Here are 4 cool features visitors can expect to see at Halifax's new Discovery Centre
At 40,000 square feet, the new centre is double the size of the former site
A trip into space — or a journey through the human bloodstream. Those are just two of the experiences awaiting visitors to Halifax's new Discovery Centre, set to open to the public on Feb. 12.
The former site of the science centre closed its doors in July 2016 after 25 years of entertaining and educating visitors.
Dov Bercovici, CEO of the Discovery Centre, told CBC's Mainstreet that visitors walking through the new centre's doors should be prepared for "a spectacular experience ... [that] immediately creates that sense of awe and curiosity that we're trying to stimulate in the public."
With just two weeks to go until the centre opens, here's a list of the coolest exhibits visitors can expect to see.
'Artist Formerly Known as the Planetarium'
Bercovici said his favourite exhibit is the centre's dome, an updated planetarium that uses data sets from sources like the Hubble Space Telescope to create custom-built experiences.
"I call it The Artist Formerly Known as the Planetarium," he said. "In terms of a complete, immersive, audiovisual learning experience, there's nothing like it.... It's not just outer space, but you can actually immerse yourself in the human body: you can see what it's like to be in the bloodstream, under the water ... an animal running through the jungle."
Bercovici said his love of this exhibit traces back to visits to the planetarium in his own childhood.
"I remember sitting in [the planetarium] when I was seven or eight years old, thinking, 'I'm travelling through outer space sitting in my chair, that is the coolest thing,' and we've now recreated that in Halifax," he said.
Letting imagination take flight
Bercovici said, although the Discovery Centre will retain the former site's appeal for families with young children, it has expanded its offerings to attract a more diverse age range. Case in point: the centre's flight gallery, which teaches people the basic principles of flight, such as lift, drag and thrust, and how flying generally works.
"And then we take you into how do you build your own plane," said Bercovici.
Bercovici said young kids will have the opportunity to build and launch gliders, while older visitors can deconstruct drones in the centre's innovation lab.
The centre will also be home to a full-size plane called a Piper J-3 Cub, half of which is intact and half of which is deconstructed so that visitors can see the parts.
"You can sit in the cockpit, and we picked that plane because it's really not intimidating. We're trying to inspire people to maybe take flying lessons, and learn how to build planes," said Bercovici.
New content daily
Bercovici said one of the strengths of the new centre will be its people, including those in new positions as science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) facilitators.
In each gallery, STEAM facilitators will be on hand to offer visitors new experiences.
"Specialists ... will walk the floors, and rather than wait for you to engage with the exhibits, they'll come talk to you.... If you're in the energy gallery, they might have a little cart and show you how to build a potato battery, for example," said Bercovici.
He said those facilitators are part of a strategy to keep the centre's exhibits fresh and dynamic. It will have new content daily.
Bigger, better bubble room
Although Bercovici estimates 90 per cent of the centre is new exhibits, some perennial favourites from the former site will be included, albeit with new equipment.
One of these is a popular exhibit for children: the bubble room.
"[But] we've created what's called a bubble park. [You could make] a body bubble, and you were actually fully immersed in a body bubble, and we've kept that, but we've built a brand new one: bigger and faster and more effective," said Bercovici.
With files from CBC's Mainstreet