SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

12 Days of Science Offers Hands-on Learning Experience for Kids

Instead of staying home for winter break, students can go to Liberty Science Center in Jersey City to participate in the 12 Days of Science. Liberty Science Center President and CEO Paul Hoffman told NJ Today Senior Correspondent DesirĂ©e Taylor about the center’s upcoming events and what parents and children can expect.

Hoffman said Liberty Science Center will have 110 different animal species that kids can explore, including an alligator snapping turtle from Louisiana that uses its tongue as a lure for fish and frogs.

“We have animals, we have aquariums, we have science experiments. You can see ice cream made from liquid nitrogen. We have Mr. Bubble Man who comes and does experiments with bubbles,” he said. “It’s pretty cool.”

WATCH VIDEO:

The center also has the world’s largest domed IMAX theater, which is currently showing four different movies, including the Christmas special “Polar Express” and three science films. One has underwater footage of polar bears, another shows the migration of monarch butterflies and the third explores caves.

There are many interactive exhibits for children to participate in, which Hoffman said really stimulates children. “The thing about science is it’s actually doing stuff, that’s what scientists do. So if we can get kids doing that at a young age, they’ll see the beauty and the fun and the promise of going into science as a career. And that’s what we do,” he said. “Even though it seems like fun and games, it’s really to create experiences that’s going to inspire kids and create that next generation of scientists and technologists.”

According to Hoffman, children are born with a natural curiosity and sometimes the educational system snuffs out an interest in science. “We try to create these engaging experiences that would just carry over, not just for kids but for learners of all ages,” he said.

Liberty Science Center is also in the process of bringing two cotton-top tamarins to the center. There are only 1,000 of these monkeys from northern Columbia in the wild, according to Hoffman. “They’re incredibly intelligent animals,” he said. “They like puzzles, they like to play with things.”

Hoffman also said the tamarins like to engage with people and have the same sleeping schedule so visitors won’t run into a problem of not being able to see them because they’re sleeping. He said Liberty Science Center has started a fundraising campaign where donors receive prizes.

“For $5, the monkeys will e-mail you postcards of their first days at Liberty Science Center or for a little bit more money, you can actually Skype with the monkeys,” Hoffman explained. Donations can be made through the center’s website — lsc.org.

The 12 Days of Science runs through Jan. 1 and visitors can check the website for a schedule of daily activities.