Thursday, March 16, 2017

Maryland Science Center, Baltimore Part I

The Maryland Science Center is located on the south end of Baltimore's Inner Harbor. The main audience is children but adult can enjoy (and learn from) the exhibits too. My son and I went for a camp-in, which let us enjoy the exhibits after hours. We had to share with a bunch of other scouts but hardly enough to make the place seem crowded.

Our first stop was Newton's Alley. The alley has lots of interactive exhibits based on classical mechanics.

Floating magnet trick

The displays had plenty of pulleys doing various jobs. One station had block and tackle arrangements to help visitors pull themselves up.

Raising himself to new heights

A tug-of-war display taught visitors the value of where to attach a rope to a weight. On one side, the rope is attached to the bottom of the tower, requiring a great deal of force to pull the tower down. The other side has the rope attached to the top, requiring much less force.

One-man tug-of-war

Another display has a ball suspended in mid-air by blowing air. The air circulates around the ball, stabilizing it and keeping it from falling down.

Floating ball trick

Another station had the boys sitting down to pump a ball up a shaft.

Not sure which principle this is demonstrating, should have read the sign!

Another display shows how you would weigh differently on different planets (which have different levels of gravitational pull on their surfaces). My son was dying to find out, so we dropped a coin to get the information.

Weight changes machine

One set of stats

Pluto is clearly not strong enough to compete with other "real" planets

My son's favorite device was the musical Rube Goldberg device. In it, marbles follow along tracks, occasionally striking different instruments inside of the machine. He came back to this several times.

A fun device for sure

Upstairs is an exhibit on the human body and how amazing it is. Luckily we went there while the museum was still open, so one of the staff was operating the bed of nails. Patrons are invited to lie down on a table with lots of little holes in it. Then the operator throws the switch and all the nails come up and raise the visitor off the table. We both tried it and it was quite amazing. Not the most comfortable bed ever, but not too bad either.

My son relaxes at the museum

Another exhibit purports to let visitors zoom into their bodies and see cells in action. The images were the same for him and me, so I suspect some chicanery going on behind the scenes.

A viewer that lets you "see" inside your body

Looking at heart cells

Brains were on display here, there, and everywhere. During the sleep-over, we slept by the big head with the skull cap removed.

Brain in an empty vat

Not the most comforting bedtime companion

That brain/bust wasn't nearly as creepy as the vegetable man down the hall. Maybe it's a woman?

Vegetable person

Piecing together a human skeleton (well, a replica of one) was another fun exhibit with some creep-factor.

Leg bone is connected to the knee bone, right?

More on the science center's exhibits in the next post!

No comments:

Post a Comment