The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry has always been neato, but it's getting niftier by the day. At the beginning of this month, I took a quick trip down there to catch the Pompeii exhibit before it left. I will have so much to say about that very soon, plus word on where you can see it if you missed it this time round.
Even though Pompeii is gone, you should still go to OMSI. There's so much awesome stuff, including some very sweet earth science. While we were there, Pompeii was encroaching on the Earth Science space, so it'll be even better when you visit.
I'm super excited by the Science on a Sphere. It's enthralling! imagine a spherical screen showing geologic and meteorological phenomena from not only Earth, but other planets. You don't even see the projectors at first - you're too busy being immersed in watching the sphere rotate, showing you wonders.
When my friend Andi and I happened by, earthquakes were being projected on the sphere. Remember the Mexico quake from last month? It was there! I didn't get a photo of that particular one, unfortunately – I was too busy standing there with my mouth hanging open. I did eventually get the presence of mind to shoot a bit of video for you:
It's really super great to see the pattern of earthquakes on a spherical representation of Earth. It gives you a better feel for where they are, and you can see how well many of them outline the edges of the earth's tectonic plates.
Once you can tear yourself away from the spherical science going on, there are some pretty spectacular mineral and rock samples. One of my faves was this bit of lunar basalt, collected by Eugene A. Cernan during the Apollo 17 mission in 1972.
Collecting rock samples is, of course, a huge part of geology, and it is actually pretty fantastic that we were able to send humans to the moon to collect samples there. Sure, we have meteorites with a lunar origin, but I'm pretty partial to these bits that were hand-carried back home.
Have I convinced you to visit OMSI? I hope so. But if you need more persuasion, just consider that this is one of the most kid-friendly science museums I've ever seen. There are countless exhibits that allow them to explore science hands-on, do experiments, and test things. It's fun for the adult kids, too! And no matter what any particular members of your party are interested in - whether it's natural or engineered - everyone's going to find something that's relevant to their interests. This is a great place to spend a day.