By Harry Rowe | Staff Writer
Children and their parents visited Santa and participated in science activities Thursday evening as they attended “Christmas at the Mayborn,” an event held annually at the Mayborn Science Musuem in celebration of the holidays and science.
This year was the third year of the event. Children rushed around the lower and upper levels of the museum to find all of the stations they could interact with. Each station was an individual room and contained activities such as a giant bubble maker room, an augmented reality room, a light show room, and a room with some reptiles. A cookie-decorating workshop was available for older students and adults.
Ana McKay, museum engagement manager, explained that in addition to children visiting Santa, Mayborn also had Marigold and a holiday penguin.
“We have hands-on activities for the kids up in Design Den. We also have some holiday STEM challenges, and then of course we have Santa,”McKay said.
McKay has been one of the primary people involved with planning the event for the last three years, she said. She explained two choirs were also performing at several times during the three-hour event. One of the choirs was from St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the China Springs show choir called Sound Check.
McKay said the event usually receives good attendance from the community, and things didn’t look much different Thursday.
“Last year we had about a thousand [people], and I think we’ll probably have that same or a little bit more tonight,” McKay said.
Upstairs, children had multiple stations they could test out. The most popular ones among kids were the light exhibit, the bubble and water exhibit and the augmented reality exhibit. In this almost completely empty room, an artificial bush sat in the middle of the carpet. Dinosaurs roamed across the screen as kids watched in awe, laughed and cheered.
In the Design Den, young kids messed with electrical circuits and learned hands-on about different components of what makes something electrical work.
“Tonight we’re doing activities that have to do with circuits,” said Emily Clark, Design Den coordinator. “We’re doing circuit blocks, where people can use these different components, battery, and wires and kind of turn things on; most of them are Christmas themed. We have this really cool Christmas tree that uses circuits to play Christmas sounds and so people are getting to play with that.”
Clark said there are also options for older kids to use these items.
“In our Design Den student area we’re doing paper circuits, so that’s kiddos ages 8 and up,” Clark said. “They’re getting to make holiday cards and incorporate lights by using copper tape and L.E.D.”
Clark said it’s good to get students familiar with circuits because it often coordinates with what they’re learning in their classroom at the time.
“For a lot of them, they’ve done circuits at school before, so we’re hoping to kind of reinforce that knowledge and give them a chance to do it in an informal setting,” Clark said. “Also, just getting them to understand a few concepts, maybe like the idea of a open circuit versus a closed circuit and just kind of reinforce some concepts they may already know.”