Citizens in Spokane have been waiting decades for a full-scale science center, and the opening of the 26,000 square foot Mobius Science Center in the city’s core heralds the end of a long and bumpy road. The center is now open to the public, but has all the time, effort, and roughly $15 million been worth it? I recently took a trip to Mobius to find out for myself.
First, I should point out that I’ve been to a number of science centers in my time. Whenever my wife and I go on vacation, we make a point to visit local science centers because... well, to be honest, we’re both kind of nerdy.
So how does Spokane’s Mobius Science Center stack up against those in other cities? My first impression was remarkably similar. In fact, a number of the exhibits were near copies of ones I had seen at OMSI in Portland and Telus World of Science in Vancouver, BC. Not that they aren’t still fun, I was just a little disappointed to see several exhibits that are already being featured at other science centers in the Northwest. With that said, Mobius is filled with a plethora of other exhibits, nearly all of which are interactive in some way.
One of my favorites demonstrated how copper and aluminum affect magnets (I won’t ruin the surprise). I also liked the sound table, even if I couldn’t figure out how to use it. That was actually my biggest frustration while I was walking around: Not knowing how I was supposed to interact with some of the exhibits, or what the point of some of them was. I’m sure I just missed the signs explaining it all, but if a 31 year-old couldn’t walk up and figure it out, can we expect an 8 year-old to?
But hey, the kids are mostly just there to play, and if they experience some science in the meantime, I’m all for it. Not everything needed to be explained anyway. There are insects and lizards to look at, and although there are signs telling you what they are, you don’t need one to tell you that bugs are cool.
Cooler still is that Mobius is more than a bunch of in-house exhibits. There are classroom spaces, plans for a traveling exhibit, and the current exhibits are designed to be able to be replaced over time with new attractions.
So was Mobius Science Center worth the wait? I think so. It may not be breaking a lot of ground in terms of its exhibits, but what is there is a good start, engaging for both kids and adults, and sets a solid foundation for science education in our region.
If you want to see it all for yourself, Mobius Science Center will be having their grand opening (and grand re-opening of Mobius Kids in River Park Square) on Saturday. The street in front of the center will be closed to traffic, and will feature live science demonstrations, food, and free tours of both Mobius Science Center and Mobius Kids.
Mobius Science Center is located at 805 W. Main St. in Downtown Spokane (across the street from River Park Square) and is open Tuesday through Sunday. For information about center, including admission prices and hours of operation, visit mobiusspokane.org.