[Source: Jahna Berry, Arizona Republic] — The Arizona Science Center in downtown Phoenix boldly is going where it hasn’t gone before. A $25.2 million campaign will transform the 25-year-old institution from floor to ceiling in 3 1/2 years, adding a little theme-park pizzazz. A “Forces of Nature” gallery that opens in April will have moving floors and will simulate wind, rain and heat, museum officials say.
Across the country, science centers are hunting for ways to inspire sophisticated grade-schoolers who’ve mastered Nintendo Wii and have grown up with the Internet. At the Museum of Science and Industry in Tampa, children can experience the force of hurricane winds. At the Discovery Science Center in Santa Ana, Calif., visitors can get rattled by a simulated earthquake. And, in Phoenix, the institution must take the same approach to survive, balancing traditional exhibits with the wow factor, said Chevy Humphrey, president/CEO of the Arizona Science Center. “Science centers are at a crossroads,” she said. The best museums combine learning and “the wow…taking the chance to talk to children in the language that they want to be spoken to.” [Note: To read the full article, click here.]