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!
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.
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.
ExploraZone engages learners of all ages with hands-on stations exploring a wealth of physics concepts, including force and motion, energy transformation, mechanics and perception. Visitors can construct and investigate the movement of a catenary arch, explore the science behind optical illusions, discover properties of periodic motion or examine the math behind movement.
Life Size Games for Life Size Fun! Come PLAY and learn the many concepts of physics with GIANT versions of popular games. Your heart will be pumping and your brain will be tingling in this one-of-a-kind BRAND NEW exhibit, made and produced by our own Exhibits team at the Discovery Center. What can you learn by playing Jenga, Kerplunk, Soccer Billiards, Lite Brite, Chess and Checkers? Physics @ Play explores the science of Physics while engaging the inner child in all of us- through play!
Discover the force of Gravity with the Giant Jenga game. Manipulate the various structural loads that are supporting the structure even after being comprised. What do you notice when two edge blocks are removed leaving only the center block?
Discover how Compression comes into play when two objects are pushed together with the Giant Kerplunk game. In this game all of the sticks are pushed together along with the balls. How many sticks can you remove before the compression is relased and all the balls fall to the bottom?
GOAL! Learn all about kinetic energy and trajectory with GIANT SOCCER BILLIARDS. Explore this game of collisions and see first-hand Newton’s Laws of Motion.
Create endless patterns with our colorful GIANT LITE BRITE wall. This timeless Lite Brite exhibit creates mesmerizing opportunities for play. Kids of all ages will enjoy making patterns with acrylic rods in six colors. Parents will love the trip down memory lane when they see this classic toy designed at large scale. This activity is perfect for solo play or for a group of kids.
Physics @ Play is Produced by the Don Harrington Discovery Center and generously Sponsored by the Kimble Foundation and the Mullins Foundation.
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.
NEW! Now Open
Open May 11- December 18
Discover the properties of sound and vibration. What do sounds feel like? What is the difference between the meow of a kitten and the roar of a lion? How does the mass of an object affect the way it vibrates or the sounds that it makes? Find out this year with this traveling exhibit at the Don Harrington Discovery Center!
Amazing Bodies takes visitors on a journey through the anatomy of the human body and examines how body systems function both independently and in relationship with each other. Through interactive learning stations visitors will explore concepts of learned vs. inherited traits in humans and animals, the role DNA plays in heredity, and life cycles.
Opens September 2st!
Spark your curiosity of the wonders of electricity in this interactive exhibit. Just as Ben Franklin engaged in hands-on experimentation with electricity, you will too! Insulate yourself from the hair-raising, static electricity effects of the Van der Graaf generator. Explore energy consumption, generation, and how to interact safely around this important form of energy. Learn about the important jobs of the lineman and electrical engineers and dress the part as you learn about the equipment and technology that is used to power all of the electronics in your life. Learn how electricity is created and explore-the energy sources needed to generate our electricity. Find out which of your friends might glow in our Electron Excitement Room. All Charged Up! will cater to a wide audience and encourage visitors to think critically and explore the science, technology, and engineering behind electricity.
All Charged Up! is generously sponsored by Public Steele, Inc., Dr. Kent Roberts & Ilene Roberts Balliett Foundation, Waite & Genevieve Phillips Foundation, Xcel Energy, Duke Electric, Happy State Bank, KAMR Local 4 News & Fox 14 News, BMC, Elliot Electric Supply, GraybaR, and Marsh Electric.