Photo taken in the museum.

The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History

Science Museum's Hands-on Exhibits Let Visitors See Dinos,
Reach for the Stars
by Kelly Melhart

From the Editor: The following article appeared in the June 22, 1997, edition of the Fort Worth Star Telegram. It gives families one more idea about things to do in the Dallas/Fort Worth area before or after the convention this summer. The article is reprinted by courtesy of the Fort Worth Star Telegram

At the edge of the Cultural District a dinosaur has taken up residence at 1501 Montgomery Street, an Acrocanthosaurus to be exact, a meat-eating dinosaur cousin to the Tyrannosaurus Rex. The fourteen-foot-tall, 40-foot-long dinosaur is part of the DinoDig exhibit at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, one of eight permanent exhibits. The outdoor discovery area allows children and adults to get their hands dirty while they dig for imitation dinosaur bones.

Missy Matthews, marketing coordinator for the museum, said all the exhibits are interactive and aid the learning process. "Studies have shown that that's the way people learn," she said. "When they can discover things for themselves, it is a much more meaningful experience than reading a label."

Other hands-on exhibits include KIDSPACE; Hands on Science;

History of Medicine; Your Body; IBM Calculators and Computers;

Rocks and Fossils; and People and Their Possessions, which includes the demonstration and discovery area, Hands on History. The museum combines the mysteries of the past with the technologies of the future to create a learning environment for children and adults, Matthews said.

"We are science and history," she said. "We are an educational institution, and so our overall criterion that the films and exhibits have to meet is to educate. "

The museum is also home to a 390-seat Omni Theater, the Museum School, the Noble Planetarium, the Museum Store, and the Courtyard Cafe.

The Omni shows educational films in a state-of-the-art theater that houses an eighty-foot domed screen and a seventy-two-speaker sound system. The science and nature films are shown for a limited time, but the short footage that gives a stomach-dropping helicopter's-eye view of Fort Worth precedes every show.

The Museum School on the lower level of the museum offers instruction for children from preschool through the sixth grade. Kit Goolsby, the museum's director of education, said the fifty-six-year-old school has such a reputation that parents stand in line every fall and spring to register their children in the unusual program.

"It is truly unique because it is based on the collections in the museum," she said. "The hands-on introduction to natural science, physical science, and history isn't possible anywhere else where you don't have the collections to support the curriculum."

The museum is open seven days a week. Admission to the exhibits is $5 for adults and $4 for children ages three to twelve and seniors. An exhibit pass is good throughout the month in which it is purchased. The exhibit pass does not include admission to the Omni or the planetarium, but discounts are offered for admission to all three.

The Omni Theater is also open seven days a week, and admission is $6 for adults and $3 for children and seniors. The Noble Planetarium offers shows Wednesday through Sunday. Cost is $3. Museum parking is free and is located in the Cultural District parking area on the west side of the Will Rogers Memorial Center.