Musings at the Boston Science Museum

I have always had a love-hate relationship with science. The love part comes in the form of curiosity at the many amazing things science has done, especially in terms of space exploration and ancient earth. I’ve never been very into the academic type of science, though, which is where the hate part comes in. It’s not that I necessarily “hate” academic science; it’s more that I just cannot appreciate and understand it the way I can science that I look at for my own enjoyment. And I feel like that is the case for most people in life: You enjoy what excites and intrigues you, while you simply tolerate the rest.

Museums, however, have a way of turning even the most boring and inane things into a world of curiosities. Luckily, as a college student, I can usually get into museums for free with a valid student ID. A couple weekends ago, a group of friends and I decided to hit up the Museum of Science in Boston. This is a museum that I used to go to as a kid with my family and on field trips, so this was my first venture there as an adult and I was a little nervous that it wouldn’t live up to my memories. Luckily it did. Now that may have been because the group of friends I was with consistently make me feel like a child, but whatever the reason it was a great time.

We started off on the green section which is the natural science, aka not my favorite science. But I was pleasantly surprised by the exhibits they had in this section. There were neat sections on the body with interactive activities. Some of my favorites included a table with a computer screen and above it a long tray with plastic foods encased in plastic glass, and a walking activity. The food one was cool because you would pick which of the encased plastic foods and subsequent portions you would eat for a meal. Next, the table would flip over with an even greater selection of fake food and you would choose again. Then, the computer would tell you where you range amongst other people of your age and different ages, as well as gender. It’s way cooler than I’m describing it, trust me. The walking section was interesting because you would just walk along a certain pathway and when you get to the end, there is a computer generated image of your walk/ gait that you get to see, along with how many calories you burned during that 5 second walk. Again, my description does not do this justice.

In addition to these activities, there was also a section on reproduction (aka the growth of babies), so there was a live chick exhibit where you could watch chicks incubate and hatch. There was also a wall with the sizes and images of fetuses in the womb at certain times during pregnancy. It was kind of weird, but in an intriguing way. There was a station where you could measure the length of your ear, where you could guess how many stuffed animals were inside a tube, and many more. As I said, this museum takes the mundane science and turns it into exciting experiences. Up another level was a section on mountaineering and climbing which to be quite honest was not that thrilling. The coolest part of that section was the microscope you could look into and see an aerial view of some of the most famous mountains in the world, including Everest and the Grand Canyon (which, yes I know, is not a mountain).

After the green section, we were going to venture over to the blue area which had things like outer space, inertia, lightning, etc. But as we were crossing the carpeted glass bridge, we stumbled upon a 4D movie on sharks showing in exactly 10 minutes. We decided to quickly buy tickets and were then subsequently seated in the blue-lighted area. It was a really neat experience because not only were we squirted with water when the shark thrashed its tail, but our feet were softly whipped as the fish moved their tails back and forth across the sea floor, and we were jabbed in the back when the sharks devoured their prey. I’m not going to lie, there were moments that I was genuinely freaked out, not only because of the 4D experience, but also because of the pure power of the sharks and their awesome (in the purest sense of the word) existence. It was probably only a fifteen minute movie, but it was definitely worth it.

Our next stop was the blue area! This is the section I remember from my childhood. We went to the room where you can capture your shadow and stand in a rainbow of light. To capture a shadow, you stand in the (relative) dark and then someone presses the button and a camera-like flash goes off. When its over and you move back, the wall holds the form that your made. It’s my favorite part of the museum. The rainbow room is fun too because you can take such weird pictures in it and they always come out looking cool. Moving through this area, we got to the playground. There was a swing that teaches you why it moves the way it does, a pulley that you can try and tug on to move a 500 lb bag off the ground, and there is a gazebo with a spinner inside it where you will get incredibly dizzy. It truly is an indoor park, but it is also a classroom to learn all about the science behind everyday activities. I felt like a little kid again.

We also gravitated towards my other favorite area: the space section. Now, this is more of a corner than a section because there’s not a whole lot. But boy is it interesting. There is a replica spaceship that kids can go inside and look at, there’s a replica rocket, and an entire display to inform your space knowledge. Another favorite of mine is the lightning experience. It’s actually a show that goes on a few times during the day. It’s in a huge room spanning 3 floors with a bunch of metal object and machines to demonstrate lightning and electricity. A couple of times throughout the show, the person working the machines will actually generate electricity/lightning and use the different electric sounds to go to the beat of a song (at my show it was the Jurassic Park theme). It really is a fascinating sight to see and I would recommend it to anyone who goes to this museum.

Other exhibits we visited include the mental health section where there were artworks and videos of and by people with mental illnesses, the dinosaur section with dino skeletons, and the environment section. By the time we were finished looking at everything, it was ten minutes to closing time. So of course we headed to the gift shop and looked at all the fun science gifts and toys. It was pure joy. We were only at the Boston Science Museum for about four hours, but we saw and experienced so much and had such an amazing time. Well worth my Saturday.

Here are some neat photos I took, enjoy.

Ciao for now!

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