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  The Science of Fun!

by Paul Yanko

Itís early afternoon in the middle of Reginaís scenic Wascana Park, and several children are taking turns trying to out-run a bear.
- photos courtesy Saskatchewan Science Centre
The Saskatchewan Science Centre - hours of fun for old and young.

And theyíre having a ball.

They giggle at one another as their parents look on - Mom and Dad are laughing, too. It doesnít take long for the children to learn they just donít have the speed needed to lose a bear. But the lesson is anything but painful.

The kids are racing an imaginary bear down a 20-metre race track inside the Saskatchewan Science Centre.

Photo sensors at each end of the track are used to time their efforts. The display, one of a travelling collection featuring the science of sport, compliments the nearly 100 permanent displays at the centre and is meant to illustrate how fast wild animals can run by giving humans an opportunity to out-distance them.

Itís a popular display. The Saskatchewan Science Centre is a popular place.
Please Touch! The science centre is definitely a hands-on experience.

Since it opened on April 25, 1989, the centre has grown to become one of the top tourist attractions in the province. Located in the cityís historic Powerhouse Building on the north shore of Wascana Lake, itís fitting the centre bills itself as The Powerhouse of Discovery.

The centre is laid out on four levels covering nearly 7,000 square metres of floor space. Itís divided into six exhibit areas, each representing a different branch of science: Patterns Around Us focuses on physics; The Living Body covers genetics and human life; The Living Planet deals with biology and ecology; Our Planet Earth looks at geology and meteorology; and Beyond Earth covers space. The Discovery Lab houses a variety of reptilian and amphibian species.

Get a charge out of your visit. If you really want to get a charge out of your visit, set aside the better part of an afternoon and check out a few of the many demonstrations scheduled throughout the day. Let your hair down, and then watch it stand on end at the static electricity demo. Or take in the cryogenics presentation to see how liquid nitrogen is so cold, itíll take the bounce out of any ball.

The centre is especially proud of the displays that highlight the uniqueness of Saskatchewan. Our Daily Bread is an exhibit featuring a small grain elevator and bread-making demonstrations that fill the sunlit display area with wonderful aromas.

After a few hours of dodging dinosaurs, sampling bread, racing wild animals and experiencing several thousand volts of electricity passing through your body, you may feel like sitting down and watching a movie at the adjoining Kramer Imax Theatre.

But be warned: Sitting down does not equal reduced heart rate. Not at the Imax.

Whether itís an exhilarating ride in the cockpit of an Indy race car hurtling down the track at 300 kph, or a peaceful swim with dolphins in an azure-blue sea, the Imax theatre excites the senses. With an 11,000-watt, surround-sound stereo system and a screen five stories high and as wide as two school buses, watching an Imax film is an experience to remember.

Saskatchewan Science Centre and Kramer Imax Theatre are easily reached by car or bus, but a 45-minute walk from any downtown hotel will take you through beautiful Wascana Park. At nearly 1,000 hectares, the park is one of the largest urban parks in North America. Itís home to the man-made Wascana Lake and more than 350,000 hand-planted trees, and itís a focal point for year-round recreation.

And by the way, there are no bears. But you may feed the Canada Geese.

Click here for the Saskatchewan Science Centre website.

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