MONROE — The Monroe Science Center is roughly six months away from opening, according to Pete Hovanec, communications and tourism officer for the City of Monroe.
Hovanec shared information about some of the exhibits kids can play with and learn from during the regular City Council meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 18). The exhibits are designed for all kids between preschool age up to early high school.
Boss Display is constructing, delivering and installing about 12 exhibits at a cost of $316,800.
The Science Center has collected $192,000 in donations, which will be used to cover the cost of the exhibits — leaving a balance of $124,800.
“Boss Display also offered a multiple-exhibit discount to help bring the costs down,” according to a staff report.
Hovanec said several other companies will provide exhibits. The Science Center, when full, will have a total of 40 exhibits that cover four major sectors of Union County: aerospace, agriculture, healthcare and manufacturing. The exhibits will be spread out across the 16,000 square foot building located at 316 E. Franklin St. in Monroe.
In the aerospace section, kids can learn about airplanes through an interactive exhibit where they make paper planes and launch them through targets. Then they can go to the Bernoulli Blower to learn about air circulation and how it keeps the wings of a plane in flight. A Bernoulli blower keeps a ball in motion mid-air as air is pushed toward it and circulates around it, according to Hovanec
He talked about a magnetic wall with moving gears where kids can design a pattern and watch a ball flow through the pattern. Too, a painting wall made from slate is a planned exhibit. Kids use water to “paint” on the slate wall.
A 16 foot interactive water table is planned for younger kids as well as an illumination station, which will be similar to Lite Brite toys. There will also be a hand crank generator that will turn on incandescent light bulbs and teach kids about electricity, according to Hovanec.
Virtual reality exhibits are planned for older kids, he said
Finally, the Science Center will have an A4 Skyhawk Jet on display. A nonprofit organization that helps with the Warbirds Airshow donated the plane to the center for a minimum of five years. Kids will not be allowed to climb into the plane; however, during those five years the center will look for a plane that kids can climb into and tour, he said.
In light of the coronavirus pandemic, Hovanec said the center has up to 15 hand washing stations and there have been conversations with the cleaning crew on how to keep the center sanitary. He said the water in water exhibits will be changed out daily.