This post was made possible by the Da Vinci Science Center who provided us with admission at no charge. We appreciate their support of Jersey Family Fun that allows us to share with families information about Lehigh Valley attractions we think families will enjoy.
When planning a trip with your family where do you look for information? Do you go with an agenda of all the places you want to visit? Or do you have a main destination in mind?
When we planned our visit to the Crayola Experience, we knew we wanted to stay in the area overnight, and we knew we wanted to plan other activities for our area. What we didn’t know though was what else the Lehigh Valley area had to offer families. That’s when we discovered the Discover Lehigh Valley site.
Discover Lehigh Valley had a wealth of resources for planning a trip to Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton. They get all the credit for introducing us to two of the areas other treasures: The America on Wheels Museum and the Da Vinci Science Center. You can click over to our article about the America on Wheels Museum later. For now, let’s tell you how amazing the Da Vinci Science Center is.
“The Da Vinci Science Center is a national award-winning science center that has connected science to life and lives to science since 1992. By awakening interests and promoting fundamental skills, the Center and its partners inspire and prepare kids to consider STEM careers that meet growing industry demands.”
Inspired, we were! The Da Vinci Science Center had so much for my boys to see, touch, and do that weeks later they are still talking about this fun science museum in the Lehigh Valley. Here’s some of our favorite Da Vinci Science Center moments in video with more details to follow.
Da Vinci Science Center Activities for Kids
First Floor Rainforest Adventure ~ Now through Jan. 18, 2016
The Rainforest Adventure is a maze as big as your kids, as fun as an indoor playground, as educational as a classroom lesson and as interactive as a game. Travel through the maze where how you answer a question determines the path you travel. Kids leap, jump, hang, climb, and smell as they explore a virtual rainforest with more than 40 playful challenges. It’s not just rainforest fun but it is also learning about these threatened habitats and how we all can protect them. You can learn more about the Rainforest Adventure in this news video.
- Swing across the jungle! With a jungle backdrop and monkey bars, kids can go across the jungle bars pretending they are swinging across the jungle.
- Climb a spider web.
- Glide in the air on a butterfly zip line.
- Some of the other Da Vinci Science Center Rainforest Adventures include: leaping like a tree frog, navigating a maze of jungle vines, imitating the sounds of the rain forest, sniffing and smelling the plants and herbs of the rainforest.
First Floor Design Zone
In the design zone, kids can use their imagination, building skills, and museum building materials to put science to the test and create unique structures.
- Railway Staircase. My 7 year old took to creating what he called a railway staircase. He used wooden slats to form a path for a marble to go down. He asked that I make this video to capture his science learning in action.
- Make a movie at the Animation Station. At the Animation Station exhibit guests can use the available materials to create their own stop-motion animation movies. Kids, like my son pose objects on a stage and take a series of still frame images. Between images, kids change the pose slightly. During our visit my 11 year old was glued to this station. Using KEVA building blocks and toy dinosaurs he made several animated dinosaur movies.
- Pin up yourself. The Da Vinci Science Center created this pin wall using the ideas of how pixels work with a television screen. The Pin Wall features thousands of injection-molded pins that move when guests push their body parts or other objects against it. I think my kids could have stayed at this exhibit for hours. It certainly left an impression on us. ;-)
- Build with KEVA building blocks in the KEVA Build It Up exhibit. If your kids like to build, they’ll enjoy this area. My kids were inspired by all the models built by previous guests but still on display. Yours will be too.
First Floor Tunnel Vision
Can your kids find their way through the dark? The Da Vinci Science Center has a Tunnel Vision tunnel. Crawl through a 72-foot maze-like tunnel in complete darkness. Feel your way in the light, then dark and discover how your eyes adapt to the difference. Tunnel Vision is open for 30 minutes at a time several times a day.
First Floor What’s the Matter? Nanoscience exhibits.
Inquire about science, test ideas. “Nanotechnology is the study of things that are very small, less than one-billionth of one meter, or 3-5 atoms, wide.” But small things can still provide great fun and learning. Visitors can build a giant model of a carbon nanotube, make nanomagnets move, and balance building materials.
First Floor What on Earth?
This first floor area has visitors learning about water, weather, and aquatic environments.
- Saltwater Aquarium. In the Da Vinci Science Center’s 560-gallon saltwater aquarium, watch hermit crabs peek from small rock caves. Find out why spider crabs camouflage themselves. The aquarium’s LED lights bring out all the details of these sea creatures against their habitats. Throughout the day staff are available so that guests may touch the aquarium’s creatures.
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Second Floor What Works
- Pull on your muscles and test your strength. Four pulleys and a 120-pound weight don’t just teach kids about leverage and how simple machines work, they also give guests a chance to test their own strength. The closer you get to the weight, the harder it becomes to lift.
- Push your kids away with good reason. Sir Isaac Newton’s Second Law of Motion says that force is equal to mass multiplied by acceleration. In other words as you and your child sit across each other and push away from each other, you both roll backward. Who will go further? Faster? It’s a fun experiment with force, mass, and acceleration.
- Control a dinosaur with robotic engineering. T-Rexroth, the Da Vinci Science Center’s robotic dinosaur, sits upstairs calling to children. They are intrigued by buttons that make this robotic T-Rex move his head, open his mouth, and light up his eyes. As they play they are using the same technologies that theme parks use to create some of the best attractions.
We’ve told you so much about the Da Vinci Science Center, and yet there’s so many areas that still can be explored there. From a Little Learners Lab for babies to preschoolers to the station for engineering paper airplanes and every nook and cranny in between, your family could easily spend a few hours at the Da Vinci Science Center. Visit their website for even more information.
Special Note: The Animal Grossology exhibit we loved at the Academy of Natural Sciences is coming to the Da Vinci Science Center this March. Click over to read more about the Animal Grossology exhibit.
See, touch, do..what would your kids do first at the Da Vinci Science Center?
What you should know before you visit the Da Vinci Science Center.
- The Da Vinci Science Center is located at 3145 Hamilton Blvd. Bypass Allentown, PA 18103.
- Da Vinci Science Center hours vary depending on the time of year. Visit their website for more information.
- Da Vinci Science Center tickets are available online or in person. Regular admission is $12.95 for ages 3 and older.
- A large parking lot with free parking options is available in front of the main entrance.
- If your kids get hungry, the Da Vinci Science Center has some vending machines. Groups can order food ahead of time. You may bring also in your lunch and snacks and eat in the cafe eating area.
- Click over to visit the official Da Vinci Science Center in Allentown PA website.
View more of our Da Vinci Science Center photos in our Facebook Gallery. With a preview below.
Click over to see the rest of our Family Travel to the Lehigh Valley series.
To arrange a feature on your location contact Jennifer Auer, Jersey Family Fun publisher.