Explore over 8,000 square feet of hands-on, fun and interactive learning opportunities from both national and international touring exhibits and select permanent exhibits from the DHDC collection. Exhibits change every fall, spring and summer, providing visitors new discoveries every visit! Click here to see our digital map and plan your visit!
Opens May 28, 2021
EXPLORE THE INNER WORKINGS OF TOYS! If your parents never let you break open your Etch A Sketch® to find out how it works, or if you’ve been wondering how to stop your toddler’s push toy from making such an infernal racket, you’ll love Toys: The Inside Story. This new exhibition illustrates the simple mechanisms commonly found in toys, and lets visitors create their own toy-like combinations of gears, pulleys, linkages, cams, and circuits.
The exhibition was developed by the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich, Vt., as part of the Traveling Exhibits at Museums of Science (TEAMS) collaborative. Funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, this appearance of Toys: The Inside Story is sponsored locally by generous donors.
Dive into the world of simple machines and construction with this brand new exhibit designed and built by DHDC. Get hands-on with heavy machinery and try constructing your own building as you become the architect, engineer and construction manager. Guests of all ages will create, play and learn while exploring the concepts of construction, motion and simple machines that make cities and towns grow! Hand operate a pulley or conveyor belt to explore cause and effect. Turn the wheels of a gantry crane to transport cargo and discover mechanical physics at work. Operate a child-sized crane to hook, lift and move objects and materials. Build structures with blocks, pipes and gears while learning about size, weight, shape, balance, gravity and stability.
Maker Metropolis was produced by the Don Harrington Discovery Center exhibits team and is generously sponsored by The Waite & Genevieve Phillips Foundation, Xcel Energy, Joe Soliz Masonry, Panhandle of Texas Chapter – Associated General Contractors, John Kritser, KAMR Local 4 News & Fox14 News, Bell and Happy State Bank. These in-kind donors also contributed to the production of this exhibit: L.A. Fuller & Sons, BMC, Amarillo Bolt, A-1 Rocket, Fabwright, and Texas Barricades &
Planetary Landscapes examines landforms and the changes they undergo over time. Hands-on exhibits and colorful graphics allow visitors to explore common landforms and the forces that create change to the Earth’s surface such as volcanic eruptions, continental rifts, wind, water and ice. Visitorsts can also investigate the similarities and differences between landforms on Earth and those found on the surfaces of our celestial neighbors.
We are excited to be one of the institutions across the country awarded a copy of the Sun, Earth, Universe exhibit.
This engaging, hands-on interactive exhibit is filled with dazzling imagery, and will connect you with current NASA science research and launch you on a journey to explore the universe! The Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibition was developed in collaboration with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Sun, Earth, Universe exhibitions are developed and distributed nationwide by the National Informal STEM Education Network (NISE Network).
How is Earth changing? What is it like on other planets? Does life exist beyond Earth? What’s happening on the Sun, and how does it affect us? Sun, Earth, Universe is a new exhibition about our planet, the solar system, and the universe, and the big questions NASA is trying to answer about each.
Sun, Earth, Universe includes fun and compelling exhibits for visitors of all ages. Follow the design-build-test cycle of engineering and build a model spacecraft for your own mission to space. Spin a tumbler of 10,000 beads, representing all of the stars we can see from Earth to search for the unique one that represents our Sun. Reveal hidden images using the same tools NASA scientists employ to explore the otherwise invisible forces and energy of the universe. Help younger visitors pilot rovers across the Mars landscape play table. These fun experiences (and many more!) introduce visitors to ongoing NASA research in the fields of heliophysics, Earth science, planetary science, and astrophysics, and encourage them to imagine what the future of Earth and space science might hold.
Nano engages visitors in nanoscale science, engineering and technology. Hands-on exhibits present the basics of nanoscience and engineering, introduce real world applications and explore the societal and ethical implications of this technology. Visitors discover how different materials behave as they get smaller, work to build a giant nanotube and compare effects of static electricity and gravity on different objects.
Imagination Playground is designed to inspire children-directed learning. Giant blue foam blocks of all shapes and sizes, oversized cogs, wheels, spools and tubes stimulate creativity in children of all ages and inspire them to invent their own ways to play. Kids work together to create original structures and make up their own stories, rules and games. Younger learners practice skills such as hand-eye coordination; fine motor development; spatial awareness and foundational math and science thinking while older kids experiment with concepts of force, inertia, gravity, simple machines, measurement and geometry.
“Geared Up: Futures in STEM” will give children and adults the chance to gear up for a career in STEM by ‘becoming’ a scientist, nurse, meteorologist, pilot, or other STEM professional while learning through play.
The “Geared Up: Futures in STEM” will feature two to four learning “pods” on a rotating basis designed to immerse guests in STEM fields. Guests will create, play, and learn as they explore the concepts of science, technology, engineering and math utilized in these local careers with an emphasis on career opportunities in the Texas Panhandle.
The exhibit is currently showcasing the Meteorology and Broadcast piece. Guests can look forward to exploring additional STEM careers, coming soon. “Geared Up: Futures in STEM” is a dedicated area at the Discovery Center designed to expose children and families to STEM careers in a fun and engaging environment and learn about local STEM industries.
Located on the southeast side of DHDC’s front entrance, this outdoor science park features a fossil dig pit, hands-on learning, and engineering marvels. The Outdoor Science Park includes a gazing ball, whisper dishes, chair lift and the tennis ball launcher, a Kundu Drum, Grandioso Chimes, Kettle Drum, 2 life-sized animatronic dinosaurs and many other pieces. This outdoor exploration space adds a dynamic space for school groups and families, filled with ample seating for a picnic lunch or snacks during your visit to DHDC. Park hours are the same as normal DHDC visitation hours, with the exception of inclement weather. Discovery Center regular admission includes access to the Outdoor Science Park. Funding for DHDC’s Outdoor Science Park is provided by ASCO, Xcel Energy, and the Future’s Bright Donors.
Located just outside the Space Theater, The Space Gallery is dedicated to exploring weather conditions on Earth and beyond. Multimedia presentations reveal real-time data regarding weather conditions on Earth and explore the science of common weather phenomena. Interactive displays examine space weather concepts such as auroras, solar flares and cosmic rays and uncover their effect on the Earth.
Designed for our youngest scientists, KinderStudio is a permanent exploration space for children ages 0-6. Interactive, imaginative play areas feature a climbing structure, tumbling space with mats, a lighted performance stage, hands-on manipulatives (blocks, tubes, and toys) and raw materials for creative play (i.e. shells, pine cones and popsicle sticks).
Your visit to the DHDC will not be complete without meeting some furry and scaly friends. From a Bearded Dragon and Tarantula to a friendly snake we call ’Pinky’, Critter Row introduces guests to animals that come from different regions all around the world. Get an up-close look at these interesting creatures and you may even get an opportunity to touch one of them. Our trained Science Guides occasionally take the animals out to mingle.
What does Full Sensory mean?
Picking things up and feeling their texture is what people often associate with sensory experiences, but it’s about much more than touch!
Sensory learning includes any activity that stimulates a person’s senses of touch, smell, taste, sight, and hearing, as well as anything which engages movement and balance.
While we won’t be working will ALL the senses, the Discover Through Time Exhibit will activate an experience around sound, sight, touch, play, and movement!
The Benefits of a Full Sensory Exhibit
Sensory activities, in addition to being fun and interesting encourage children:
- To explore and investigate.
- To use the ‘scientific method’ of observation, hypothesis formulation, experimentation and coming to a supported conclusion.
- To create stronger connections to sensory information and learn which are useful and which can be filtered out in their brains.
Check out the VR Walkthrough of What is to Come!
Help us Build the Biome:
Together, we will construct Discover Through Time,
a permanent exhibit that will invite visitors on a historic journey through the region’s ecological biomes.
Full-sensory environments will simulate the biome’s climate, humidity, and geological features.
- Inland Sea
- Ancient Pleistocene Grassland
- Woodlands Spruce Forest
- Modern Grassland.
This new space is more than a static exhibit. It features:
- Breakout spaces with learning opportunities
- Reading nooks
- 30+ species of animals
- Hands-on exploration activities
- Life Science Observation Lab
- State-of-the-art mezzanine classroom space on a second-story level overlooking the West Wing.
All funds raised during the Panhandle Gives campaign will go towards funding this exhibit, and we hope you will choose to support the Don Harrington Discovery Center for this year’s Panhandle Gives