Family Science Club

Pointing to the Author of Science


Kids riding a square-wheeled car

Image: A square wheeled car works just fine on a parabola road. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Visiting COSI Columbus and the Museum of the USAF in 1999

Kevin and I have been exploring museums since the beginning of our marriage. On our honeymoon in1999, our first stop was COSI, a brand new science museum in Columbus, OH.

It had a great variety of hands-on activities, as you can see from our pictures.

Our favorite part was the Ocean exhibit. It has many exhibits that highlight ocean exploration. It was fun to maneuver real ROVs around in a huge tank. We also enjoyed their collection of marine life. It was dark so we couldn't get very good pictures.

The scariest exhibit was Adventure in the Valley of the Unknown. You are locked inside a great labyrinth. The only way you can escape is to uncover clues as you progress through the valley. The final challenge is a test of mental stamina. Before you stands a wall of giant tikis singing motivational music!

An experiment showing air pressure

Image: Kevin demonstrating air pressure. Taken by Heidi Weaver.

Climbing out of a yellow minisub

Image: Heidi checking out a mini sub. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Girl riding a unicycle on an overhead cable

Image: Unicycle with a counterbalance. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

After COSI, we went to one of our most frequented places of interest: The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, near Dayton, Ohio. It is on the edge of Wright Patterson Air Force Base.

The museum consists of three oversized hangers, but they are not big enough to hold all of the exhibits. That is not surprising, when those exhibits include a B-1, B-2, B-36, B52, B-70, C-141 and Boeing 707, plus around 200 other aircraft. Add to that many examples of ancillary equipment (guns, bombs, missiles, trucks, portable buildings, etc.), and you understand why it is so large.

There are several sections that emphasize learning for children. While most of the museum is military oriented, several parts are about aviation in general, presidential air transport and space exploration. The U.S. Air Force supports those tasks as well as air combat.

The museum is free. There is a cost for the onsite cafe and IMAX theater. When we were there, one still needed photo-ID to get to some of the exhibits, because they are in a fourth hanger that is inside the base security perimeter.

Heidi in front of the Wright Military Flyer

Image: The Wright Military Flyer; the U.S. military's first airplane. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Kevin in front of a PBY.

Image: One of Kevin's favorites, the PBY Catalina amphibian; used for reconnaissance in World War II. Taken by Heidi Weaver.

Heidi in front of a lifting body

Image: We have some interest in the space program. This is an X-24A lifting body. Taken by Kevin Weaver.

Kevin in the rear cockpit of an F-4D

Image: Kevin demonstrating the radar operator's cockpit of a F-4D Phantom II. Taken by Heidi Weaver.