EcoTarium’s City Science Exhibit Explores Impact of Science Museums on Cities
Friday, April 14, 2017
The exhibit, which opened on January 17, investigates the environmental and health impacts of how people live in and build cities. It also encourages visitors to consider choices that result in healthier and more sustainable cities.
“More than half of the world’s population lives in cities and yet we often overlook the science questions that are hiding all around us in urban environments. City Science not only provides unique and fun experiences for our visitors to enjoy together, it also allows them to learn the kinds of skills that can help them make our urban neighborhoods great places to live,” said Betsy Loring, the Director of Exhibits at the EcoTarium.
The City Science exhibit uses live animals, interactive components, and natural history specimens in order to give children and families the chance to experiment and see the science happening in their community.
The EcoTarium worked alongside researchers to develop interactive components that present current ecology research on subjects such as green spaces, biodiversity and heat islands, and examine if that learning influences how visitors design their ideal neighborhood.
Several exhibit components explore the design of sustainable neighborhoods, for example:
Turtles highlight land use concerns
In “Turtle’s Eye View” visitors place houses and roads to build a neighborhood and then project pathways showing how a turtle would travel between four habitats necessary for its survival. Visitors then redesign their neighborhood to make it safe for turtles, encouraging thinking about how communities can balance the needs of people and animals.
Using birds to teach urban biodiversity
In “Best Nest,” children learn about habitat conservation and the importance of biodiversity. By attempting to place species of plush birds into city and forest nests using clues about the bird’s preferred habitats, they learn that while many birds can find homes in different habitats, there are some that cannot.
Exploring city “hot spots”
In “City Hot Zones,” visitors learn about urban heat island effects and build a city with buildings, parks and roads. Using a heat lamp for the sun and an infrared camera, visitors can see how their city would heat up where hot spots might occur and redesign for a healthier city.
Related Slideshow: 25 Things to do in New England for Free this Spring - 2017
The Cliff Walk is one of Newport’s most famous attractions is its gilded age mansions lining the coast. Entry to the mansions will cost a fee, but with the Cliff Walk, you can enjoy views of the mansions with amazing views of the water all for free.
The 3.5 mile long path runs behind the mansions on the eastern shore of Newport. It is a National Recreation Trail – the first in New England! The majority of the walk is easy, but be sure to wear good shoes; the sand can make the path slippery.
Merrimack, New Hampshire
The Budweiser Clydesdales are the most recognizable mascots in the beverage industry and a visit to the Clydesdale Hamlet at the Anheuser-Bush Brewery will get you a free meeting with them.
For this 21 and over, you can take a tour of the brewery and see it result in free beer at the end.
PHOTO: Billy Zoom/flickr
New Haven, Connecticut
Take a free tour of Yale University and while you are there be sure to walk through the Yale Art Gallery and the Yale Center for British Art.
If you time it correctly, you might even get to attend one of the Yale School of Music’s nearly 300 annual performances.
South Deerfield, Massachusetts
Yankee Candle Village headquarters are located in South Deerfield, Massachusetts, where they call themselves “Scenter of the Universe.”
Walk around the store for hours, exploring all the different showrooms with varying scents. The complex is something to see.
Be warned though, you may be tempted to buy a candle or two.
If you want a little bit of an outdoor adventure, hike to Royalston Falls in Royalston, MA. The hike itself isn’t too long, but it can be challenging. It leads you to a remote gorge created by prehistoric glacial meltwater and 45 foot plunging waterfall within a half-hidden ravine. If you’re up for the adventure, the destination is far worth the trek.
Chocolate lovers this is for you.
Take a free tour of Lake Champlain Chocolates and even get some free samples. What is better than that?
The tour takes approximately 30 minutes and is seated. There is no walking involved.
Tours run Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.but are limited to 35 people.
See a replica of the world's first submarine and learn about it through films before stepping aboard the USS Nautilus for a free audio tour.
Nautilus was the first nuclear powered submarine and the first vessel to travel 20,000 leagues under the sea.
The ship is now open to the public year round and is free.
Rhode Island’s own version of Boston’s Freedom Trail, follow the painted green line for the Independence Trail. The 2.5 mile tour of historic Providence “takes you over four centuries of history, architecture, culture, and folklore.”
Don’t worry about where to begin, the route is circular so you can start anywhere! Along the painted green trail on the sidewalks you’ll find red emblems with a phone number and a location number.
The Sprinkler Factory is not actually factory, but rather a gallery. Though, its namesake does come from the real-life sprinkler factory started by Howard Freeman in WWII. Why? Because he embodies “the spirit of innovation.” With the aim of providing the public with a place to display and enjoy the visual arts, the Sprinkler Factory hosts exhibitions once a month, and they’re always free.
Since 1983, the Boston Fire Museum has operated in the old fire house on Congress street showing off the history of the Boston Fire Department. The Museum shows off antique fire equipment, fire alarm displays, photo displays and artifacts.
Admission to the Museum is FREE.
Providence WaterFire has grown to be an iconic Rhode Island event. Starting out in 1994 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of First Night Providence, it has grown to run continuously, once a month, from May-November and boasts over 80 blazing fires in the middle of the Providence River. WaterFire is a not-for-profit organization that aims to creatively transform Providence – and they do! Each event is accompanied with music by artists from around the world, varies food stands and art stands to browse as you stroll along the river.
Old North Church, located on Salem Street, is Boston's oldest surviving church, and it's also the place where Paul Revere gave the signal that the "British were coming," on April 18,1775.
Once he gave the signal, two lanterns were raised high, meaning that they were coming by sea to Lexington and Concord, not land.
This event began the American Revolution.
Head to Concord, Massachusetts and then to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery where you will find "Author's Ridge."
Author's Ridge marks the final resting place of legendary writers such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott.
Take a hike at Purgatory Chasm and see the unique landmark that formed naturally approximately 14,000 years ago. Theory has it that the chasm was formed near the end of the last Ice Age with the sudden release of glacial meltwater that had been dammed up. Pretty neat! The chasm is ¼ mile long and runs between giant granite rock, sometimes standing at 70 feet high! You do have to pay to park ($5 MA residents, $6 for you out-of-staters), but exploring the reservation is completely free.
Runs from Worcester to Providence
The idea behind the Blackstone River Bikeway was to create a bike path running 48 miles, from Worcester to Providence along the National Heritage Corridor. It links the Blackstone River and the Blackstone Canal and will eventually connect with the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island. The path isn’t completed yet, but riders can enjoy the segment that is, free of charge.
Take a FREE tour of Sam Adams Brewery and see where some of the best beer is made. Learn about the history of Sam Adams beer, how it's made, experience the entire craft brew process and of course try some samples.
The tour departs every 45 minutes and lasts about an hour.
Photo courtesy of Sam Adams Brewery
The Freedom Trail is a two and a half mile walking tour that connects 16 significant Boston landmarks.
Interior access to the Freedom Trail's sites is also free, except for the Paul Revere House, the Old South Meeting House and the Old State House.
The Freedom Trail is a great way to get exercise, explore Boston and learn about history, all at the same time.
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