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Discovery Center's Spring Exhibits

Don Harrington Discovery Center 1200 Streit Drive (806) 355-9547 Facebook.com/DHDCAmarillo
Hear ye, hear ye, calling builders of all ages! Join the Don Harrington Discovery Center as they open LEGO Castle Adventure and Little Builders to visitors on January 25th. In LEGO Castle Adventure, children and families are transported to the past to a LEGO kingdom where they too can become master castle builders, using one of the greatest building materials of all time - LEGO bricks!

LEGO Castle Adventure gives visitors of the Discovery Center the opportunity to test their planning and constructing skills, said Dr. Aaron Pan, Executive Director. This unique exhibit created by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis and LEGO Systems, Inc. is another great opportunity for children and families to learn through inventive play with one of the most-loved toys of all time.

Visitors to LEGO Castle Adventure will be immersed in castle life through experiences designed specifically for children and families. Enter the LEGO kingdoms royal castle to sit in the majesties thrones and view the royal familys portrait - made out of LEGO bricks - and LEGO suit of armor. View the kings secret treasure room filled with LEGO jewels.

Even the youngest of builders will enjoy putting together their own LEGO castle creation. LEGO models of real-world castles Blarney, Arundel and Neuschwanstein offer insights about how castles were planned and built. Age-appropriate build areas for Apprentice builders (toddlers), Journeyman Builders (ages 3-6) and Master Builders (ages 7 and older) allow children to use their newfound knowledge to create their own unique structures.

After visiting the throne room, visitors can tour the castle grounds and learn about day-to-day castle life. Children and families are able to dress up as princes, princesses, knights or dragons; build a LEGO brick topiary; or climb a lookout tower. Children are invited to don suspender-style horses to play in a safe jousting field with foam-rubber lances and soft targets set up on the field. And, of course, no trip to the castle would be complete without meeting the resident LEGO dragon, but dont worry, she doesn't bite!

Once visitors have learned what it takes to plan and construct a proper home for the king and queen, they can test out the castles defenses with what else … a catapult. Using a 3-D computer program and real-world catapult, one can virtually build and test the castle walls and learn through trial and error the most durable way to build the castles defenses.

Castles might belong more to the Middle Ages, but the skills of planning, imagination and fun learned in a trip through LEGO Castle Adventure are valuable to visitors of all ages! LEGO Castle Adventure will be showing at the Discovery Center through May 6th.

In addition to learning about builders of the past, the youngest visitors to the Discovery Center will become future builders in the new Little Builders exhibit, which will be on display through September 19th.  Donning little hard hats and construction vests, children ages 2-7 will create, play and learn as they explore the concepts of construction, motion and simple machines.  This exhibit was created and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Portland, Oregon.

Throughout Little Builders, the open-ended nature of the materials and activities allows creativity to flourish, said Dr. Pan. Children are encouraged to use the exhibit in their own ways, and thus, learning becomes personalized.  Little Builders challenges and entertains the mind of a child helping to develop intellectual, physical, emotional and social skills, he added. The exhibit uses scientific processes, mathematical concepts, sensory development and communication to promote self-confidence, coordination, control, strength and self-expression.

Visitors have the exciting opportunity to:
- Hand-operate a pulley and conveyer belt to explore cause and effect
- Operate a child-size crane to hook, lift and move objects and materials 
- Build structures with blocks, pipes, Duplo® blocks (toddlers large snap-on blocks) and gears
- Insert balls into air chutes and see them shoot through clear pipes to experiment with aerodynamics
 
The exhibit includes five themed areas to engage young builders:
- Construction Site - Explore the physics of movement by: climbing through four levels of the Construction Site and transporting objects by turning the wheels of a hand-operated pulley. Build patterns in a brick wall and paint with rollers.
- Structures - Discover the concepts involved in building: size, weight, shape, balance, gravity and stability.  Create houses and more using blocks, Duplo® blocks and PVC pipes.
- Aerodynamics - Experiment with the characteristics of moving air by inserting balls into vertical air chutes and watch them whiz through clear pipes and pop into a basket, demonstrating the path of air.
- Cranes - Learn about mechanical physics by moving block cargo to a waiting flatbed car using a gantry crane and rotating a miniature crane to raise and lower its hook to move blocks.
- Simple Machines - Explore and experiment with simple machines using plastic hammers, screwdrivers and wrenches at the Tool Wall.  Work together at the conveyer belt moving materials back and forth.  Drop plastic balls down a series of clear pipes and watch as they travel down a twisty path.
 
 
The LEGO Castle Adventure & Little Builders 
- Opens Tomorrow
- Discovery Center
- $7 - $10

Members Only Preview Party
- Tonight
- 7 p.m.
- Discovery Center
Don Harrington Discovery Center 
1200 Streit Drive
(806) 355-9547
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