Mobius Science Center offers interactive learning

Ever wonder what can close down a whole street of traffic in downtown Spokane? Apparently, science can.

The new Mobius Science Center in River Park Square held its grand opening event on Sept. 8. The “Mobius Grand Opening Street Fair” shut down the entire street through River Park Square, filling the area with demonstrations, fun activities and plenty of people interested in science.

Senior Kyle Darbonne, who is majoring in biology, currently volunteers at the center, and said that the grand opening event was very successful in spreading the word about Mobius and its opportunities for the public.

“We had so many people filtering through throughout the whole day,” Darbonne said. “Pretty much everyone that came in that I talked to said they didn’t even know it was there.”

Marty Gonzales, the chief operating officer for Mobius, said there were plenty of speakers in attendance, such as the Spokane mayor and the CEO for the Museum of Flight. Barbara Anderson, the mother of astronaut Michael Anderson, cut the ribbon for the grand opening. Anderson was one of six astronauts who died on the space shuttle Columbia and is memorialized with a bronze statue behind the INB Performing Arts Center downtown.

The street fair included 45 different scientific demonstrations and many activities, including face painting, arts and crafts and sign-making, as well as a reptile company, with a variety of different reptiles for people to see up close.

“We had nearly 4,000 people come through our doors,” Gonzales said. “It was a huge success. It’s been a project well in the making; so much community and support made it possible.”

Mobius began in 2005 when Inland Northwest Science and Technology Center and the Children’s Museum of Spokane merged. With the merge, came the creation of Mobius Kids Children’s Museum.

But Darbonne said that the Children’s Museum is more for kids eight years of age and younger.

With the opening of the 26,000 square foot Mobius Science Center, older children can have a place to go to be involved in hands-on scientific learning. The exhibits range from topics from physics, optics and engineering to biology, flight, acoustics and sound.

Hannah Houpt, a first-time visitor to the center, said she enjoyed the exhibits and would gladly return.

“It’s really nice,” she said. “And a lot bigger than I expected it to be.”

Darbonne said that the main goal of the center is to get kids excited about science and to promote hands-on learning.

“That’s the main part of volunteering, getting the kids thinking analytically and scientifically [and] asking questions,” Darbonne said. “If they walk away asking more questions than you can answer; that’s great.”

Mobius also has a variety of programs to teach kids, mainly through on-site and outreach learning. They host a variety of camps, workshops, contests, science cafes and even a speaker series.

Mobius will have a few events coming up soon, including the “Mixing for Mobius” cocktail party on Nov. 2 and the Santa Claus breakfast for families on Dec. 1.

Volunteer positions are available for students at both the Mobius Science Center and Mobius Kids Children’s Museum. Information can be found at mobiusspokane.org.

General admission to the center is $10.

Meghan Dellinger Staff Writer

Contact Meghan Dellinger at mdellinger15@my.whitworth.edu