large scale attractions are a great place to spend large amounts of time and be able to entertain all ages. While they are designed to engage the younger crowd, most have taken steps to make sure that adults have just as much fun. In the end, we walk out having been entertained and perhaps we also learned a few things in the meantime.
We want to thank the Visit Oklahoma City and the Science Museum Oklahoma for their hospitality. Rest assured that all opinions are our own.
We arrived at Science Museum Oklahoma around opening time, so that we would be able to beat the crowds to the exhibits. Once we had passed admissions, we found ourselves deposited in a huge gallery room. It was filled with eye candy displays that made us want to explore in more detail. Everything looks so inviting and unique. Where to start this massive mission? Fortunately, Crystal is in charge of the mapping duties, because I would just end up running from exhibit to exhibit.
Our visit occurred in the summer, and the temps for the day were expected to climb. Crystal guided us to the SMO Garden area to begin our tour, so we could beat the heat. This green space is designed to engage kids and adults with games and play, which also teaches at the same time. All around the perimeter were plenty of garden beds that produce colorful and useful flowers, vegetables, and fruits. We love that they are providing a space for pollinators, who need all of the help we humans can give. We tried our hands at a few of the lawn games they had set up, but skipped our chance on the sand movers.
The garden area is equipped with some nice seating options, as well. Crystal found a small sunken space to do a little reading about the science center, while I was busy taking pictures. Lots of shade makes the space even more inviting.
Segway! No Way!
Back inside, we headed for the main gallery room again. By now a few more patrons had arrived and the place was beginning to get busy. Smack dab in the middle of the room is a track that offers visitors a chance to test out a Segway. This is one of the coolest displays we have seen and obviously we were not alone in thinking this. All the time that we were in Science Museum Oklahoma there was a constant line for this particular exhibit. Of course, on the outside was a non-stop flow of parents videoing their kids voyages on the equipment. So much fun!
Being Light Minded
We watched the Segway traffic for a few minutes and then headed into the Light Minded exhibit room. In this space are a collection of displays designed to demonstrate the amazing abilities of various forms of light. A shadow stopper will capture your shadow on a large wall. Here we saw lots of people trying some interesting poses including being captured in mid-jump. Nearby we found a Tesla Coil, plasma tube, and strobe light demonstrations. The Colored Shadow Wall was another big hit with guests. Here you pose in a certain place and your shadow is separated into multiple colors.
Science Museum Oklahoma wants to be sure that everyone gets an opportunity to engage in the activities, no matter their age. The KidSpace area is designed for the much younger crowd, so they will have a safe and fun space to explore. They can climb a tractor, explore a fire station or play at the ever popular water table.
How would you like to explore a 20,000 square foot city? That is what we did in CurioCity. (pronounced curiosity) It is filled with eight distinct neighborhoods that are designed to be impressively interactive. A school group was passing through the exhibits at the same time as we were, so we were able to watch their interactions. It really highlighted just how much enjoyment can be found in this type of play.
As we made our way through the neighborhoods, we discovered so many interesting displays. All of them are designed to be fun, but leave the visitors with a better understanding of the science behind the activity. Balls float on a cushion of air that can be directed by guests. Another exhibit allows people to design and fly heir own versions of paper airplanes. Speaking of paper, a couple of staff members had a setup that allowed people to make their own recycled paper.
We moved farther into CurioCity and discovered even more fun. It almost felt like a carnival atmosphere, as there were an assortment of games and activities that seemed to be more designed for fun than learning. Of course, each still had a basic scientific principle attached, but that only accentuated the fun. Crystal and I took a turn at competing with the ball shooting game called Action Reaction. Here we used stationary slingshots to shoot foam balls at colored targets. The goal was to hit your color of target. While we both did a decent job, it was clear that some of the kids had been practicing at this particular exhibit.
Playing Mind Games
We stumbled upon the Mind Games area, which we had almost to ourselves. This space is filled with optical illusions and exhibits designed to trick your eyes. A series of pictures on one wall had four faces that could be viewed two ways.
An over-sized table and chairs created a chance to pose for a forced perspective shot. No, we weren’t shrunk. As you can see, we were two of the biggest kids in the place. Although this pic makes us look a little less big!
Aviation Through The Years
The Aviation space is filled with some interesting pieces from aviation history. It’s not often we get a look at so many types of drones in one place. It amazes us that these pieces are actually able to maintain flight, as they look way too heavy for their wingspans.
The space also includes a collection of aircraft. Here we found everything from one person crafts to small planes. There is even a fighter jet on site. This exhibit is tucked away behind the Tiny Tracks railroad exhibit, so we found it to be overlooked, as well. Of course, when we passed through the train display we found where all of the kids were hanging out.
Science Museum Oklahoma has a massive 350,000 square feet of space, which allows them to offer tons of exhibits, as well as a room for temporary displays. During our visit, the traveling space was filled with Into The Fold: The Art and Science of Origami. Here they have displays of the works of 30 different artists.
We wandered through the gallery investigating all of the displays. It is amazing to see the intricate designs that can be created with such a simple medium. To us it wasn’t just the idea of folding the paper, but also the creation of the concept for each piece. They even have some folded paper clothing on display. So much thought that had to go into each piece. At the back of the exhibit is a video loop that details some of the experiences of the artists who work in this art style. This exhibit is fascinating, but only runs until the end of January 2019. We are sure the next exhibit will be just as amazing.
Being travel bloggers means that we must somewhat adhere to a schedule. This is done to allow us to showcase as many choices as possible about a destination city. Unfortunately, this also means that we don’t always get to see and do every activity at a location. Science Museum Oklahoma is massively large, and would easily require an entire day to explore. With our time running out, we knew it was time to prepare to move along. We hope to have another chance to visit this site, and perhaps it will be a day that allows leisurely discovery. The planetarium would certainly be on our return list, as well as some of their Science Live shows. We would definitely head back to CurioCity for some more interactive fun. Oh, and next time I’m riding a Segway! Which area of the science center looks like one you would like to explore?