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A science centre that is all about you

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For those of us who grew up in the Edmonton area, going to the Telus World of Science for a school field trip or on a weekend family outing almost seems like a rite of passage. I remember going many times and looking forward to sitting in the observatory and going through the Health Gallery and being slightly scared but also thrilled to see the life-size fake body parts.

Over the past few years, the Telus World of Science (TWOS) has undergone some major changes. Although some of the $40 million project is still underway, on Feb. 16, the revamped Health Zone and Galaxy Gift Shop, as well as the new Indigenous Traditional Room, opened to the public. 

The new Health Zone is the pinnacle of the new construction and differs from the previous Health Gallery because it is a totally immersive experience. As the director of science experiences, Monica Roberts, says, “it’s all about the science of your own body.” 

As you enter the exhibit, there is a lab to the left where you can put on a lab coat and get to work. You can get a sample of your own DNA from your cheek and “try to identify a mystery bacteria using special tests,” according to the TWOS website.

Besides the lab, there are four other zones that you can explore in the Health Zone, which are biology, choices, environment, and healthcare. Each zone has hands-on activities that will help you learn about your body and its inner workings.

The Health Zone is a great space for young and old alike. You are bound to learn something new, and the lab activities are especially relevant to post-secondary students who are pursuing science studies because the experience can be as in-depth as you want it to be.

Roberts says that “any student group can reach out to us, and we are always excited to work with (up and coming) scientists.” Of course, this includes MacEwan University students, so if you are looking to challenge yourself or have a research project/idea, the TWOS may be a great place to start. 

In addition to the Health Zone, the Indigenous Traditional Room also opened on Feb. 16. This space is meant for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to gather, and “It will feature local Indigenous artwork, ceremonial drums, blankets, and sacred medicines,” according to the TWOS website.

Lastly, the Galaxy Gift Shop has been expanded and has lots of new goodies to tempt you. They seem to have everything there, but two things that really stuck out to me were a virus plush toy (a nod to our friend COVID, perhaps?) and some take-home science kits that looked both challenging and fun. If you want the goodies but don’t have time to go in person, they also have an online shop.

All in all, with the new features and exhibits, the science centre remains a place of joy, learning, exploring, and nostalgia for those of us who experienced it in our early days. 

One of the best parts is that you can be a science expert or a complete novice and still take something away. Especially in the Health Zone, you can go as in-depth or surface level as you want, but the hands-on activities make it hard not to get completely absorbed in the magic of the science.

The TWOS is open from 10 p.m. – 5 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday, and with your student ID, the admission rate is $29.95 for full access. 
Learn more about the new features at telusworldofscienceedmonton.ca.

Photo provided by The Telus World of Science

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