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January 2, 2007

Educational Vacation

We just returned from a Christmas vacation to Fort Myers, Florida to visit the folks. The weather was beautiful, and we were able to go to the beach one day, go on an airboat ride in the Everglades another day, and swim pretty much every day (though I must confess that the pool was heated).

We've visited Fort Myers every holiday season for the past several years. One of our kids' favorite things to do besides swimming and the beach is visiting the Imaginarium, Fort Myers' children's science museum. The museum is owned and operated by the city of Fort Myers on the site of a historical water plant.

The kids really enjoy the weather exhibit, and the hurricane simulation (which blows air in a chamber at 45 miles per hour). The weather exhibit includes several stations. One is about clouds and includes a "cloud maker" where kids can move their hands around in the "cloud" and see how solid clouds really are. Another shows current conditions and radar maps, along with a NOAA weather radio. Yet another simulates a thunderstorm.

What my two girls enjoyed the most was the interactive TV weather studio. There is a desk and microphone, with a US map with stick on symbols for high pressure, low pressure, sunny, etc. There is a camera pointed to the desk and map, which is "broadcast" to a television. See the picture below:

Weather broadcast at the Imaginarium

The weather map is from American Educational Products (note: I have not been paid nor asked to mention this company...I just think they offer some nice educational weather products) and could be purchased for your home, school, or science center for $36 here. Thankfully, you can also buy extra weather symbols. The Imaginarium weather map was missing quite a few compared to our last visit. I'm sure they "disappear" quite frequently. I'm going to contact them to see if they need a donation.

Have you been to a good educational weather display? Please let me know!



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