There are hundreds of interactive, hands-on exhibits that are fun and educational for the entire family. Whether you only have an hour or you have all day, there is plenty to see and do at Imagination Station. Come join us and explore everything that Imagination Station has to offer!
Build a car from the wheels up to race down a track against your opponent. These cars are't powered by gasoline, fuel or battery power – they are propelled by pressurized air! Attach a plastic bottle to your car, pump it full of air and send it racing down the track! Experiment with the design of your car and the pressure of the air in the bottle to make your car the winner. Using Newton’s Third Law of Motion, racers will learn about the equal and opposite forces propelling the car down the track.
Become a giant. Shrink your friends. Learn how angles and perspective can be used to create TV magic. In this room that uses skewed angles and proportions, you can watch people shrink or grow without the use of computer-generated special effects.
Bring the stories inside your head to life with stop-motion animation. Explore the process of animation, story creation, animator techniques and tools. As the animator, you can choose the objects, backgrounds and sound effects to create your video. Move the objects on the stage and capture a series of still frame images to create your story. Explore how altering a few images can change the meaning of your story.
Explore a refinery and learn how crude oil is separated into useful distillates. Begin with a mixture of different size particles (crude oil), and using our colorful refinery, separate the crude oil into heavy (asphalt), medium (gasoline) and light (kerosene) distillates. See how quickly you can turn crude oil into products that we use everyday.
Become an electrician and build circuits using different electrical components like lights, switches and fans. Experiment on your own or get help from circuit diagrams that illustrate how to build specific circuits. Explore how your circuit works using a voltmeter and ammeter.
Energy is transferred between sources every day. Some of these exchanges happen right in front of us, but we often can’t see them. Learn about common, but often overlooked, energy transfers and some ways you can try them at home. Using the turntable, try to get one of the discs to stay upright for the longest. Or, see who can keep the lights on the longest.
FARM 101: Know It to Grow It
Do you know more than a farmer? You can find out as a contestant on FARM 101: Know it to Grow It! Sit down in the tractor seat and get ready to test your knowledge of soil , satellites and everything in between. Leading a clever cast of interactive characters is Tork, part man and part machine, and Mother Nature, an unpredictable embodiment of all that is earthy. See if you can achieve Master Farmer status in this fun and informative game that takes you from farm to table.
Soar to new heights as you test your aviation skills at the controls of a Saab 340 jet. Before flying the friendly skies, learn about the science of flight and the variety of STEM careers available in aviation.
Discover the power of air pressure and resistance, and how subtle changes in shape and direction can have dramatic effects on aerodynamics. Experiment with a variety of materials and shapes to create objects that float, spin, hover or even shoot out the top of our giant wind tunnel!
Smash a burger, an ice cream sundae or a doughnut into an unrecognizable mess to discover how much sugar, salt and oil is inside. Even though some foods, like hamburgers and french fries, might be tasty and convenient, they’re also loaded with sugar, salt and oil.
When you enter your age and gender, you can compare how much sugar, salt and oil you should eat to how much is in some of your favorite foods.
Located in Discovery Hall, just beyond the Visitor Service desk, the Gallery Wall celebrates the alliance between creativity and science. A new installation is featured quarterly.
Heart Rate Rally
Ready, Set, Go! Race against your opponent and challenge yourself to keep up with an unpredictable light show that gets your whole body moving.
Check your heart rate before and after the competition to see the difference in your resting and active heart rate. The Heart Rate Rally shows how fun exercise can be.
High Wire Cycle
Defy gravity as you ride a bicycle 20 feet above the ground, suspended on a 1 inch cable with a 275 lb. counterweight. Don’t believe you can do it – you’ll amaze yourself.
54” height requirement
Learn just how much force a hurricane packs. With our Hurricane Chamber, you can experience (safely) just how powerful these acts of nature are. The machine begins slowly with a light breeze, but you can quickly ramp it up to a Category 1 hurricane. Not enough? Find an Imagination Station team member, and tell them you’d like to see how high it can go. They’ll be happy to turn it up an extra notch.
Life Style Camera
Have you ever wondered what you’ll look like when you get older? The choices you make today will affect your body as you age. The Lifestyle Camera will ask you a series of questions about your current diet, physical activity and lifestyle choices, and take your picture.
It will then help you see into your future by predicting how you might look as you age based on your current choices.
Magnets have a wide variety of uses - from radar equipment to roller coasters. Explore these different uses with something as simple as iron filings to Eddy currents. Use the unique properties of magnetic fields to build a bridge. For something more dynamic, try the Ring Launcher: using a few simple concepts, instantaneously launch a ring up a pole with one push of a button.
Send your marble racing down a plank, spinning into a funnel and bouncing off rubber bands as you create a path that twists, turns and races across a pegboard. Our giant marble wall has plenty of room for you to create your own run or collaborate with others to create one giant marble run. The variety of items allows you to redesign your path and experiment again and again.
The MZ TV gives you a break from optical illusions and allows you to make your very own light show. Using your body and some unique camera work, the MZ TV records your motions and plays them back to give you a unique visual experience you have to see to believe. Using time-lapse videography and a little visual work, even the tiniest of movements give off a huge burst of color.
Mind Zone is host to a variety of illusions. It has everything from spinning patterns to an invisible dog. That’s right, be sure to keep an eye out for Pepper, our ghostly (or so it seems) four-legged friend. Check out how scoreboards make moving pictures using only a few lights. See how we trick ourselves everyday with just a few optical clues. And if you’ve ever wondered how a bullet looks if you slowed it down, make sure you check out the clock tower located in the center of Mind Zone.
Young children learn to understand the world through imaginative play. In our grocery story, hospital and construction zone, your child can learn life skills like counting, making smart food choices and taking care of their body. They can figure out how to construct a fort through trial and error using kid-safe building materials. Kids can buy food, build a bridge or care for a ‘sick’ friend. They will have so much fun that they will not want to leave, and they will learn so much that you will want to let them stay all day.
This 15-seat virtual roller coaster bounces you forward and backward, sideways and up and down as it sends you on a journey that’ll make your stomach flip and take your breath away. 42” height requirement
Simulator Theater rides are $2 per person.
The Sun is the brightest object in our sky, but have you ever considered just how important it is? This area will show you we rely on the Sun for energy and light. Explore the sun's impact as you interact with the Solar Wall and observe how some different types of glass are used in various climates to maximize Solar Energy. Challenge your friends in the Solar Shoot-Out: see who can score the most points in the time limit, and remember to block that triple point square.
The Spin Browser allows you to control the passage of time. With a simple motion, explore agriculture based events and actions that range from fractions of a second to an entire season.
It's easier to eat healthy foods when you have a pantry stocked with good choices.
Explore The Kitchen by peeking in our refrigerator and cupboards to see which foods fuel a healthy lifestyle and get tips for filling your own cupboards.
Explore the canopy of Imagination Station in our Tree House. Kids can climb into the tree and look out the enclosed balcony. When they have seen all there is to see, they can slide down to the floor below and crawl through the tunnels under the tree. They’ll have so much fun, you’ll wish you could join them.
Whirlpools are some of the coolest phenomena in nature. Using a few simple tools, the Vortex Pool gives you the ability to make your own whirlpool. Use the colored balls to see how the currents act in a whirlpool, and don’t be afraid to fill it up. Have your friends help out by throwing in the balls as you use the bowling ball to increase or decrease the velocity.
Why do some plants grow well in sand while others thrive in clay? Observe water drainage through different types of local soils. See how water passes through the pores in sand, silt and clay, and learn why those differences cause some plants to grow better than others.
Water is one of the most powerful forces on the planet, and we use it almost every day. See just how powerful water can be by making scale models of own dams, waterways and pools using sand and plastic. This is one place where you’ll definitely get wet!
Kids love the water. In our Wet Lab, they can explore how boats float on our water tables, make a tunnel system to transport water and experiment with different toys to see which sink and which float. It’s all the fun of the beach with a lot more learning and no messy clean up.
Wheel of Fire
Step into the Wheel of Fire and begin walking. A digital readout inside the wheel gives instant feedback about how much your physical movement is making a difference. Pick up the pace to watch the flames build behind you. You'll see the faster you walk or run, the more energy you will burn and the higher the flames grow!