St Louis Science Center Review

The St. Louis Science center has many things to do on just any run of the mill normal day. On top of this, they will often have other “visiting” exhibits. They also have an IMAX theatre that is located on the premises. I will briefly discuss each of these attractions.

Many things at the St. Louis Science Center are geared to children. This is a double edged sword to some people. As children are obviously vital for the human race to continue, I understand their importance. As a man without children, I don’t understand (or to be honest particularly like them). This is important because if you do happen to be someone who doesn’t want to be around children, this might not be the destination for you. It is not a bad thing, educating our youth today seems to have taken a back burner in too many places. I even have to admit it is very entertaining to see the young faces light up when they learn something new about science. Since it is in such a fun environment (unlike many classrooms) the kids like to learn and actually leave with new knowledge. It may be wrong, but if you have to trick the kids into learning, then so be it.

As far as the visiting attractions, if you drive anywhere in St. Louis, there will be billboards all over the place that advertise what these attractions are at any given time. The one in particular that I went to see happened to be Body Worlds. As a side note, this attraction was so informative, strange, and just plain cool that the fact that I was on a first date (with a woman who I would eventually be engaged to) didn’t seem to matter. The exhibit was so awe inspiring that any kind of the “first date jitters” where completely gone. When we talked about it later, she said that she had felt the same way.

From the moment you walk into the Center, your senses are bombarded with different things to do with all kinds of science. Because of the layout it isn’t overwhelming and even when it is crowded you never feel like your space is being invaded by the strangers. Of course the kids do run all over looking at things, but that is easily overlooked (similar to the Zoo) because they are having such a good time. Almost everything in the Science Center is interactive. It is a nice change from museums and such that seem to live by the motto “please do not touch”.

One of the minor exhibits that stands out ot most people is a natural water purification system. It starts with dirty water (think mud puddle, not sewage) and shows how mother nature naturally filters water through the ground. The exhibit ends with a water cooler type spout where you can sample the water. I’ll be honest, the first couple of times I was skeptical about trying it out. After seeing the bravery of a multitude of 8 year olds doing it, I felt silly (especially being a Marine) not having the courage to try it. Eventually I did, and as a surprise to no one, the water tasted just like spring water that people pay money for at any gas station.

Another part that always catches peoples attention is a enclosed walkway that goes across highway 44. In several places throughout the floor there are Plexiglas viewing holes. It show you just how fast the traffic is moving as it rockets 10 feet below you at 55+ mph. There are also several radar guns (just like the police officers use) that you can aim at the traffic to see how fast they are going. It is very amusing to realize that the 8 year olds know what the speed limit is (and will comment on it) when the drivers below seem to not have the foggiest idea.

If you have never seen a movie in IMAX format, spend the $8.00 – $20.00 to see one. I have seen Hollywood blockbusters in this way, which is amazing, but I have also seen many documentaries that are similar to what you would watch at home on the History Channel. Having the entire ceiling being the screen is almost overpowering. You actually have to change your line of sight to take in the entire picture. No staring straight ahead at the idiotot box the way you can at home.

Like everything at the St. Louis Science Center, even watching a movie is a learning experience. While you are waiting for your turn to go in and see the movie, the waiting area faces the projection room. The entire outer wall is made of glass so you can see the awesome size of the projectors and film itself. Compared to the local movie theater, IMAX is truly a David and Goliath situation.

On a last note, unlike most things in any major city, finding the Science Center is easy. The signs actually make sense (even if you aren’t from the St. Louis area) and will get you there with no problem. There is plenty of parking and even if you have to park at the farthest space from the door, it is not that much of a walk to get there. As of the last time I was there you didn’t have to pay an entrance fee (special exhibits and IMAX do however cost).

Overall, it is a great place to visit. It is big enough that it will hold your attention, yet small enough that you can see everything with no problem in under a day. Even if science isn’t your thing, check it out. The stuff that you thought you knew is enough to spark anyone’s interest.