Connecticut Science CenterYikes! Another school holiday’s on the way! The good news for families living within driving distance of Hartford? The Connecticut Science Center is open on Martin Luther King Day! Do I seem too excited? What can I say? A museum that’s open on school holidays gets high marks in my book.

Fortunately, my two kids give the Connecticut Science Center two thumbs up too. Ever since we went on New Year’s Day (yes, the Center’s open then too), they’ve been clamoring to go back.

Why? Because of the amazing variety of fun and interactive exhibits.

Here are some highlights:

KidSpace, the gallery designed for kids grades 2 and under.  Waterplay, the gallery’s center-piece exhibit is a must-see. Here, kids can toss a plastic ball into an open canal and watch as jets of water propel it through-see pipes until finally it is sucked into a watery vortex.  Nearby another water feature lets kids explore how fountains work.  Think a visit to Waterplay is a recipe for soggy clothes? You’re right. Fortunately, the museum provides waterproof smocks. Even so, as the museum web-site recommends, you’d be smart to bring along a change of clothes, including socks.

In the Forces in Motion gallery, kids can learn about the power of magnets, wind and robotics. I’m not sure what was the biggest hit with my sons. Was it the create-your-own-helicopter station? The robotic arm that shoots baskets with the help of a kid-friendly touch-screen monitor? The mini go-carts ready for downhill racing? As far as making learning fun, all of these activities were winners.

Another popular exhibit was “Esther Eats” in the Picture of Health gallery. Kids insert cut-outs of food into Esther’s mouth. As they do, the computer gives a break-down of the nutrients. A hand-crank lets kids increase or decrease Esther’s exercise regimen. As the figure on the screen expands and contracts, children can see the outward effects of the dietary and lifestyle choices they make.

From a parent’s perspective there is one more reason to love the Connecticut Science Center – easy, low-cost parking, accessible from elevators that take you straight to the Center’s lobby. So after our budding paleontologists thrilled to SeaRex in the museum’s state-of-the-art 3D theater, it was easy to just jump in the car and head home.

So, if you’re looking for a great destination where your family can play and learn, head over to the Connecticut Science Center. We’ll see you there and maybe we’ll even challenge your family to a game of Mindball.

Photo provided by the Connecticut Science Center.

The Connecticut Science Center is located at 250 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford, CT 06103.  860-SCIENCE