Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater

Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater Located in Downtown Des Moines, SCI is a center devoted to lifelong learning that features a variety of interactive learning experiences and fun for participants of all ages! Follow us on Twitter - @sciowa & Instagram - @sciowa.
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Experience the Science-Surrounds-Us-All Actuality at this 110,000 square-foot creative lifelong learning center in the heart of Downtown Des Moines. By placing the power of learning in the hands of the visitor with interactive experiences for all ages, the emphasis at SCI is less on what to learn and more on how to learn. About the IMAX Theater: SCI's six-story dome screen wraps you in larger-than-life images that surround your field of view and envelop you in the action. The 12,000-watt digital surround system lets you hear everything from a tiny drop of rain to a huge clap of thunder with crystal clarity. Challenge your sensory perception with a uniquely immersive movie experience! The Blank IMAX Dome Theater may show films outside SCI's regular facility hours. View films and showtimes at www.sciowa.org/imaxshowtimes

Mark your calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:• MONDAY: Kick off Turtle We...
05/17/2020

Mark your calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:

• MONDAY: Kick off Turtle Week by joining Patrick, our director of learning experiences, to learn how to make your own turtle journal at home.

• TUESDAY: Join exhibit coordinator Bridgett for a Facebook Live feeding of our resident snapping turtle, Snippy at 1:30 pm!

• WEDNESDAY: Turtles in space? Turtles in space! Learn about Keya, the turtle constellation, and explore Lakota tribe's legend of the how the turtle earned its shell.

• THURSDAY: Did you know that Iowa is home to several rare or endangered turtle species? Learn more about these turtles and discover how scientists are studying them at Big Sand Mound.

• FRIDAY: Turtles have some pretty interesting eating habits! Join us over lunch to learn more about SCI's turtles and explore what, when and how they eat.

• SATURDAY: It's World Turtle Day! Share your favorite pictures of the turtles you've seen at SCI by posting them on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter and tagging @sciowa.

This year, SCI is celebrating two major milestones: Our 15th downtown birthday and our 50th anniversary as an organizati...
05/15/2020

This year, SCI is celebrating two major milestones: Our 15th downtown birthday and our 50th anniversary as an organization!

Over the years, we’ve seen generations experience “a-ha!” moments together, and we’ve literally watched the community grow around us. Now, we want to hear your stories!

Submit photos and memories at www.sciowa.org/50th, and help us get ready to celebrate.

Learn more: https://bit.ly/3bFmdw6

05/15/2020
Go Beyond with SCI: The Science of Soundscape Ecology (Part 2)

Soundscape ecology is a growing field of research that uses sound to track how ecosystems change over time.

In this clip from the television program NOVA, Dr. Bryan Pijanowski and Matt Harris work with a team of researchers to collect hours of sound at locations from the Alaskan tundra to a rainforest in Borneo. By analyzing the recordings, they can reveal changes in each ecosystem that we might not otherwise be able to see.

(Recognize these researchers? They're featured in one of SCIs most popular live programs, Global Soundscapes!)

Visit https://musiclab.chromeexperiments.com/Spectrogram/ to experiment with a spectogram of your own. You'll be able to visualize sounds from a preloaded library, record your own sound right in the page or drag and drop a prerecorded audio clip (from a cell phone or other device).

Video courtesy of NOVA l PBS

It's the 216th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition! For today's "What's Outside Your Window," we partnered wit...
05/14/2020

It's the 216th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark Expedition!

For today's "What's Outside Your Window," we partnered with Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center and Betty Strong Encounter Center to see what Lewis and Clark would have seen outside their window when they visited Iowa in 1804.

Captains Meriwether Lewis and William Clark were amateur biologists and zoologists wanting to learn about the plants and animals living within the territory of the Louisiana Purchase. They recorded their detailed observations in journals, which have been visualized as murals at the Lewis and Clark Interpretation Center. These murals give us an artistic representation of what Iowa may have looked like during their expedition more than 200 years ago.

Learn more on our blog: https://www.sciowa.org/about-sci/sci-blog/general-sci/what-s-outside-your-window-lewis-and-clark-s-visit-to-iowa/

05/13/2020
What's Up: May 2020 Skywatching Tips (NASA)

Feeling cooped up? Remember that we're IN SPACE, cruising through the solar system! 🌎 Then check out this "What's Up" video from NASA to learn what to watch for this in the night sky this month.

Here are a few highlights:
• Thursday, May 14 - Third quarter Moon
• Friday, May 15 - The planet Mars will appear above the waning crescent Moon
• Thursday and Friday, May 28 & 29 - On Thursday evening into early Friday morning, the bright star Regulus will appear to the left of the waxing crescent Moon

View the daily guide here: https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/whats-up-skywatching-tips-from-nasa/

05/12/2020
Behind-the-Scenes: Foucault Pendulum

One of SCI's most iconic and beloved features, the Foucault (pronounced 'foo koh’) Pendulum is a 235-pound, 17-inch brass ball that demonstrates the rotation of the earth. It hung for more than 30 years in the Science Center of Iowa's former location in Greenwood-Ashworth Park before joining SCI in our downtown location in 2005.

Learn more about the Foucault Pendulum on our blog: https://bit.ly/361ArGF

05/11/2020
Go Beyond with SCI: Robots

Our director of innovative STEM teaching, Jolie, created a socially distancing robot!

Join her to learn how robots can be useful to our lives, see how she made her robot and discover how you can control some pre-made robots from home.

Yellowstone National Park ranger Mike Coonan visited SCI in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the national parks and t...
05/11/2020

Yellowstone National Park ranger Mike Coonan visited SCI in 2016 to celebrate the centennial of the national parks and the opening of "National Parks Adventure" in IMAX.

Today at noon, he's doing a FB Live from America's first national park. Visit their page to tune in: https://www.facebook.com/YellowstoneNPS/

Mark your calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:• MONDAY: Our director of in...
05/10/2020

Mark your calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:

• MONDAY: Our director of innovative STEM teaching, Jolie, created a socially distancing robot! Join her to learn how robots can be useful to our lives, see how she made her robot and discover how you can control some pre-made robots from home.

• TUESDAY: Go behind-the-scenes and learn about one of SCI's most iconic features... the Foucault Pendulum!

• WEDNESDAY: For this week's "What's Up Wednesday," get some tips from NASA on how to observe some super celestial sights in the night sky this month.

• THURSDAY: Did you know Lewis and Clark visited Iowa during their expedition to explore the West? Imagine standing on the banks of the Missouri River more than 200 years ago. What they saw outside their window is much different than what we see today! We'll celebrate the 216th anniversary of their 1804 visit by exploring the unique sights of western Iowa.

• FRIDAY: Last month, we introduced "The Science of Soundscape Ecology." This week, we'll go even further to understand soundscapes by comparing different locations and times of day and learning how scientists use this information to better understand the Earth.

These days, essential workers include the dozens of new contact tracers who are following up with people who test positi...
05/09/2020
'I wouldn't say it's been easy': Contact tracing experts track thousands of Iowans possibly exposed to virus

These days, essential workers include the dozens of new contact tracers who are following up with people who test positive for COVID-19. They're essentially science communicators, helping the public understand how the disease works and spreads! #ThankEssentialWorkers

Contact tracing programs have long tracked people likely exposed to tuberculosis, hepatitis or syphilis. Now, they're contacting thousands of Iowans.

This week, we celebrated #DSMDayofThanks by turning our lights red, white and blue in support of our community's frontli...
05/09/2020

This week, we celebrated #DSMDayofThanks by turning our lights red, white and blue in support of our community's frontline workers.

Thank you to these heroes of our community!

#DSMStrong

05/08/2020
Go Beyond with SCI: Stop-Motion Animation

Have you used the Stop-Motion Animation Station in our Makers Studio?

In this video, Bridgett will explain how stop-motion animation works and show you how to create your own stop-motion movie at home - including a trick that lets you do it on a smartphone without any special apps.

Thinking differently about everyday objects and how to use them in new ways are important parts of the "Makers Mindset" that we celebrate at SCI. Be resourceful, think innovatively and, as always, "Go Beyond with SCI!"

We chatted with dsm Magazine's CultureCast podcast about how we've been adapting and innovating to bring science learnin...
05/07/2020
CultureCast – Science Center of Iowa – Podcast

We chatted with dsm Magazine's CultureCast podcast about how we've been adapting and innovating to bring science learning to the community - even while we're closed.

Check it out to learn more about how you can "Go Beyond with SCI" and support our ongoing STEM activities!

Visit the post for more.

Have you ever noticed your pets and/or children acting very strange and then noticing there is a Full Moon and wondering...
05/07/2020

Have you ever noticed your pets and/or children acting very strange and then noticing there is a Full Moon and wondering if the two are related? There is some science behind it!

Take some time during tonight’s Full Moon and observe the changes in the natural world. Do you hear a difference in the sounds from frogs and birds? Do you see more blooming flowers than usual? Are your pets wanting to spend more time outdoors? Are you feeling more sleep deprived than normal? If so, the changes are likely due to that big, beautiful, bright celestial body in our night sky!

Read more on our blog: https://bit.ly/2YPAbsm

Earlybirds: This stargazing tip is for you!At 5:45 am, the Moon will be at its closest to Earth for the rest of the year...
05/06/2020
Last full supermoon of 2020 | EarthSky.org

Earlybirds: This stargazing tip is for you!

At 5:45 am, the Moon will be at its closest to Earth for the rest of the year. This Super Full Moon is the last in a series of four supermoons from February through May. (Next year's closest and largest full moon is on May 26, 2021, so mark your calendar's now!)

BONUS: At twilight (around 3:58 am), the three planets Jupiter, Saturn and Mars will appear in the southeastern sky. Jupiter will be brightest, then Mars then Saturn.

The May 2020 full moon presents the 3rd in a series of 3 full supermoons. It's the 3rd-closest, 3rd-largest and 3rd-brightest full moon of this year.

05/05/2020
Science is essential - Invest in the future - Support SCI

Over these past few months, it's become clear that science is essential. While we individually navigate this rapidly evolving reality, the global community of science is coming together - through technology and innovation - to solve a problem. It's inspiring!

At SCI, our goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors... the ones who will solve the world's next big problems.

Will you invest now to inspire the next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers? https://bit.ly/3dsy4z9 #GivingTuesdayNow

05/05/2020
SCI Celebrates Teachers

It's National Teacher Day!

Join our staff in thanking some of our favorite teachers - the ones who inspired us to become who we are today.

We want to hear about your favorite teachers, too! Share your story in the comments below and help us celebrate the critical role educators play in the lives of our youth. #ThankATeacher

Over these past few months, it's become clear that science is essential. While we individually navigate this rapidly evo...
05/05/2020

Over these past few months, it's become clear that science is essential. While we individually navigate this rapidly evolving reality, the global community of science is coming together - through technology and innovation - to solve a problem. It's inspiring!

At SCI, our goal is to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers and inventors... the ones who will solve the world's next big problems.

Will you invest now to inspire the next generation of critical thinkers and problem solvers? https://bit.ly/3dsy4z9 #GivingTuesdayNow

May the Fourth be with you! What do you think this is a picture of? It could be a light painting created by Luke Skywalk...
05/04/2020

May the Fourth be with you!

What do you think this is a picture of? It could be a light painting created by Luke Skywalker, Yoda and Mace Windu.

Learn more about light painting and how you can "paint" your own lightsaber on our blog: https://bit.ly/2xzKBRZ

Show us your light paintings in the comments below. (Bonus points if you know which colors were painted by which Jedi)

05/03/2020

Mark your calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:

• MONDAY: "May the Fourth be with you!" Our director of innovative STEM teaching, Jolie, will show you how to create photos with "light sabers" using a technique called light painting.

• TUESDAY: It's National Teacher Day! Join our staff in showing appreciation for our favorite teachers.

• WEDNESDAY: What makes a "Super Moon" so super? We'll explain the science of our natural satellite and why this Super Moon is going to appear extra bright!

• THURSDAY: Sticking with the full moon theme, we'll be talking about how animals respond to full moon. (No werewolves here!)

• FRIDAY: Stop, collaborate and animate! On Friday, our exhibits team will share ways you can make your own stop-motion animation video at home. It's the perfect weekend project!

Community innovation is worth celebrating! Kudos to Corteva Agriscience and MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center for joini...
05/02/2020
COVID-19 Sample Testing Increases Thanks to DSM Organizations

Community innovation is worth celebrating!

Kudos to Corteva Agriscience and MercyOne Des Moines Medical Center for joining forces to process COVID-19 samples in Iowa.

Collaboration will help address urgent need, within initial focus on Iowa.

05/02/2020
Memories

Our community is pretty incredible. ❤️

On Tuesday, May 5, we invite you to come together and give back in response to the unprecedented need caused by COVID-19. On #GivingTuesdayNow, we ask you to invest in the next generation of scientists, inventors and problem-solvers. We need your support now more than ever.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=glOt67ngRZY

Right now, we can all support each other at a distance. And when this is in the distance, we'll be here.

05/01/2020
Go Beyond with SCI: Methane Bubbles

This experiment is a fan-favorite from our "Fire Works" program. The combustion reaction uses a fuel called methane gas.

(But remember, our presenters are trained to handle fire safely. Please don't try this at home!)

It's the last day of Citizen Science Month, but there are still plenty of ways you can help researchers while you're stu...
04/30/2020
Science is finding ways to thrive during the pandemic, and you can help

It's the last day of Citizen Science Month, but there are still plenty of ways you can help researchers while you're stuck at home.

Here are some ideas!

In a normal year, any curious person, from kindergartner to senior citizen, would have opportunities to get outside and contribute to research, harnessing the power of the crowd to generate useful data for science.

04/30/2020
What's Outside Your Window? - Spring Buds

In this time of social distancing, when you can't hang out with your friends, we have an idea for some other "buds" you can hang out with!

Tag along with Patrick, our director of learning experiences, to learn about flowers and trees that are budding right now in Iowa. Then, explore your own backyard to see what buds you can find!

A a big — very big — asteroid passed through Earth’s neighborhood today. (Luckily, it's practicing safe physical distanc...
04/29/2020

A a big — very big — asteroid passed through Earth’s neighborhood today. (Luckily, it's practicing safe physical distancing and even appears to be wearing a face mask!)

Read more about asteroid 1998 OR2, which flew within about 4 million miles of Earth this morning, on our blog: https://bit.ly/3bRlhFR

Expressing gratitude for the heroes of our community: essential workers 💙#lightitblue#DSMstrong#nationalsuperheroday
04/28/2020

Expressing gratitude for the heroes of our community: essential workers 💙

#lightitblue
#DSMstrong
#nationalsuperheroday

Today is National Superhero Day, but instead of honoring heroes of fiction, we're celebrating three real-life Superheroe...
04/28/2020

Today is National Superhero Day, but instead of honoring heroes of fiction, we're celebrating three real-life Superheroes of SCI!

You might not see them during your visit, but Mark, Don and Jordan work hard to keep SCI running behind-the-scenes. As animal specialist, Mark ensures the care and well-being of our live collection of reptiles and amphibians. Don and Jordan, our facilities maintenance lead and custodian, make sure our building is kept clean, safe and visitor-ready.

We appreciate these Superheroes of SCI and all they do to maintain our commitment to excellence!

04/27/2020
Go Beyond with SCI: Make an App!

Struggling with how much screen time to give your kids? Here's one way to make that screen time fun and educational... Have them make their own app!

In this video tutorial, Dan will show you how to use block coding to make an app using the free tool Thunkable.

You'll need:
- A computer with internet access
- An email address to set up a free Thunkable account
- A mobile device (smartphone or tablet)
- A free app called "Thunkable Live"

This is a fun challenge that combines coding and creativity. It can be done independently by kids in 5th grade and up and with assistance for younger learners.

What app can you make that would be helpful for you or your family?

04/26/2020

Mark you calendars! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:

• MONDAY: Join Dan for a tutorial on how to use Thunkable (a free app) to design and code an app of your own!

• TUESDAY: We're celebrating National Superhero Day by highlighting some of the heroes of SCI and our community.

• WEDNESDAY: Asteroid 52768 (1998 OR2) will pass within 3,908,791 miles of Earth today, moving at 19,461 miles per hour. (Don't worry, though: That's still 16 times farther than the distance between Earth and the moon!)

• THURSDAY: Can't hang with your buds? Learn about some other "buds" you CAN hang out with... The buds of trees and flowers! Join Patrick to explore what's outside your window.

• FRIDAY: We're heating things up with this week's virtual program: Methane Mamba!

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401 W Martin Luther King Jr Pkwy
Des Moines, IA
50309

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Our Story

Experience the Science-Surrounds-Us-All Actuality at this 110,000 square-foot creative lifelong learning center in the heart of Downtown Des Moines. By placing the power of learning in the hands of the visitor with interactive experiences for all ages, the emphasis at SCI is less on what to learn and more on how to learn.

Our History: The pioneering Des Moines Center of Science and Industry opened its doors in October 1970 in Greenwood-Ashworth Park. What started as a Junior League of Des Moines project became one of the first interactive science centers in the world, rising to the forefront of a new wave of learning centers featuring hands-on programs and exhibits.

Over the years, the center gained prominence as its audience expanded and the name was changed to the Science Center of Iowa in 1986 to better reflect its statewide reach. From space science to dinosaurs, SCI was inspiring generations of future scientists and inventors.

In the year 2000, SCI recognized a need to expand in order to meet the changing needs of its Iowa community, and planning began for a new downtown facility. This creative learning center opened its doors in Downtown Des Moines in May 2005 with an innovative, dynamic and changing environment that adapts its experience platforms, theaters and programming to serve future generations. As of 2017, the Science Center of Iowa has served more than five million participants in our informal learning center with engaging educational programs, exhibits and films.

About the IMAX Theater: SCI's six-story dome screen wraps you in larger-than-life images that surround your field of view and envelop you in the action. The 12,000-watt digital surround system lets you hear everything from a tiny drop of rain to a huge clap of thunder with crystal clarity. Challenge your sensory perception with a uniquely immersive movie experience! The Blank IMAX Dome Theater may show films outside SCI's regular facility hours. View films and showtimes at www.sciowa.org/imaxshowtimes

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Comments

Hi there! I purchased a Tri-membership the week before everything shut down with the initial intent to visit the participating locations during Spring Break and beyond. With the closures, will the expiration for our annual membership be extended? Thank you so much!
I just have a question. If the IMAX isn't currently working & you guys see no foreseeable future for its return, why not change your name?
Could you please tell us the name of the Science Center of Iowa's insurer? The Blank -- apt name there -- IMAX Dome Theater hasn't been open to the public for a year and a half, and you keep saying it's because you're trying to resolve insurance issues involved with the flooding that damaged the theater. A year and a half?!?!? I just don't want to make the mistake of having the same insurance company you have.
Happy Mean Girls Day 😝 October is definitely the best month of the year, especially with Halloween right around the corner! I've already been making my way through my spooky season watchlist, and just happened to see a film called "Empathy, Inc" that blended elements of horror and sci-fi. It was a really intriguing story about a virtual reality technology that allows a person to switch bodies with someone else and take control of their lives. This movie was such a thrill from beginning to end, I really think you guys would enjoy it! It was just released on VOD, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it 👍🏻
Thanks for a great show on Sunday the 14th, Crazy Chemistry. We loved it :)
Do you have any updates at all about the IMAX Theater? Are you still working to re-open it eventually or is that unlikely now?
Are there any special events involving the LEGO exhibit and/or LEGO building for kids coming up this Summer?
Curious if you have a teacher discount?
Just spent the last few hours with our 5 grandkids exploring all the fun things the Science Center has to offer. Very frustrating when it came time to leave the parking ramp however. Sat on the second floor for 30 minutes waiting to get out. Not good with tired small ones. This needs fixed!
A great place to visit and learn :)
Do you have gift cards available? Not for membership, but just for a certain $ value. Thanks!