On our way home from Atlanta, we decided on Nashville as our stopping point. Again, we used the ASTC Passport program to visit another science center for free. We spent the morning at the Adventure Science Center. The kids and I spent the evening before browsing the website to investigate the exhibits and make a game plan. We were still 7 hours from home, so we wanted to use our time wisely and still get on the road at a decent hour.
I was very excited to see that the science center has two exhibits on the human body! We have been studying anatomy using Sassafras Science Adventures. I love when our curriculum comes alive through hands-on learning. We started our visit in the BodyQuest exhibit where we saw what areas of the brain control different functions, played MindBall, sit on a cross-section of bone, walked inside a windpipe to learn more about the respiratory system, investigated a 10-foot heart, and sailed down a colorectal slide. Having mostly boys, my kids thought traveling out the digestive system through a colon slide was pretty awesome.
Next, we headed to the Adventure Tower. While the tower has components covering energy, light, sound, art, and more, my favorite part was the continuation of anatomy elements. The kids climbed through all four chambers of the heart, navigated a climbing wall composed of the epidermal layers, and climbed up a vertebrae ladder. At the top, they were rewarded with amazing views of downtown Nashville.
Since we had just visited the Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, we were excited to continue that theme here in Nashville in the Space Chase exhibit. The whole family enjoyed the interactive learning activities in the Solar System Survey. The to-scale models of each planet were the highlight. I took the older three to the Test Bed area to do the Moonwalk and EVA Experience. (Since the youngest wasn’t big enough to do those, he went with Daddy to Destination Exploration – a tactile area for those ages 0-5.) For the Moonwalk, one must be between 50-300 pounds and 45-78 inches tall. The requirements for the EVA are between 75-250 pounds and 48-78 inches tall. The 7-year-old and 9-year-old did not meet the requirements for the EVA, but the 11-year-old did. It was a short wait and the staff securely harnessed the kids in for their activities. The Moonwalk simulates 1/6 gravity as you bounce your way to the end of the path and back. You can experience the difficulties of working in a weightless environment on the EVA as you try your hand at tasks while suspended in air. This area was definitely the favorite part of the three older kids and the youngest enjoyed the area just for him.
We arrived at the center at opening and it was very crowded – the line extended out the door. However, by deciding to start on the second floor and work our way backward, we were able to avoid any congestion. I was pleasantly surprised at how we were able to experience the museum even with the crowds and keep on a good pace to get back on the road. The Adventure Science Center was a great choice for a stop along our path and I would recommend you visit if you are in the area.
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