The Science Center: Providing hands-on science for 25 years


Nicole Tillberg | @nicoletillberg

Graham, age 4, and Audry, age 7, learning about the properties of water at The Science Center’s new home school camp on Friday September, 27, 2019.

By Elizabeth Biernacki, Staff Reporter

The Science Center at the University Mall is a member of the Association of Science and Technology where kids and adults have the resources to learn about different kinds of science.

The Science Center’s website says its mission is providing hands on learning for kids to nourish and preserve their innate curiosity.

“[Kids] can touch and make the science tangible,” Chris Walls, the executive director of The Science Center, said. 


The Science Center offers many different kinds of scientific opportunities including exhibits of live animals such as turtles, rabbits and birds, a look at dinosaurs, physics such as kinetic energy and sound energy and much more.

“Everything that we do is all hands on science,” Josh Morale, the general manager at The Science Center, said. “We also try to incorporate a little bit of imaginary play in there as well.”

The center was built to engage children and get them used to education, Connie Adams, The Science Center programming director, said.

“There’s still some of us around that think learning is fun, and we want to share that,” Connie Adams said.

Walls said The Science Center is always thinking about the current exhibits they have and will cycle out old ones in favor of newer and better exhibits that are made at the site.

“If you have the ability to build [models] yourself, and make them as nice as what’s in a museum and safe as what’s in a museum, then you save so much money,” Bill Adams, The Science Center’s director of exhibits, said.

The sand dig, where kids dig in the sand to reveal fossils, would’ve cost thousands to buy somewhere else, but by building it themselves it only cost hundreds, Bill said


The gravity chain prototype, a contraption that uses gravity to demonstrate the ideas of kinetic energy, was made from donated materials from people in the community, Bill Adams said.

Memberships for The Science Center are $75 a year, and Walls said becoming a member also means becoming a member of the Association of Science and Technology Center. Four hundred museums from all 50 states, and many international countries, are a part of this organization.

“I’ve sold many, not several, many [memberships] to 22-year-old college students who are going to be traveling for a little bit and then go to all these museums for free,” Walls said.

Morale started at The Science Center originally as a college intern as a recreation management major. He learned skills in both recreation and management during his year long internship before being hired.

Walls said his goal is to get more high schoolers, college students and families to be more involved with The Science Center in the future, as well.

“We can’t stay open without the support of the community, without them we would close down,” Walls said. “And we’ve been open for 25 years now.”

Staff reporter Elizabeth Biernacki can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter at @EBiernacki_619.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.