Exploring the science of the Great Lakes and Outer Space
© Becky Linhardt 2012
A great location and even greater aspirations! The Great Lake Science Center, sited on Cleveland’s lakefront, has access to Lake Erie and Great Lakes natural sciences as one of its greatest assets. The other is the huge collection of the NASA Glenn Visitor Center that allows visitors to image worlds far beyond Ohio.
During warmer weather, May-October, climb aboard the steamship William G. Mather to explore one of the ore boats that traveled the Great Lakes weathering great storms, fog, rain, and sunny days to move tons of iron ore from Lake Superior to the rest of the world.
As impressive as it is to see this HUGE boat docked beside the Great Lakes Science Center, the view from the pilot house along the top deck is almost overwhelming. You can see out to Lake Erie across the bow hundreds of feet away and wonder “how do you steer something this big?” At an interactive kiosk inside you can try a simulated journey, piloting a big boat up the Cuyahoga River. Watch out for that first tight bend in the river! Crash!
More than a dozen interactive stations bring to life the ecology, history, and commerce of the Great Lakes and Lake Erie in particular. It’s fun to climb around the engine room, visit the sleeping quarters of the sailors, and visit the “hold.” The sheer volume of the space that can be seen is amazing, almost dwarfing the more than a dozen interactive stations and other science displays.
Inside the main building visitors can participate in any number of science experiments and educational learning experiences disguised as “play.” Younger kids can be so curious and learn in a diverse number of ways with oversized building blocks (spatial relationships), music tubes to whack (sound/volume) etc. Numerous events are scheduled each month and visiting exhibitions can add to the experience. Children of school age can try their hand at more complicated science projects and monitor the energy savings from the alternative energy sources, wind turbine and solar array, that help power the building.
In recent years the Great Lakes Science Centerhas welcomed the NASA GlennVisitors Centerand its space science collection. It is so much easier to access the collection at the GLSC than it was when the displays were housed at the NASA Research Center on Cleveland’s west side. The spacious area allows more space for the display of the really big items – the Skylab 3 Apollo Command Module and a Lunar Landing Module – and more than 50 exhibits and artifacts from space suits to moon rocks. The NASA researchers often visit to participate in space related events within the NASA Glenn exhibitions area.
The Great Lakes Science Center:601 Erieside Avenue,Cleveland,OH44114
www.glsc.org or 216-694-2000