I’m watching my daughters and channeling my own childhood.
Their eyes are following balls of every size (golf balls, pool balls, even bowling balls) wind their way through a maze of wire paths. Occasionally, one girl will jump off the stool and run to another side of the giant clear cube to get a better look at a ball swirling down a bowl vortex. I remember being completely captivated by similar giant ball machines that were stationed around West Edmonton Mall back in the day.
The Electric Ball Circus is the first thing you see as you enter The Science Garage at the TELUS World of Science Edmonton. It’s a massive and remarkable space with science surprises at every turn. But perhaps it’s very best feature is its team of eager volunteers.
Once one of my twins took her eyes off the ball machine long enough to look around, she was quick to spot something she could get her hands on. She hauled her sister over to the magnetic marble wall, and they immediately began scrounging the floor for marbles and yanking shapes off the wall to build intricate marble tracks.
That’s when we were approached by a smiling, mustachioed man wearing a purple coat that identified him as a volunteer. He asked the girls if he could show them something, and led me and my skeptical crew over to a nondescript white-walled corner of the garage. He instructed us to pose with our arms up or out, told us to close our eyes for a flash, and then declared “Look!”. We turned around to see that our shadows were left frozen on the wall. “Wow” I said, and he replied “You want ‘Wow’? Try this!” He handed each girl a flashlight so they could “write” with light all over the wall. (He thoughtfully reminded them that writing on walls was only acceptable at the TELUS World of Science!)
We thanked him and moved on to another exhibit, but our new friend would pop over here and there to show us how something worked, or to ask if we had yet seen another feature. We floated parachutes to the ceiling, raced simple cars we made from K’nex toys, built log cabins of varying shapes and sizes, danced up a storm on the Kinetic Dance Floor, and attempted to master the Freedom Climber Wall. And every so often we’d pause and return to the centre of the room to follow another ball on it’s journey through the Electric Ball Circus.
We probably spent two hours in the room. There were points we had the space to ourselves, and times we shared it with classes of busy, boisterous kids – but there were never so many people that we didn’t have space to play and move and try. The Science Garage is a perfect example of everything that makes the TELUS World of Science Edmonton so great. It’s a brilliant playground of the body and mind, where kids can touch and play and jump and yell – and without even realizing it, learn.
On our first visit to TWOSE, we spent a bunch of time at the wonderful Discoveryland Gallery. My fear was that my kids would never want to venture into any of the other exhibit areas and would only want to go to the “play” room. Once inside the Science Garage, they were so captivated they didn’t even mention Discoveryland – a true testament to the level of engagement the TELUS World of Science creates in all its spaces.
A great weekend feature of The Science Garage is its hands on area known as The Workshop. Every Saturday and Sunday, The Workshop’s science team will offer tasks and challenges. Guests can use the supplies to try to complete the challenge. Drop-in hours for that program are Saturdays 10 am to 12 pm, 1 pm to 3 pm and 4 pm to 5 pm, as well as Sundays 10 am to 12 pm, and 1 pm to 4 pm.
The Science Garage at the TELUS World of Science Edmonton:
When: Sundays to Thursdays 9 am to 5 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9 am to 6 pm
Where: TELUS World of Science Edmonton
Address: 11211 142 Street, Edmonton