Top Four Reasons We’re Batty About Bats!

Bats are misunderstood. They’re often considered the terror flapping in the night that’ll swoop down and attack humans for their sweet blood. This isn’t true. Before you start rubbing garlic all over your body this Halloween season, we want to tackle some myths surrounding this misunderstood mammal and show you how helpful and cool they really are.

 

  1. Bat’s dining menu: And what will the bat have this evening? All 13 native Florida bat species exclusively eat insects. You heard that right, JUST insects! You can expect them to snack on flies, wasps, mosquitoes and more. Bats love eating insects so much that they eat around 1000 every night (if only we could eat 1000 servings of our favorite food…). This makes bats a great natural form of pest control. Now you know there’s absolutely no human blood for dinner! 
  2. Pollination information: Bats are a proud member of the “Pollen Nation” with bees, butterflies, birds and more! Much like their fellow “B” pollinators, bats are critical to the development of fruits and flowers. Bats help pollinate when they feed on nectar in flowers and also help disperse seeds. What’s cuter than a bat’s face covered in yellow pollen? Absolutely nothing. Be sure to thank a bat next time you enjoy a mango or banana
  3. Great guano: Bat poop is awesome! We can’t get enough of this stuff. Bat poop is primarily used as a fertilizer because it’s rich in nitrogen, phosphate and potassium, which really help plants grow. Bat poop is mostly popular in organic farming. Don’t put that organic apple down though! This is a natural and completely safe fertilizer. No bats or bat poop were harmed in the making of your food.
  4. The Bat Cave: Remember the time you and your classmates huddled around each other at 7am while your teacher tried removing the bat in your classroom? Or maybe it was the time you and your parent had to crawl up to the attic to remove a couple of bats from your house! These are just a few examples of man-made structures that bats like to roost in. Bats can also either roost alone, with small groups or in large colonies. If you suspect bats are living in your home, contact animal control. For the safety of the bat, and yourself – trying to a remove a bat on your own is not reccomended as they can carry rabies.

 

Extra fun fact:

Bats are bloodsuckers! There are three vampire bat species (out of more than 1,300 bat species) that feed on blood, but only one targets mammals. All vampire bats are limited to Latin America. Oh, and they don’t suck blood, they lap it like kittens with milk! Click here to learn more about bats. 

 

So, the next time you see a bat out at night, don’t scream and run away! Take a moment to appreciate the helpful and cool things the over 1300 species of bats around the world do.

 

Want to bust more spooky science myths? Swoop on over to Orlando Science Center during Spooky Science Month to learn about bats and more during your next visit.

DIY Rock Candy

It's Spooky Science Month at Orlando Science Center!

While rock candy may be a tasty treat, the chemistry behind this candy makes for a great at-home experiment to do with children! Follow these directions to create your very own rock candy just in time for Halloween. All you’ll need are a few household items to become a chemist without leaving your kitchen! Recommended age range: 5

Materials:
  • Five cups sugar
  • Two cups water
  • Two clean 16 oz jars
  • Food coloring
  • Flavoring extract
  • Stirring spoon
  • Medium sized pot
  • Stovetop
  • Two bamboo skewers
  • Four clothes pins
  • Measuring cups

Make a prediction! You’ll come back to this experiment each day for a week to check on your rock candy! What changes do you expect to see on the first day? How about the second day? What do you think your experiment will look like at the end?

 

Write down or draw your predictions and compare them to what you see during this experiment!

Step 1:  

  • Cut the skewers to the length of the jars. Wet them with water, leaving 1 ½ inches dry on one end of each skewer. Spoon sugar onto the damp skewers, rotating to coat evenly and then set aside to dry thoroughly.

Step 2-4:

  • Pour two cups of water into a pot. Place the pot on the stove and turn the burner to medium / high heat.
  • Slowly begin to pour five cups of sugar into the water and stir continuously until dissolved. Once most of the sugar has been added, the mixture will become thicker and cloudy as the sugar breaks down
  • Once the mixture comes to a steady simmer / low boil, add in 2-3 drops of any desired flavoring (orange, pineapple, grape etc.) as well as 2-3 drops of food coloring and wait for the mixture to come to a low boil once more before removing from the heat. 

Step 5 & 6:

  • Let the rock candy mixture cool down in the pot before pouring it into the two mason jars. Help the process along by placing the jars in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  • Once the mixture is completely cool, place a dry sugary skewer into the center of the mixture with the 1 ½ inch uncoated end sticking out. Use a clothes pin to secure the skewer in place and rest the edges of the clothes pin along the top of the jar, keeping the skewer in the center of the liquid

Step 7:

  • Leave the jars on a counter top with a paper towel draped over the clothes pins and check on your rock candy creations each day for one week. You should notice crystals forming after just one day!

After the experiment, think deeper about the reactions you saw! Ask questions like:

  • What did you notice as you observed your experiment each day? What changes did you see?
  • Did anything in your experiment surprise you?
  • How long did it take to see crystals forming? Keep a log book or photo journal to keep track!
  • What would happen if you added more/less sugar to the mixture? Do the experiment again to find out!

Visit Orlando Science Center all October to experience the science of the creepy and spooky with themed programming, special events and more! Catch our fan-favorite live show “Ghostflusters!” where our experts in ghost removal will show you how to deal with pesky spirits. Put your bravery to the test with treacherous tasks during Fear Factor Jr. Step into The Hive: A Makerspace for workshops like Machine Sewing 101, Wearable Tech, and more! Click here for a schedule of events. 

Seeing Sound and Painting Music

Art Gallery on Display at Orlando Science Center through October 22

Until recently, musician Christina Eve didn’t know she experienced the world differently. Born with Synesthesia, a rare neurological anomaly, Christina is able to see shapes and colors when she hears sound. To her it’s completely normal but for most of us it’s hard to imagine. That’s why Orlando Science Center is thrilled to host her artwork this fall in FUSION: A STEAM Gallery through October 22, 2019.  

 

Inherently attracted to music at a very young age, Christina pursued music her entire life. She began to paint what she saw in the hope that she could share the beauty of sound that so many of us cannot visualize. This provides rare insight into how the senses interact in the brain, to form our perception of the world around us.

 

We connected with Christina to discuss her synesthesia and artwork.

 

What synesthesia is and what kind you have?

Synesthesia is neurological condition, where two or more of the five senses (smell, sight, taste, sound, and touch) are linked. For me specifically, I have Chromesthesia so when I hear sound, I see colors and shapes. But specifically when I hear music, that’s when I see the most stunning colors and shapes, or photisms.

 

How old were you when you discovered your synesthesia?

I was 23 and a lot of us are older when we figure it out. Synesthetes are born with it, so it’s our reality. It made me really sad in college when I talked to my classmates in my music classes about a piece we’d be working on and I thought “wow, you don’t see this?”

 

Were you just able to pick up painting?
I never felt like my synesthesia had to be portrayed until I found out other people couldn’t see what I saw. I was so heartbroken that I decided to start painting to show people the stunning images that I see. But I see myself as a musician, I really don’t identify as a [visual] artist. When I first started, I had no artistic training and only did one or two paintings. Then my life got turned upside down a couple years ago, so I started doing painting therapeutically. I would put on music and paint what I saw and people started telling me this is beautiful.

I DON'T WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOU depicting the music of Thom Yorke
I DON'T WANT TO DISAPPOINT YOU depicting the music of Thom Yorke
NOR EARTH, NOR BOUNDLESS SEA depicting the music of Max Richter
NOR EARTH, NOR BOUNDLESS SEA depicting the music of Max Richter

Could you tell us about your upcoming gallery at OSC?
Pretty much everything I’ve ever done is going up. I will have the title of song I listened to for each painting. I’ll also have some newer pieces up that I call “Sleep,” it’s from composer Max Richter, who worked with a neuroscientist to write an eight-hour composition meant for the different stages and brain functions of sleep. When I listen to this I fall asleep to it and I try to capture the images when I’m in the hypnogogic state. This is the first time I’ve painted stuff for when I’m half-asleep.

 

What type of genres do you listen to when you paint?
I listen to a lot of different music, country music is yellow and brown so I stay away from that. A lot of classical, indie music, electronic music. I paint a lot of Radiohead and Bon Iver.

 

What is your process for creating your pieces? How do you find the music you want to paint?

As a synesthete, listening to music is always an extraordinary experience since my ears, eyes, heart, and mind are all inundated. If I hear a song that’s just very powerful and colorful I take it into my studio and I just start to paint on a canvas until it looks like what I’m seeing.

 

What do you want people to take away from your gallery?

When viewing my art, I hope you will be encouraged to seek out what is hidden from the eyes. Some of us may experience the world differently than most, but we all have ways to express and share beauty. As an artist, I’ve discovered that much of the synesthetic imagery I see can effectively communicate other invisible concepts, like joy or despair, or loneliness or hope. The mission of my work is to give voice to those experiences of humanity as a way to offer empathy and compassion, and to build community by sharing the hidden beauty I see.

Be sure to check out Christina's gallery, now on display at Orlando Science Center, through October 22! 

Join Us For Spooky Science Month…If You Dare

October is Spoooooooky Science Month at Orlando Science Center! 

All month long we're celebrating the science of the creepy and spooky with themed programming, special events and more! Catch our fan-favorite live show “Ghostflusters!” where our experts in ghost removal will show you how to deal with pesky spirits. Put your bravery to the test with treacherous tasks during Fear Factor Jr. Step into The Hive: A Makerspace for workshops like Machine Sewing 101, Wearable Tech and more!

 

Click here to view October's schedule of events.

 

Frighteningly Fun Fall Events:

Science Night Live DEAD

October 5

We’re putting a spooky spin on science at our next adults-only event! Will we have robot overlords in the near future? Find out in our traveling exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & the Machine. Hear from engaging guest speakers, catch an interactive Synesthesia presentation with Synthestruct, and participate in ghoulishly good trivia for prizes. Tickets are just $16, must be 21+ to attend.  Click here for more details. 

Science Night Dead Event on October 5

Canstruction Orlando

October 14 – November 10

Feast your eyes on impressive structures featuring canned and packaged foods as building materials! Sculptures will feature spooky science experiments can-structed in the laboratory that are concocted to help solve hunger. At the end of each exhibition, all can structures will be disassembled and donated to the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Last year, 11 teams used 33,000 cans to build everything from piñatas to dinosaurs and aliens to bounce houses! We can’t wait to see what this
year’s frightfully fun competition has in store.

Canstruction Orlando 2019 graphic

OSC After Dark

October 25

Join us if you dare for the Halloween party of the year with all of Orlando’s young professionals! Delight in a frightfully fun night at the museum as you dance in our dinosaur graveyard, participate in a costume contest, enjoy live music and entertainment, and sink your fangs into sweet and savory bites and booo-zy beverages! A limited number of all-inclusive tickets are available for this 21+ event. Early bird tickets are $35 through October 11 and
$50 after. Click here to get yours today. 

OSC After Dark Graphic

Members-only Pumpkins & Protons Party

October 30

 

Our most popular member-only event is back and better than ever! Bring your entire clan of monsters for a safe night of Halloween fun for creatures of all ages. Enjoy carnival games in Monster Midway and spooktacular experiences on all four floors! Plus, purchase tasty treats from local food trucks and dine with costumed characters in the Club House. Limited tickets are available on a first come, first served basis. A link to reserve tickets will be emailed to all current members in October.

 

Not a Member yet? Click here to learn more about becoming an OSC Member! 

Explore Your Senses and Face Your Artificial Intelligence Fears With Two Special Guest Speakers at Science Night Live!

Science Night Live gets a frighteningly fun twist on October 5! This is the last Science Night Live event of the year before it says, “Boo Felicia” until 2020.

Is Frankenstein considered Artificial Intelligence? Find out in the brand-new exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine and hear from HP Newquist, director of the exhibit! Then, join artist Synthestruct as she takes guests on a multi-sensory journey exploring human perception. Plus, enjoy spooky programming like ghoulishly good trivia, hands-on workshops, monstrous giant-screen films and more.

 

Join HP Newquist, one of the foremost authorities on the history and application of artificial intelligence at Science Night Live as he presents "Are You Afraid Of Artificial Intelligence? More Importantly, Should You Be?" Many scientists think Artificial Intelligence could be the most terrifying technology ever developed, capable of replacing humans within a few decades. HP will explore the past, present and future applications of AI, and the reality of what it can do. Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from a renowned AI expert!

 

Once you’ve faced your artificial intelligence fears, join Synthestruct, Orlando-based interactive and audiovisual designer for her interactive presentation, "Multi-Sensory: Exploring Synesthesia and Sensory Cross-Talk."* Explore your senses in this fun and interactive presentation that examines human perception and cross-sensory experiences. Equipped with crayons and other creative tools, you’ll be challenged to explore your own unique sensorium through stimulating flavors and sounds. *A ticket is required and will be distributed at the presentation room 15 minutes prior to each talk.

 

Click here to RSVP to the Facebook event!

 

Tickets have been known to sell out for this event, so get your $16 ticket today by clicking the button below! Members of Orlando Science Center receive FREE admission with promo code. To renew or purchase a membership click here.

After you’ve heard from HP Newquist and Synthestruct, put your braaaaains to the test and solve a murder mystery during Night of the Chicken Dead. Spin the Wheel of Torture for a treacherous task, enter ghoulishly good trivia to earn prizes and watch a monstrous giant-screen film. Tickets are just $16, click here to purchase yours today!

STEM Starts Here! Orlando Science Center’s Preschool Turns 10

Preschool-aged children are natural scientists and problem solvers. They live in a hands-on world, constantly experimenting as they discover new things. Leveraging this curiosity provides an opportunity for essential skill building and establishing a solid foundation for learning. In 2009, Orlando Science Center founded our community’s first STEM preschool to help our youngest learners, and their caregivers, better prepare for school and the challenges of an ever-competitive future.

 

It was a novel concept: an active preschool within a science center. Instilling the preschool curriculum with STEM learning, the teachers would use the exhibits and resources onsite within lessons, essentially turning every day into a field trip. It had only been done a handful of times at museums around the country, but the growing need for quality preschool education in the area inspired Orlando Science Center to move forward.

 

Over the past decade, Orlando Science Center’s preschool has graduated hundreds of confident, inquisitive learners. What started out as one classroom with only four children has grown to reach full capacity with four classrooms made up of over 70 students. Our team has created a learning environment unmatched by any other preschool in the region. Teachers ignite the curiosity of their students and present challenge-based activities created to nurture skills in problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication.

 

Children benefit not only from an open and supportive environment, but also a developmentally appropriate learning space that includes hands-on activities and skill building centers. This atmosphere is greatly enhanced by the content-rich STEM experiences found within the Science Center. The staff, all qualified preschool educators, guide students through scientific inquiry and the engineering design process with effective questioning techniques that facilitate thoughtful dialogue.

 

Every facet is explored as a learning opportunity. Storytime can use the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” as a basis to explore bridge building or arts and crafts to encourage students to invent a solution for a problem in their lives. It is not unusual to see three and four year-olds correcting their caregivers’ vocabulary regarding science terms. This evidence of success is proof that you can’t start early enough to build tomorrow’s STEM workforce.

 

Introducing STEM concepts within the preschool learning environment reduces the barriers of entry found later in the life. Students are excited, rather than intimidated, by these subjects and their confidence with STEM concepts stays with them as they progress to kindergarten and beyond. Orlando Science Center has also created professional development for preschool educators so they can bring hands-on STEM learning into their own classrooms.

 

The Science Center's preschool has seen 10 years of smiles, laughter and learning. Many families have graduated multiple siblings from the program. Students have gone on to find success in grade school, winning spots on the honor roll and science fair honors. It has become one of Orlando Science Center’s cornerstone programs and a living embodiment of its motto: “STEM starts here.”

Enjoy A Spooky Adults Night Out At Science Night Live!

Live from Orlando, it’s Science Night Live DEAD!

Ghouls and goblins ages 21 and up are invited to Orlando Science Center for a spooky adults’ night out on Saturday, October 5. Face your fears and spin the Wheel of Torture for a daring task, become a detective and solve a murder, make your own spooky jewelry in The Hive*, and find out if you should be afraid of artificial intelligence on this frightening night! 

 

Is Frankenstein considered artificial intelligence? Do we face a future similar to The Matrix or The Terminator? Learn more at Science Night Live! Join HP Newquist, an artificial intelligence expert, and creator of the brand-new exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine during his presentation* "Are You Afraid of Artificial Intelligence?"

 

Artist Synthestruct will also host Science Talks on Synesthesia*! Explore your senses in this fun and interactive presentation that examines human perception and cross-sensory experiences. Equipped with crayons and other creative tools, you’ll be challenged to explore your own unique sensorium through stimulating flavors and sounds.

 

This event has been known to sell out, so don't wait – purchase your $16 ticket today!
More special programming:
  • Explore the all-new Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine exhibit and discover what AI is and how it works with interactives.
  • Challenge others in trivia tournaments with topics Mummy Knows Best, Science of Horror Movies, and more!
  • Participate in DIY Spooky Jewelry workshop and play Hive-made board games.
  • Spin the Wheel of Torture for a chilling challenge.
  • Become a detective in Dr. Dare’s Lab and solve the murder in Night of the Chicken Dead!
  • Enjoy tasty bites and adult beverages available for purchase.
  • Experience the Science Center in a whole new way… without kids!

Limited tickets are on sale now for just $16. Guests must be 21 and up to attend. 

Members of Orlando Science Center receive FREE admission with promo code. To renew or purchase a membership click here.

 

*Limited seating. First come first served. Plan to arrive 15 minutes prior to each timed event. Tickets distributed where noted above

KidsTown Presents Pirate Week at Orlando Science Center!

Shiver Me Timbers! Pirate Week is September 19–22.

Ahoy, young buccaneers! Join our crew for family-friendly themed programs and activities for Pirate Week at Orlando Science Center! Don’t forget to wear your best family-friendly pirate costume for this event.

 

You’ll also be able to make some accessories at the event to add flair to your costume. The make and take part of the event will be in KidsTown on Thursday, Friday, and Sunday and will move to Dino Digs on Saturday.

 

Join us for our biggest event day on Saturday, September 21st! Get ready to make new pirate friends, play games, enjoy make and take activities, complete a treasure hunt, and more! Enjoy Swashbucklin' StoryTime, make-and-take activities, games, treasure hunting, mermaids,  and pirate friends. Click here to view the schedule of events.

 

Plus, A Special Live Show! 
Joining us again this year, we welcome LANCE Orlando on Saturday, September 21 at 1:15 p.m. in the Digital Adventure Theater as they join our pirate crew and put on a show filled with seafaring shenanigans! Seating is limited and first come, first served. We recommend lining up 15 minutes prior to the show. 

The treasure-filled fun happens just once a year, so don’t miss it! 

Looking to practice your pirate speech before setting sail for Orlando Science Center? Find out how you can talk like a pirate!

$10 Day At Orlando Science Center

Join us on Sunday, September 29 for half off General Admission! 

Join Orlando Science Center for a special opportunity to engage in science learning and fun for a discounted price on Sunday, September 29, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.!

 

This is your only opportunity to experience the brand-new exhibit, Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine for the low price of $10! Visitors can also enjoy all four floors of exhibits, giant-screen and 3D films, and live programming for just $10 per person. For many, this event presents the opportunity to experience the Science Center for the first time.

 

Limited tickets are available for the discounted $10 Day! Tickets can sell out in advance, so be sure to purchase yours online to ensure you don’t miss out! Normal general admission fees are $21 for adults and $15 for youth (ages 3-11), which means $10 Day patrons will enjoy up to more than 50% savings per ticket.

Orlando Science Center strives to make science education accessible to everyone and offers the Science For All general admission and membership programs to families in need every day. But $10 Day offers families who do not qualify for those programs the opportunity to experience everything the Science Center has to offer at a budget-friendly price.

 

While attending this family fun day, see Orlando Science Center’s newest exhibit Artificial Intelligence: Your Mind & The Machine; catch films on the giant-screen like Great Bear Rainforest, Oceans: Our Blue Planet; and see 3D films like Australia’s Great Wild North, and Superpower Dogs. Plus, explore all four floors of hands-on exhibits that will engage the family and inspire your curiosity, including KidsTowndesigned for children 7 and under, The Hive: A Makerspace where creativity runs wild, and Kinetic Zone, which allows you to explore the fundamentals of forces in an interactive way!

 

Due to the high volume of expected guests, tickets to $10 Day on September 29 are available online in advance so you can pre-purchase your tickets and scan them for reduced admission time. 

 

This special price is only available on Sunday, September 29!

 

Additional offsite parking locations include:

Magruder Eye Institute on Mills Ave. (Free)
AdventHealth Urology Association on Mills Ave. (Free)
Curbside North and South along Mills Ave. (Free)
AdventHealth McRae Garage (Paid Parking)

Best Unbreakable Bubble Recipe!

While blowing bubbles may be every child’s favorite activity, scientists actually study the science behind bubbles every day. Bubbles provide the opportunity to research science concepts such as elasticity, chemistry, light and even geometry!

 

If you’ve ever wondered why bubbles pop, you’re not alone. Other than being poked or landing on something sharp, bubbles pop when the water between the soap film surfaces evaporates. So if you’re blowing bubbles in Florida weather, they may pop quicker than if you were blowing them on a crisp winter day.

 

However, our bubble experts at Orlando Science Center have put together an at-home activity using chemistry to create an un-poppable bubble!

 

Un-poppable bubble recipe

Ingredients:
  • A clean glass cup
  • 8 oz of distilled water – Minerals and particulate in normal tap water can hamper the making of larger bubbles, but it can still work if you don’t have distilled
  • One tablespoon of dish soap – Any type is fine!
  • 0.5 Tablespoon glycerin –  This is was strengthens your bubbles!
Steps:
  • Step 1 – Stir all of your ingredients together in the glass cup.
  • Step 2 – Wait! Let the bubble solution sit for 24 hours.
    • Why is time so important? It allows the glycerin to fully mix together with the other ingredients. The glycerin is important for keeping the water from evaporating from your bubble and prematurely popping it.
  • Step 3 –Once your bubble solution is done sitting, put on some gloves and attempt to bounce your bubbles in the palm of your hand!

 

Can’t get enough bubbles? Be sure to pop on over to Orlando Science Center for Bubble Bash on September 7 & 8! From DIY soapmaking to Bath Time experiments and sensory stations, you’ll have a squeaky clean time! Click here to view a schedule of events.