With a clang of giant levers and the launch of a soda-bottle rocket, Kidspace Children's Museum is opening an expansive new outdoor playground that aims to make physics fun.
The 30,000-square-foot Robert & Mary Galvin Physics Forest, debuting Thursday, offers 13 interactive exhibits that demonstrate fundamental scientific concepts and encourage hands-on learning.
Velocity, trajectory and force are at work in a 50-foot rubber ball firing range.
Potential energy becomes kinetic energy in the “roller coaster,” in which users must get a ball through a tangle of interchangeable tubes that include a loop-de-loop and other obstacles.
Another station lets kids adjust weights to either speed or slow a rolling wheel, illustrating the concept of angular momentum. Or, as Kidspace Chief Executive and former classroom science teacher Michael Shanklin puts it, “why some galaxies spin faster because their mass is closer to the center.”
Shanklin's inner child came out to play Thursday as he demonstrated the museum's new toys, also including a lever-powered tug-of-war game and a “bottle blaster” that shoots its missiles several stories high.