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!
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Follow us on Twitter - @sciowa & Instagram - @sciowa. 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

08/11/2020

We haven’t seen them at SCI for a few months, but the meteorologists at WHO 13 News are still working hard to keep us safe and informed!

Today, we checked in with Meteorologist Megan Salois to learn more about yesterday’s severe weather, including a new word for many of us: “derecho.”

08/08/2020
"Hey-Ho, to Mars We'll Go!" read by Astronaut Christina Koch

Everyone loves a good story. How about one read from space??

Join Astronaut Christina H. Kock as she reads "Hey-Ho, to Mars We'll Go!: A Space-Age Version of 'The Farmer in the Dell'" read from 220 miles above the Earth aboard the International Space Station.

Hey-Ho, to Mars We'll Go!: A Space-Age Version of "The Farmer in the Dell" Written by Susan Lendroth with Illustrations by Bob Kolar Read on board the Intern...

We're getting some much-needed rain today! But how much? Here's a way to make a quick rain gauge with materials you prob...
08/07/2020

We're getting some much-needed rain today! But how much?

Here's a way to make a quick rain gauge with materials you probably already have at home!

08/05/2020
What's Up: August 2020

It's going to be a great month for stargazing! ⭐

Jupiter, Saturn, Venus and Mars will all be close to the moon throughout the month. The annual Persied meteor shower also takes place this month, peaking on August 12.

Get all the details in this video from NASA!

08/05/2020
Behind the Scenes: Supporting Educators Statewide

You're likely familiar with SCI’s exhibits, planetarium and live science programs, but did you know that SCI offers teacher professional development for educators across the state?

Join Jolie, our director of innovative STEM teaching, to learn more about our Pint Size Science program, which has been selected as a Scale-Up program by the Iowa Governor's STEM Advisory Council for the past six years!

07/31/2020

Looking for a fun activity this weekend? Try making a Doodle Bot that wiggles and whirs as it creates unique artistic masterpieces!

The next Mars rover is on its way to the Red Planet! Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to ...
07/30/2020

The next Mars rover is on its way to the Red Planet!

Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, with a name that embodies NASA's passion for taking on and overcoming challenges. It will search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet's geology and climate, collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for possible return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.

(Mark your calendars now: Perseverance is set to arrive at Mars on February 18, 2021!)

07/28/2020
Countdown to Mars: Mission Overview

NASA's next mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission — is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral as soon as July 30!

Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, with a name that embodies NASA's passion for taking on and overcoming challenges. It will search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet's geology and climate, collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for possible return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.

Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy on Tuesday, July 28, at noon for a preview of this mission as we #CountdownToMars!

07/28/2020
Science Center of Iowa & Blank IMAX Dome Theater

Tune in today at noon for a preview of the Mars 2020 mission, which is set to launch as soon as this Thursday!

NASA's next mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission — is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral as soon as July 30!

Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, with a name that embodies NASA's passion for taking on and overcoming challenges. It will search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet's geology and climate, collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for possible return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.

Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy on Tuesday, July 28, at noon for a preview of this mission as we #CountdownToMars!

Because of our orbits, there are specific times when Earth and Mars are ideally placed for interplanetary travel. That t...
07/27/2020
Three countries are launching missions to Mars this month

Because of our orbits, there are specific times when Earth and Mars are ideally placed for interplanetary travel. That time is now!

Two of these three missions have already set off for the Red Planet, and NASA's Mars 2020 mission is launching soon. The launch window opens this Thursday and closes August 15. When conditions are favorable, the Perseverance rover and Ingenuity helicopter will be on their way.

Tune in to FB Live tomorrow at noon for a preview of the mission with NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy:www.facebook.com/sciowa/live

Over the next month, a flotilla of spacecraft will blast off into space with a one-way ticket to one of the solar system’s most mysterious objects: Mars. They are tasked with helping answer a question that has puzzled scientists for decades—is there, or was there ever, life on the red planet?

Later this week, the launch window for the Mars 2020 mission will open.  Could you imagine taking a six-month trip to an...
07/27/2020
Code a Mars Helicopter Video Game Project | NASA/JPL Edu

Later this week, the launch window for the Mars 2020 mission will open.

Could you imagine taking a six-month trip to another planet all by yourself? Luckily, the Perseverance rover has a buddy – Ingenuity the helicopter!

Ingenuity will be the first demonstration of powered flight on a planet other than Earth, and it will be especially challenging considering how thin the Martian atmosphere is! Ingenuity will start with a simple goal: lifting off the group, hovering for about 30 seconds and landing safely. Once that challenge is complete, it will start trying riskier maneuvers and routes.

Ingenuity will not be controlled in real-time with a joystick, like RC helicopters or drones. It will be controlled with pre-programmed code sequences.

You can simulate what it will be like to code for Ingenuity’s flight tests with this JPL-created Scratch game:www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/code-a-mars-helicopter-video-game/

Learn more about the Mars helicopter at https://mars.nasa.gov/technology/helicopter/

Create a video game that lets players explore the Red Planet with a helicopter like the one going to Mars with NASA's Perseverance rover!

The #CountdownToMars is on! Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy for a preview of the mission, set to launch from C...
07/26/2020

The #CountdownToMars is on!

Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy for a preview of the mission, set to launch from Cape Canaveral as soon as July 30! https://www.facebook.com/sciowa/live/

07/24/2020

Where do clouds come from? How are they made? What are the made of?

Check out this video of one of our favorite science demonstrations – the Cloud in a Bottle - and learn how to make your own using the instructions here: https://bit.ly/3eRVkqq

SCI is open to the public this Saturday and Sunday! You'll need advance tickets in one of three 2-hour timeslots (9:00-1...
07/23/2020

SCI is open to the public this Saturday and Sunday!

You'll need advance tickets in one of three 2-hour timeslots (9:00-11:00 am, 11:30 am-1:30 pm or 2:00-4:00 pm). Tickets are just $7 per person - FREE for members.

Learn more about what to expect during your visit at www.sciowa.org/reopening

Pollinator pods are folded paper filled with seeds that will grow into flowers and plants that provide food and habitat ...
07/23/2020

Pollinator pods are folded paper filled with seeds that will grow into flowers and plants that provide food and habitat for pollinators.

Follow these instructions to learn how you can make pollinator pods to drop around your backyard or neighborhood! You'll need:
- Prairie seed
- Soil
- Cone-style coffee filters
- A glue stick

07/22/2020

NASA's next mission to Mars — the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission — is targeted to launch from Cape Canaveral as soon as July 30!

Perseverance is the most sophisticated rover NASA has ever sent to Mars, with a name that embodies NASA's passion for taking on and overcoming challenges. It will search for signs of ancient microbial life, characterize the planet's geology and climate, collect carefully selected and documented rock and sediment samples for possible return to Earth and pave the way for human exploration beyond the Moon.

Join NASA Solar System Ambassador Dan Hoy on Tuesday, July 28, at noon for a preview of this mission as we #CountdownToMars!

Have you heard of Mars 2020 and the Perseverance rover? They're headed to the Red Planet... and soon!The launch window i...
07/22/2020
Explore Mars: A Mars Rover Game | NASA Space Place – NASA Science for Kids

Have you heard of Mars 2020 and the Perseverance rover? They're headed to the Red Planet... and soon!

The launch window is about three weeks — from July 30 - August 15. When conditions are favorable, the mission will launch from Florida's Cape Canaveral. It will arrive at Mars on February 18, 2021.

The Mars 2020 mission has lots of goals once the rover reaches the Martian surface. Among them is to collect and cache various rock samples that will eventually be delivered back to Earth. But how do the rover operators control where it moves? Due to the vast distance between Mars and the rover’s control station on Earth, its operators remotely send code to pre-program when and where the rover moves.

Could you could be a Mars rover driver? Try this game from NASA to find out!

Drive around the Red Planet and gather information in this fun coding game!

07/21/2020
Rooted in Science: The Effectiveness of Face Masks

From the beginning, our reopening plan has been rooted in science. Part of this plan includes the requirement of face coverings for all visitors ages 5 and up - and here's why!

This video visualizes a study from the journal Physics of Fluids entitled "Visualizing the Effectiveness of Face Masks in Obstructing Respiratory Jets." In the study, researchers at the Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science show how effective face coverings are at containing respiratory droplets. These droplets can carry COVID-19 and are a primary source for cross-infection between individuals.

By using lasers and a synthetic fog solution, they simulated coughing and sneezing, and we’re able to see how the droplets can be prevented from becoming airborne.

While well-fitted homemade masks with multiple layers of fabric and off-the-shelf cone-style masks proved to be the most effective at decreasing respiratory droplets from circulating, all of the coverings tested reduced the speed and range of the respiratory jets. (Without a mask, droplets traveled more than 8 feet; with a bandana, they traveled 3 feet, 7 inches; with a folded cotton handkerchief, they traveled 1 foot, 3 inches; with the stitched quilting cotton mask, they traveled 2.5 inches; and with the cone-style mask, droplets traveled about 8 inches.)

This study illustrates why face coverings can prevent you from spreading germs and help protect you and your family from the germs of others!

[Note that this study tested masks that are readily available to the general public, which do not draw away from the supply of medical-grade masks and respirators for healthcare workers.]

Learn more at https://www.fau.edu/newsdesk/articles/efficacy-facemasks-coronavirus.php - or read the full text of the study at https://aip.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/5.0016018

Details on what to expect during your SCI visit can be found at www.sciowa.org/reopening

07/20/2020
Virtual Circuitry with Tinkercad (Tutorial)

If you've been to our Makers Studio exhibit, you might be able to imagine the station where you can experiment with making circuits that light up lightbulbs and make other objects move. Since our Makers Studio is currently closed and that hands-on experience is unavailable, this video brings circuitry to you... virtually!

You'll just need a computer with internet access and a Tinkercad account. Then, watch this video, and Dan will walk you through everything you need to know.

This challenge can be done independently by kids in grades 3 and up and with assistance for younger learners.

There are so many ways to use your creativity and experiment with this activity. We can't wait to see what you come up with!

The paper rocket launcher is among the most popular hands-on exhibits at SCI, but while that exhibit remains closed, you...
07/17/2020

The paper rocket launcher is among the most popular hands-on exhibits at SCI, but while that exhibit remains closed, you can still make and launch your own straw rockets at home!

You'll need:
-A pen or pencil
-Scissors
-Tape
-A soda straw
-Measuring tape
-And this Jet Propulsion Laboratory-designed template:https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/pdfs/strawrocket_worksheet.pdf

Create your rocket and test how far it can fly! Modify the deign and make the rocket fly farther! How far will your rocket go?

07/16/2020

We can learn a lot from our environment by listening to it: How do these sounds represent their ecosystems? How can they the help us understand how they work and how they change over time? How does human activity and the sounds we create impact these ecosystems, as well as their soundscapes?

Soundscape ecologists are dedicated to answering these questions. While they spend a lot of time LISTENING sounds they record from the ecosystems they study, a powerful tool called a SPECTROGRAM allows them to SEE those sounds.

Check out this video to learn how to interpret and create your own spectrograms for the soundscapes you record!

Summer is ordinarily a very exciting and active time at SCI! We usually welcome thousands of visitors and host hundreds ...
07/15/2020

Summer is ordinarily a very exciting and active time at SCI! We usually welcome thousands of visitors and host hundreds of students for summer camps.

This summer, we've had to adapt and innovate. We're open to the public on weekends, and our onsite camps look a little different than in years past.

Here's a peek behind the scenes:

In order to ensure our campers’ safety, we continue to use a plan rooted in science. Every camper gets their temperature checked and a general health screening as they’re dropped off in the morning. Staff and campers wear masks while at SCI to reduce the spread of aerosol droplets, and we've set up our classrooms to ensure social distancing while maintaining collaborative communication. Each camp is isolated as well to reduce exposure from shared spaces from other campers not in their immediate class.

Learn more about our reopening plan at www.sciowa.org/reopening

The Adler Planetarium put together a great graphic on when and where to view comet NEOWISE. If we get clear skies this w...
07/15/2020

The Adler Planetarium put together a great graphic on when and where to view comet NEOWISE.

If we get clear skies this week, go outside and look to the northwest horizon about 30-70 minutes after sunset. The comet is visible with the naked eye, but binoculars may help. Like all stargazing, the darker the skies, the better - and because NEOWISE appears so close to the horizon, you'll need to get away from tall trees/buildings to catch a glimpse.

As the month goes on, the comet will be higher on the horizon, but it also will become dimmer as it moves away from Earth, so this week really is the best time for viewing.

Astronomers say this is the best comet viewing opportunity since the 1997 appearance of Comet Hale-Bopp - and NEOWISE won't visit Earth again for nearly 6,800 years, so you don't want to miss it!

Have you noticed a bright object in the southern sky? That's Jupiter! But why is it so bright?Tonight, Jupiter will be t...
07/14/2020

Have you noticed a bright object in the southern sky? That's Jupiter! But why is it so bright?

Tonight, Jupiter will be the brightest and most visible of all summer. This is because Jupiter will be "at opposition," or its closest point to the Earth with respect to our relative annual orbits. Check out these images to learn more!

(Next week, we'll talk more about the fainter object to its lower-left, Saturn!)

All images rendered using E&S Digistar 5.

07/13/2020
Unboxing in the Innovation Lab

Everyone loves getting new toys! Join Jolie in our Innovation Lab for a special unboxing video of two new 3D printers and learn about all of their cool features that will be used to engage and inspire students, educators and visitors.

We're now open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, but we will still be providing virtual resources! Here's what we ...
07/13/2020

We're now open to the public on Saturdays and Sundays, but we will still be providing virtual resources! Here's what we have planned to help you "Go Beyond with SCI" this week:

• MONDAY: Everyone loves getting new toys! Join Jolie in our Innovation Lab for a special unboxing video of some new 3D printers and learn how these will be used to engage and inspire students, educators and visitors of all ages.

• TUESDAY: It's hard to believe, but we're already halfway through summer camps! Take a behind-the-scenes look at what our campers have been up to as well as how our educators have adapted to maintain safety guidelines and still have meaningful camp experiences.

• WEDNESDAY: Have you noticed a bright object in the southern sky? That's Jupiter! Learn more about the gas giant and how to view it. (Next Wednesday, we'll talk more about the fainter object to its lower-left, Saturn!)

• THURSDAY: Soundscapes are audio recordings that capture all of the sounds in an environment. Learn more about how to record and analyze soundscapes in your own backyard!

• FRIDAY: As we countdown to the launch of the Mars 2020 mission carrying the Perseverance rover, join us to learn how to create a straw rocket and simulate your own launch. 🚀

View our other virtual resources and at-home activities at www.sciowa.org/athome - and learn more about when and how to visit SCI at www.sciowa.org/reopening!

Address

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

Opening Hours

Saturday 09:00 - 17:00
Sunday 09:00 - 16:00

Telephone

(515) 274-6868

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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


Comments

Is this calendar incorrect? Only open on Sat and Sun?
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 :)