Disclaimer: My family and I received free admission to the Great Lakes Science Center (GLSC) in order to check out this exhibit and provide my honest review. As always, all opinions are my own. I am also a contributing writer to the GLSC Curiosity Corner.
The newest exhibit, Above and Beyond, at the Great Lakes Science Center is truly ‘out of this world’. Our time quite literally ‘flew by’ checking out this incredibly educational and fun new space! The new exhibit, which is focused on the advancements and innovations in aviation and aerospace, is truly “Above and Beyond” expectations! The gallery is presented by Parker Hannifin Corporation, a local global leader in motion and control technologies, and Boeing. (It is produced by Evergreen Exhibitions in collaboration with NASA and the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.)
From flying like a bird to building and flying our own supersonic aircraft and riding an elevator to space, we were totally blown away by the interactive and fun displays, the extraordinary samples of aerospace innovations (like a 1960’s jetpack and a drone the size of an insect), and the educational videos spaced throughout the gallery. My kids, 4 and 6, were fixated during our entire two hours in the gallery. The kids were begging to stay longer and I guarantee yours will too!
As we entered the impressive space, my kids immediately ran towards Spread Your Wings. Here, they learned all about how birds save energy when migrating by controlling lift, drag, and thrust with their wings and bodies. Then they were transformed into birds themselves and had use their wings (their arms) and bodies to safely migrate along a path with their flock.
The second place my kids explored and loved was designing and testing their own supersonic jet! They were able to choose the shape of their fuselage, wings and tail configuration. The program helped them understand how their selections would impact speed, stability and maneuverability so they could build their perfect aircraft! We all couldn’t resist taking a turn!
Other fun areas that my kids enjoyed were Space Junk and Elevator to Space. At Space Junk, they learned about how big of a problem space junk is becoming and worked to remove it using debris removal bots. At Elevator to Space, they rode an elevator simulation from Earth to Space. They gained an understanding of all the cool things they could see on their way up to space and they were excited by this very futuristic idea!
At the beginning of the gallery, there is a colorful, interactive timeline of the history and future of aviation and space travel going back to the 1700s. My kids loved touching this display and lighting it up but for me, it is quite amazing to see how far we’ve come as a human race in a relatively short period of time.
My husband and I also loved checking out Shock Waves with the kids where we experimented to learn about the differences between subsonic, transonic, and supersonic shock waves.
There are several samples of aerospace innovations on display as well. Some of my favorites included a jetpack from the 1960’s and samples of the future of Unmanned Ariel Vehicles (UAV’s), also known as drones. In the future some drones will mimic and fly as small as insects!
As an adult, I was blown away and energized learning about the future advancements in both aerospace and aviation. This exhibit clarified what the future will be for our children and grandchildren and it is so EXCITING!
I knew my 6 year old would love this exhibit because she wants to be a Rocket Scientist someday but my 4 year old really surprised me! She LOVED all the cool simulations inside the exhibit and she walked away with a totally new interest in flight. There is so much more to this exhibit that we can’t wait to check out soon!
Outside the exhibit (right inside the garage entrance of the Great Lakes Science Center), our kids were able to build and test their very own rockets. I think our kids could have spent hours here! Both LOVED performing many different design changes and tests on their rockets.
As for my kids thoughts:
“I loved everything about this exhibit. I can’t choose just one thing. I felt like I could someday go to space and explore our universe! I can’t wait to go back and explore more at the science center.”– My 6 year old
“I really want to go back. I loved building my own rocket and making it fly to the ceiling. I also really liked building a plane and flying it!“– My 4 year old
While you are at the Science Center, be sure check out the Dome Theater movies. We checked out ‘Ancient Caves’ and followed a female scientist into the world’s most hidden ancient caves. We learned how scientists collect samples in these caves to discover more information about the history of climate changes on Earth.
Be sure to ‘fly’ on over to the Great Lakes Science Center to check out ‘Above and Beyond’ before it ‘takes off’ from Cleveland on Sunday, January 2, 2022!