You might remember our post last year about the Science Mill. We were so blessed to visit again this last weekend. And just like last time, the Science Mill did not disappoint!
The kids in front of the Science Mill.
There are over 50 exhibits set up all around the historic 1880s mill to discover and explore. There are exhibits inside and outside. I love that the Science Mill is all about hands-on learning and creativity as kids (and adults) dive into the exciting world of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
G in front of the K'Nex Sculpture
There was a Sleigh Racer Challenge set up at the front of the mill. Kids could design and build a sleigh using recycled materials to harness the physics of motion to fly.
C and D testing out their sleighs.
There are fun things to discover all around the mill - including sculptures and displays at various heights and levels - this one was way up high!
F looking at the Paludarium.
F playing the banana piano.
E creating an explosion.
The creating an explosion exhibit is a favorite for many. Simply push the button on the left to start the electrical current flowing in electrodes inside the tube of water. The current will split the water into hydrogen and oxygen. After the hydrogen gas has been collected and loaded into the launch chamber, push the button on the right and the orange ball will fly up the tube accompanied by a loud bang. The kids like to see who can get their ball the highest.
A's ball is flying up the tube
It's a little tricky to see so I circled it in red.
G making his sailboat race.
In this exhibit you can control both the wind and the sail positions to see how your boat moves. My kids like to race them.
A and C having fun with windmills.
You can change the size and shape of turbine blades to see how it impacts the generation of electricity.
Me in the Fractalarium!
Another huge favorite for my younger kiddos is the Dig In exhibit. They love feeling the sand and watching this interactive exhibit change and morph. You get to create virtual topography in real time.
When you cast a shadow with your hand, virtual rain will begin to fall.
A look at the sand map
We headed to the 3D theater to watch the 20 minute video of Incredible Predators 3D.
Each featured film is available for a limited time.
C and D enjoying the magnetic ball wall.
On the opposite side of the ball wall, you will find the gear wall.
You can combine gears in different ways to see if you can turn the windmill.
E in front of the colorful mural.
I was so excited to see the Aquaponics Greenhouse. This was a coming soon attraction the last time we visited and it is in full operation now and it is pretty amazing! This 1,000 square foot greenhouse shows you how tilapia, prawns, koi and turtles provide the food to grow fruit, vegetables and tropical plants in floating rafts, giant living walls, and vertical growing tubes.
I love the poster explaining the concept.
Aquaponics is the intersection of raising fish and growing plants in the water without soil. Fish eat fish food, they provide food for the plants with their waste (microbes convert waste to nutrients), and the plants filter the water.
F checking out one of the living walls.
Underneath are several fish including glass catfish.
Above are these amazing pitcher plants.
They are carnivores! I peeked inside one and saw an insect.
Another living wall...
Some of the greens...
The Science Mill has several African Spurred Tortoises that live outside in an underground burrow. Last March one of the females laid a clutch of eggs. Six eggs hatched in early July and now there are baby tortoises in the greenhouse.
The baby tortoises get to eat a lot of what is produced in the Aquaponics Greenhouse. They were so fun to watch.
E completed her Greenhouse Bingo card.
We had to visit the axolotls in the BioLab.
A closer view
As I mentioned earlier, there are exhibits both inside and outside. The Colossal Robotic Hand is located in the back of the mill and it is an all-time favorite for us.
The Colossal Robotic Hand
This hand is 30-feet-tall and made of stainless steel. It's actually made from more than 500 individual, custom designed, stainless steel triangles. Using a remote joysticks, you can operate the hand by making each of its giant fingers move.
Using the joystick
One of my favorite!
In the Fossil Dig, you grab some tools and see how many fossils you can find.
F and G digging
G pulling the Giant Lever.
The Wave Pendulum is really fun to watch.
View after launch
And another view
The boys really enjoyed the Incredible Ball Machine. You have pedals, wheels and pulleys to try that all affect the trajectory of the ball.
Checking out the Incredible Ball Machine
And a side view
Another new exhibit to us was The Scrambler. It is a giant 12-piece puzzle with 48 sides. There are three different worlds to unscramble in this puzzle - coral reef, prehistoric times, and out space.
The Scrambler sign
Above you can see the giant puzzle. Each piece has 4 different sides to choose from.
A back view of this historic 1880s mill.
I've only showed you a portion of what the Science Mill has to offer. It promotes creative thinking and has kids questioning and learning as they go around the mill exploring exhibits and concepts. All of my kids had a great time. I also want to mention that they have special events like the Snow Day coming up in January, field trips, birthday parties as well as monthly Homeschool Days (love that!).
I am so glad that we visited this time of year because we were able to stay at the mill for most of the day and then enjoy Johnson's City's Lights Spectacular afterwards.
The kids enjoying the lights.
The lights are beautiful.
David with E and D.
I'm happy to offer you this coupon for $1 off admission per person (expires Jan. 5, 2020). This way you can enjoy the Science Mill and also the Lights Spectacular. I'd love to know what you think.
I also want to mention their military discount! Through the generous support of Whataburger, the Sciene Mill offers half-price admission for any active or retired military service memeber and up to 3 family members with a valid ID. Woohoo.
Disclosure: My family and I were able to visit the Science Mill for free in exchange for my honest review. Thanks so much to the Science Mill and US Family Guide for selecting us for this campaign. Opinions are 100% my own.