Victoria Scalise, Executive Director of the Palouse Discovery Science Center (PDSC), has been the director for ten years, and is enthusiastic about the science center and its offerings. The PDSC is a non-profit organization that relies upon donations and grants in addition to admissions and programming for its annual operational funding. Scalise and her team have been successful in securing funding and materials to benefit the center and those who participate in its activities. Grants and materials have been received from many entities, local and national, including Moscow Mardi Gras, Inc.; the Inland Northwest Community Foundation; the Association of Science and Technology Centers; Schweitzer Engineering Laboratories (SEL); Avista; and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The PDSC first opened in a nearby building in 2002. SEL donated funds to the PDSC to purchase the current 11,200 square-foot building. The PDSC celebrated with a grand opening in 2008. The PDSC has nine staff members in addition to about 100 annual volunteers, including groups and individuals volunteering with projects, and retired teachers who donate time to help teach lessons. Scalise said, “We love our volunteers!”
Scalise gave me an informative tour of the center, which is full of learning activities for children and adults alike. One of the first places young children like to explore is the Animal Hall. There are many cool animals to see, including reptiles, amphibians, mammals, fish, and arachnids! Staff will often get certain animals out for children to see up close and touch.
The recently updated Little Learners Lab is an exploratory play area for younger learners. There are many tubs filled with various educational toys which provide hands-on activities.
The Innovation Lab, a new addition to the center, is designed for older kids and encourages critical thinking. The Innovation Lab has a 3-D printer, engineering challenges like building a stable bridge from pipe cleaners, a green screen for producing videos, and more. The subtitle of the Innovation Lab is “A Portal to Possibilities.”
A lentil pit where children can dig for dinosaur bones is a big hit with the younger crowd. Other popular areas are the Nanotechnology exhibit and a large interactive room containing a portable planetarium, a large lit up wire brain showing electrical impulses, a race track with handheld electrical generators, and much more.
One area of the PDSC contains activity boxes like math builder and brain power puzzles. The boxes are portable so they can be brought to other venues. In addition to in-house programming such as school field trips, the PDSC has an outreach program to schools, libraries, fairs, and other venues to bring science to the larger community.
The PDSC presents daily science lessons and Family Science Saturdays. Science Saturdays explore themes such as “Bugs” in collaboration with entomologists from the University of Idaho and “Fire Fighter Science” in collaboration with the Pullman Fire Fighters Association.
Notably, if you purchase a membership to the PDSC, your membership will also get you into science centers and museums around the world, including 390 in the U.S. (www.astc.org) Learn more about the Palouse Discovery Science Center at www.palousescience.net.
THE PALOUSE DISCOVERY SCIENCE CENTER IS A MOSCOW FOOD CO-OP BUSINESS PARTNER
- Through our Business Partner Program, Co-op owners receive a discount on locally owned businesses that partner with the Co-op, and the Co-op promotes our locally owned partners.
- The Palouse Discovery Science Center offers Co-op members 10% off P.D.S.C. memberships
- The Palouse Discovery Science Center can be contacted at 509-332-6869 or palousescience.net
- For more information about the Co-op's Business Partner Program, please ask for a brochure and/or an application at the Customer Service Desk or click here