Downtown Springfield Association
A young child looks through the hole in an astronaut cutout
Downtown Business Spotlight

Find out-of-this-world experiences at The Discovery Center

February 14, 2019


The guests visiting the Discovery Center have been — quite literally in some cases — out of this world.

Downtown Springfield’s interactive, hands-on science museum welcomes another big star this Saturday, Feb. 16. That’s when the Cat in the Hat returns for Seuss Science Day. The star of books, cartoons and movies has been entertaining people for 50 years.

The event, hosted by the Discovery Center and Ozarks Public Television, celebrates the birthday of Dr. Seuss. There will be readings of stories like “Mr. Brown Can Moo! Can You?”, “Fox in Socks,” “Green Eggs and Ham” and “The Sneetches.” The day will also include special science activities on topics like sound, electricity, nutrition and genetics. There will also be a visit from the Cat in the Hat himself.

Activities will run from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The Discovery Center will be open its usual Saturday business hours, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Seuss Science Day is free for all Discovery Center members. Not a member? Then take advantage of a special reduced admission cost of only $7 per person (children 2 and under are free). You can buy your tickets in advance through 417tix.com.

The Cat in the Hat is far from the only big star executive director Rob Blevins has brought to the Discovery Center. Missouri Governor Mike Parson visited Jan. 18 to announce a grant of almost $474,000 from the Missouri Department of Economic Development. Missouri House Speaker Elijah Haahr and Minority Leader Crystal Quade joined Parson at the event.

The grant will go toward Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics as well as opioid education for young people at the Discovery Center. Gov. Parson told the crowd the grant will help pay for age-specific lessons for students and no-cost field trips to the museum.

Parson’s visit came just two months after honest-to-goodness moon rocks, brought to Earth by astronauts on the Apollo missions, were on display at the Discovery Center. There were both lunar samples and meteorite samples, stored in clear, airtight Lucite disks. They were also taken on field trips around the area.

How big of a deal were these moon rocks? For security reasons, the samples were stored at the police station overnight. Blevins also had to take part in special training on how to handle the lunar and meteorite samples.

The Discovery Center is host to Springfield Public Schools’ Academy of Exploration. There are 40 fifth-grade students that take part in the program, which uses two specialized classrooms. The curriculum focuses on STEM.

But don’t fret if you’re not a student. You could still get an immersive experience at the Discovery Center. Keep your eyes out for Night at the Museum, the center’s annual fundraiser. That event allows grownups to explore 60,000 square feet of exhibits and experience technology like 3D printers and Virtual Reality goggles, all while enjoying food and drinks from the area’s top restaurants and bidding on silent auction items.

The experience at Night at the Museum, much like the lunar samples, is out of this world. For more information, visit the Discovery Center’s website or call 417-862-9910.