Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Rolls Out 4 New Exhibits

The exhibits cover topics ranging from stem cells and water conservation to human microbiome and engineering with packing tape – yes, packing tape

San Diego’s Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is rolling out four new, engaging exhibits in the coming days, including one featuring tunnels made from hundreds of rolls of packing tape.

“Taping Shape” opens at the center in Balboa Park on Jan. 30, and runs through June 12. The shoes-off, indoor exhibit gives kids and adults a chance to run through a maze of translucent spaces and tunnels made of packing tape as they learn all about the structure of the common, household material.

According to the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center, layers upon layers of tape have been wrapped over some scaffolding installed inside the exhibit’s space – between the center’s Rotunda and Discovery galleries – which creates “sinuous, branch-like forms.”

Those branches are then covered by layers of shrink wrap to bind the structure together, “producing springy surfaces large enough to crawl into.”

Soon enough, explorers are climbing, sliding and making their way through a network of cocoons and passageways that curve, slope and twist. Colorful lights also line the tunnels.

The center said the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) exhibition is designed to captivate the senses – auditory, visual and touch – as it teaches visitors about the architecture and engineering of the structure and, of course, the science of the materials behind it. It also incorporates concepts of geometry and spatial relations.

“Taping Shape” was developed in-house at the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center through a partnership with local artist and engineer David Ghilarducci.

Before that exhibit opens, the science center will also debut “Super Cells: The Power of Stem Cells” on Saturday in its Main Gallery.

This exhibit features four high-tech zones that encourage interactivity and provide exciting knowledge about stem cells.

“Stem cells are important because each of us is the result of only a handful of tiny stem cells that multiply to produce the 200 different types of specialized cells that exist in our body. Our stem cells continue to be active our whole lives to keep us healthy,” said a statement from the center. “Without them we couldn’t survive for more than three hours!”

Meanwhile, on Jan. 29, “Art of Science Learning” opens, an exhibit demonstrating how art and science are addressing important challenges the world is currently facing, including water – a critical issue for San Diego and California amid the state’s historic drought.

Over 100 scientists, artists, educators and citizens, known as Art of Science Learning Fellows, were asked to explore a water challenge and generate new solutions. To that end, the exhibit features photos, artwork, models, prototypes, videos and interactive tools.

This exhibit runs through May 1.

Last but not least, the “Zoo in You: The Human Microbiome” opens on Jan. 30 and runs through May 8. This exhibit is an exploration of microbiome – a dynamic, unique-balanced, delicate ecosystem found in nature.

“At any given time, trillions of microbes make their homes inside our bodies,” the center said, in reference to the new exhibition. “In fact, these microorganisms outnumber our human cells 10 to 1, ‘colonize’ us right from birth and are so interwoven into our existence that without each other, none of us would survive!”

With newly developed advanced technology and research from the Human Microbiome project, scientists are beginning to understand how these microbes impact humans. The exhibit was created in a partnership between the science center and the J. Craig Center Institute, a local biotech research company, as well as the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI).

Steve Snyder, CEO of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center said these four new exhibits will “connect San Diegans with science that is happening right here in our region” and give insight into what’s possible in the world of science.

The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is located at 1875 El Prado and is open at 10 a.m. daily. The center closes at 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and at 6 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Daily admission, which includes access to many exhibits and as well as one IMAX movie, is $16.95 for kids ages three to 12, $19.95 for visitors age 13 and older and $17.95 for seniors.

For more info, visit the center’s website.

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