Where to Play with Saber-tooth Tigers: Some of the Best Oklahoma Science and Discovery Destinations – Part I:
Childhood is full of science. It’s the chemistry experiment of combining your strawberry scented shampoo and your watermelon scented conditioner to see if you can make your own delicious 2-in-1 combo. It’s the engineering lessons of building giant sand cities, reinforced by cardboard to prevent collapse and make them hamster-safe. Childhood science is the biology of why your two guppies magically became nine guppies overnight, or the physics of building the perfect parachute for throwing your Ninja Turtle action figures off the roof without breaking them. Science is everywhere when you’re a kid.
In the spirit of these treasured childhood moments that still inspire us today here at Dunlap Codding, we bring you a new Friday series—an exploration of the Top 13 Science and Discovery destinations of Oklahoma. Enjoyment is guaranteed for any young explorer, or for anyone who is young at heart.
Science Museum Oklahoma
No list of science museums in Oklahoma could possibly be complete without Science Museum Oklahoma (“SMO”). Stretching back to its storied days as the Omniplex Center and Kirkpatrick Planetarium, SMO has been entertaining and educating children for generations. It has something for everyone.
At SMO, every exhibit is interactive. Whether it’s on sound waves, crystallography, or gravity, children get to truly experience science. Kids can get their hands dirty in the Tinkering Garage and even take home an invention of their own. Little Adventurers can slide down the world’s largest spiral slide (3 stories!), as well as enjoy great explanations on the physics of slides and the geometry of spirals. Kid Space is a safe, monitored, science themed play area for the youngest visitors to the museum, ensuring that science is open even to those for whom walking is a brave new world. The “Science Live!” demonstrations hosted by the museum’s mascot, Otto the Robot, are also great.
Not to be forgotten is the amazing IMAX® Dome Theater with its breath-taking films, or the Planetarium, featuring Wayne the Celestial Wizard, there to answer all your astronomy questions. Seasonal outdoor garden areas and traveling specialty exhibits round out the fun, and, when you’re ready to go home, Otto can come with you in the “Otto Talks!” app.
Science Museum Oklahoma truly lives up to its mission statement: “Enrich People’s Lives by Revealing the Wonder and Relevance of Science!”
Science Museum of Oklahoma
2100 NE 52nd St., Oklahoma City, OK 73111
The Museum of Osteology
Filled with the largest collection of skeletons in the world, the Museum of Osteology, sponsored by Skulls Unlimited, will have anyone singing, “Oh the toe bone’s connected to the foot bone….” For decades, the men and women of Skulls Unlimited have been the number one provider of real and cast skeletons to academic institutions and museums. Lucky for OKC, they’re locals. When they decided to open up a fabulous museum featuring their complete collection, they built it in their hometown.
The collection includes a unique blend of prehistoric skeletons from long extinct animals like the Archaeopteryx and Dire Wolf alongside skeletons ranging from Long Horns to Humans. If it has bones, there is a good chance the museum has it on display. Visitors can play with fossil casts of dinosaur bones identical to those on display in the United States Natural History Museum—that’s because both sets were made by the same guys! This museum is the only place in the world where you can work a saber-tooth tiger skull like a hand puppet.
For visitors with strong stomachs, backstage tours are available of the Skulls Unlimited facilities, where real skeletons are prepped for study and display using acid baths, flesh-eating beetles, and other techniques. For gentler souls, the museum offers an array of fascinating lessons on the science of osteology. Ever wanted to be able to tell a bird’s diet just from the shape of its beak? This is the place for you!
As icing on the cake, the museum store is filled with Skulls Unlimited products, so you can finally buy that Velociraptor claw you’ve always wanted. Every person has a skeleton, and every skeleton has a place at The Museum of Osteology. Give your skeleton a treat and head on down for a visit.
The Museum of Osteology
10301 S. Sunnylane Rd., Oklahoma City, OK 73160
Image available at Wikimedia Commons
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