The Arizona Science Center is a museum dedicated to the natural and physical sciences, and it can be found in Phoenix’s central Heritage and Science Park. Weekends and holidays see public access. Over 400,000 people visit the Center each year to take part in the Center’s interactive activities, which include exploring the Center’s more than 350 permanent hands-on displays. The permanent exhibits of the Arizona Science Center have been supplemented over the years by a number of nationally touring exhibitions. The Center features a Dorrance Planetarium and an IMAX Theater with a five-story enormous screen, in addition to daily demonstrations throughout the building. This nonprofit organization welcomes people of all ages to participate in its many unique educational programs and science activities, including summer science camp, Adult’s Night Out, themed events, Stroller Science preschool programs, and the Science on Wheels outreach program.
The Arizona Science Center is home to hundreds of exhibits over seven themed galleries, each with its own unique focus. There is an IMAX theater and a planetarium with seating for 200 visitors. When the weather in Phoenix isn’t cooperating, this is the best thing to do as a family. The Science Center presents six unique events throughout the year, such as Weird Science Halloween, Science with a Twist, and Snow Week, during which the hill in Science Park is covered in 75 tons of real snow.
The Arizona Science Center was founded in 1980 as a prototype science center by the Junior League of Phoenix as part of their community service initiative. The Science Center, which opened to the public for the first time in 1984 after being formed in 1982 as a private, non-profit organization, originally occupied a modest, 10,000 square foot (930 square meter) storefront exhibition space on the ground floor of the downtown Phoenix Hyatt. The Science Center saw over 87,000 visitors in its first year of operation. The Center now features both updated versions of the original interactive displays as well as brand-new displays.
The Phoenix Science Center saw a growth in visitors and a need for more informal science education programs, so the city of Phoenix issued a bond in 1988 to help pay for the purchase of land and building of a new facility. In 1997, construction was completed on the 120,000-square-foot building that had been designed by Antoine Predock. The City of Phoenix issued a $4.1 million bond in 1998, which paid for the construction of 22,500 square feet of new exhibition space and classrooms.
The Center has become one of Arizona’s most popular tourist attractions since it first opened. More than three million people have visited the Arizona Science Center since it opened in downtown Phoenix in 1997. The current facility includes an IMAX Theater that can seat 289 people, the Dorrance Planetarium that can hold 210 people, multimedia classrooms, a gift shop, food service, a lunchroom, and support spaces.