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Rev it up
It’s time to get revved up! Great Lakes Science Center’s “Vroom! A Car Adventure” exhibition is an interactive, hands-on experience where visitors of all ages can learn, explore, experiment and play with all things automotive.
Image © Gayle Norris
Walking into Reinberger Hall on the lower level of Great Lakes Science Center, you’re immediately welcomed by the most dominant feature of the exhibition: a huge, multi-level system of tracks called the Physics Playground, where miniature toy cars are rising, flying and looping from point A to point B. Kids and adults alike with eyes wide are racing their car from various release points, cheering as they speed side-by-side with neighboring cars.
But as your eyes start to focus on the surrounding exhibits, you’ll see a number of interactive spaces vying for your attention. A draft table near the entrance gives artists an opportunity to flex their creative muscles and design their own vehicle. Around the corner, you can place magnetic shapes on a wall as a projector simulates aerodynamic wind movement around the silhouettes. Kids can get a taste of automotive repair in the Auto Care Center, complete with tools, a creeper and detachable parts.
Test your engineering skills at the build zone, where you can create a car from wood, washers, axles, and weights to complete challenges on the large track, Pinewood Derby-style. Don’t worry — there’s a toddler version as well that excludes the small parts. To commemorate your day, make your own personalized license plate rubbing to take home.
The exhibition is designed in a way that visitors of all ages can take part in the fun. The space is laid out so that there’s a line-of-sight between all segments, and while some areas cater more toward older car enthusiasts (such as the educational Technology and Innovation and Under the Hood areas that describes autonomous vehicles, shocks and brake systems), others are multi-age fascination points where toddlers can play alongside teenagers and grandparents. Looking around, you see people at every stage of life interacting with each section of the exhibition.
“Vroom!” is not something you’ll be able to see outside of Cleveland. Great Lakes Science Center built the exhibition in-house, incorporating proprietary exhibits and loaned pieces from the likes of Timkin, Cleveland Institute of Art, Faro and the University of Akron. When the exhibition is complete, the large multi-track exhibit will become a permanent aspect of the Great Lakes Science Center’s Level 2 space.
While attending the Vroom! exhibition and other science center attractions (including the only NASA Visitors Center in the northern United States), make time to see the Steamship William G. Mather, a floating maritime museum in a restored 618-foot freighter ship that is only open May-October.
Want to stay close to the action? Crash at one of these world-class hotels, no further than a half-mile from the Great Lakes Science Center.