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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Cure boredom with rocks, stars and more at Flandrau this fall

    Darien Bakas
    Flandrau Science Center on the corner of University Blvd and Cherry Ave on July 12th. Flandrau offers a wide variety of exhbits and shows available to the public during the summer and academic year.

    The University of Arizona’s campus is full of unique and exciting buildings, but only one boasts a collection of minerals, interactive exhibits and a laser light show.

    At the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, you can travel through the incredible story that ties together the history of the United States, the history of planetary science and the history of the UA.

    The first display as you step into Flandrau shows the minerals of the Harvard University’s collection, with hundreds of unique stones and minerals shining for your attention.

    The museum boasts nearly 2,000 minerals in its basement Mineral Museum, which is only a mere fraction of the 26,000 specimens in the UA Mineral Museum’s entire collection. 

    “At a time where so many universities are losing their collections of minerals to other places, the UA has not only kept its collection intact but has also diligently put together the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show,” said Shipherd Reed, marketing and communications manager at Flandrau.

    Visitors and students of all ages are able to go down to the basement and not only take a look at the minerals, but also the multitude of fossils. Kids in particular tend to be fans of the interactive games, especially those that are near the fossil exhibits, Reed said.

    Flandrau is full of science, technology and art exhibits all designed to engage visitors. Flandrau’s newest interactive math exhibit, “Puzzles, Proofs and Patterns,” is full of hands-on puzzles and games that will tickle your brain and show how math touches everything around, according to a press release from the museum.

    “From Tucson to the Moon” is another exhibit, built around a scale model of the moon which “tells the story of the UA’s pivotal role in the space race and how we helped to land a man on the moon,” according to the UA visitor’s guide.

    Many more exhibits are available to tour including several coming this coming Fall, such as a display with scale models of the planets and one on NASAs Osiris-REx mission.

    A renovation project has caused the planetarium shows to be closed for the summer months. A gift from The EOS Foundation will help to renovate the theater, including new seat and seating layout, enhanced lighting and a new acoustic wall treatment, according to a press release from the museum. The press release also stated that summer visitors will receive a 50 percent discount coupon for the planetarium theater so that they can return in the fall to enjoy the new experience.

    The new theater will be open starting Aug. 27, showcasing brand new fulldome programs.

    “No matter where you turn your head [in the planetarium], you will see the image displayed by the high resolution digital projection system,” Reed said.

    If you happen to fall in love after visiting the Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, you may be in luck come the academic year.

    “Students can apply to work at the front desk and guide school groups through exhibits and scavenger hunts,” Reed said, adding that “interested student workers can train to become planetarium operators.”

    For more information about Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium, visit their website or call (520) 621-4516.

    Follow Priyanka Hadvani on Twitter.

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