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Arizona Science Center facts for kids

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Arizona Science Center 2011
Arizona Science Center

The Arizona Science Center is a science museum located in Heritage and Science Park in the heart of downtown Phoenix. Home to over 350 permanent hands-on exhibits, the Center provides 400,000 annual visitors with interactive experiences. Aside from the permanent exhibitions, Arizona Science Center has featured a number of nationally traveling exhibitions. Along with daily demonstrations throughout the Center, the Center provides shows in the Dorrance Planetarium and in a five-story, giant screen IMAX Theater. This non-profit corporation provides special educational programs and science activities for visitors of all ages including, summer science camp, Adult’s Night Out, thematic events, Stroller Science preschool programs, and the Science on Wheels outreach program.


Arizona Science Center, formerly the Arizona Museum of Science & Technology, was conceived in 1980 as a pilot science center by the Junior League of Phoenix. Incorporated as a private, non-profit corporation in 1982, the Science Center opened its doors to the public in 1984 as a small 10,000-square-foot (930 m2) storefront exhibition space located in the parking garage level of the downtown Phoenix Hyatt. The Science Center’s first year of operation saw more than 87,000 visitors. Some of the original hands-on exhibits are still found in the Center today.

Growth in attendance and an increasing demand for informal science education programs led to the Science Center being awarded more than $33 million in voter-approved disbursements by the 1988 City of Phoenix bond to provide the land and construction of the Science Center’s new permanent home. Construction of the 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2), Antoine Predock-designed facility was completed in 1997. An additional $4.1 million City of Phoenix bond in 1998 added 22,500 square feet (2,090 m2) of much needed classroom and dedicated gallery space for traveling exhibitions.

The Center has grown to be one of the most popular cultural attractions in the state of Arizona. Arizona Science Center has served more than three million patrons since opening its downtown Phoenix facility in 1997. The current facilities include more than 40,000 square feet (3,700 m2) of gallery space; an IMAX Theater seating 289 people; the Dorrance Planetarium, which can seat 210 people; a suite of multimedia classrooms; amenities including a gift shop, food service and lunchroom; and support facilities.

Permanent exhibitions

  • Many Hands Make a Home: Explores the materials, processes, skills and knowledge necessary to build a home in Arizona’s unique environment.
  • All About Me/The Wonder Center: Both mind and body are the subjects of this gallery devoted to human life. Visitors learn about the physiology of moving, the mechanisms of healing, patterns of learning and remembering and new biotechnologies.
  • My Digital World: An exhibition where one can learn more about the information technology that ties us all together. The exhibit, designed by award-winning experience designer Bob Rogers (designer) and the design team BRC Imagination Arts, includes Harkins Ham Shack, home of W7ASC, a working Amateur Radio Station, staffed by local volunteers. Visitors to this exhibit can use Morse Code to transmit their name.
  • Get Charged Up: Experiment with basic forces: gravity, electricity, friction and magnetism. In the Fab Lab visitors can see demonstrations by visiting experts.
  • Solarville: An exhibition that provides fascinating visuals and interactive experiences that engage visitors in exploring how we are affected by the sun, alternative ways to obtain energy using the sun and tips for energy conservation.
  • Forces of Nature: Featuring multiple overhead video screens, surround sound, realistic physical effects and a motion-floor system, the theater showcases one monster storm and extreme geological event after another in a series of immersive montages that puts guests right in the center of the action. The show and the exhibits surrounding the Immersion Theater, which were designed by award-winning experience designer Bob Rogers and the design team BRC Imagination Arts, includes a highly interactive, three-part exhibit zone where guests are able to experiment with science focused on land, water and air.


  • Daily Demonstrations: The Science Center’s education staff present free 15-20 minute demonstrations in the theater and stage areas throughout the day.
  • Family Programs: Arizona Science Center offers guests of all ages special themed activities, events, and programs throughout the year that offer visitors additional hands-on experiences on popular science topics.
  • Lecture Presentations: Learn about current science topics and their implications from local and national experts.
  • Adults Night Out: A monthly lecture series. Be a kid without the kids the 1st Friday of every month. Enjoy the center’s 300 hands on exhibits, watch an IMAX film or planetarium presentation and engage your intellect in a thought provoking presentation.
  • Science Camps: Arizona Science Center offers summer and winter camps that engage youth of all ages in exploring the world and experiencing science hands-on.
  • Science Summer Camp: Each summer, the Center hosts six weeks of summer camp for youth ages six through eleven at the Center and at an East Valley school. Each weeklong session engages youth with a variety of hands-on themes activities, exploration of the Science Center and an end-of-camp Open House.
  • BMI @ BNI Summer Camp: The Center hosts a special, hands-on camp at the Barrow Neurological Institute for youth ages 12 to 14 – the Biotechnology Medical Institute at Barrow Neurological Institute of St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center. Participating Teens join the BNI staff for a weeklong investigation on Doctoring DNA, in which they extract real DNA from plant tissue, explore working laboratories and operating rooms used to research and develop oncology treatment methods and research activities in the effectiveness of various treatments/medicines on cancerous tumor cells.
  • Spring Break Camp: The Center’s Spring Break Camp offers parents the opportunity to engage their children in a fun and educational learning experience during the spring school break.
  • Stroller Science: Arizona Science Center presents a comprehensive program that combines exhibits and educational offerings to increase the engagement of families with younger children. Stroller Science exposes preschool-aged children to science, at a time in their development in which they can most easily become interested in learning through exploration.
  • Field Trips: A field trip to Arizona Science Center is a fun and hands-on way for youth to learn more about the world around them and for teachers to enhance the classroom science activities. Educators can utilize a field trip to the Science Center as its own applied science discovery experience, or they can utilize a number of tools available through the Science Center to enhance the science curriculum.
  • Science on Wheels: As one of the Science Center’s flagship community programs, the Science on Wheels outreach program delivers the excitement of hands-on science discovery directly to classrooms and other community-based organizations throughout the state of Arizona, serving 10,000 students annually. Science on Wheels involves a number of different educational outreach activities that bring the resources and experience of the Science Center directly to those who cannot attend. These are entertaining demonstrations and workshops that involve students directly with science. Teachers can choose from a variety of topics, ranging from biology to astronomy.
  • Teacher Professional Development – Institute for Teaching: Arizona Science Center offers Arizona’s educators professional development opportunities. A variety of programs including college courses, special events and workshops designed to help provide educators with the skills and tools necessary to teach science effectively.


Public transportation for the Center is currently under the service of METRO Rail's Washington at 3rd Street station. Service began on December 26, 2008.

Parking for the Center can be found at the Heritage Garage, located in the northwest corner of the Heritage and Science Park.

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