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In the News: New Da Vinci Science Center Filled with Excitement Ahead of Opening

May 16, 2024

Excerpt from story by James Zipprodt from WDIY

The new, state-of-the-art Da Vinci Science Center is positioned in the heart of Downtown Allentown, with its entrance on W. Hamilton Street at PPL Pavilion. While the exterior of the building is amazing, including panels provided by ATAS International, Inc., it’s the remarkable inside, of course, that will draw in visitors.

Featuring exhibits from organizations like Olympus, LVHN, the Wildlands Conservancy, and ATAS, the 67,000 square-foot facility provides visitors with endless opportunities for learning.

A main goal of the new Science Center is to educate children on valuable topics at young ages, which is accomplished partially through the LVHN My Body Exhibit. The exhibit provides information on anatomy, healthcare technology, and images of viruses and injuries that young people can relate to like Covid-19, the flu, fractures and ACL tears.

The partnerships between the center and organizations involved make sense and are vital, says Hilda Cruz of LVHN.

“Look at all the kids that are here. Not one of them is on their phones. They’re all moving around, they’re all engaging with different parts of this exhibit. It’s important to their health, to the health of their community. If they can actually experience this exhibit and leave with at least one thing that they can take away about how they can care for their bodies or care about the health of their community.”

The hands-on nature of the exhibits was what interested the groups of visiting students most. Climbing into domes that gave a view into a water habitat, banging on pipes that show how music can be created in unique ways, and lifting their teachers on seats using a pulley system, were some of the most popular activities.

Laurel Spiegelthal, a fifth-grade teacher from Central Elementary School in the Allentown School District, said students enjoy this type of learning because it’s something that’s not always available in the classroom. Her students were especially fond of the river otters that call the new center their home.

Spiegelthal says this center will add family engagement in an area where it’s lacking. It will add community engagement, too, especially considering the partnership that adds weekly visits into Allentown school curriculums, and free entry passes that students can utilize outside of school hours.

All of that contributes to one of the new center’s most important elements – accessibility. Something that Lissette Santana, PPL’s Senior Manager of Corporate Responsibility, says should encourage more people to visit.

“It’s a wonderful facility that we have right here in the Lehigh Valley. I know a lot of people who travel to Philly to go to science centers, or there’s one in Jersey. We have one right here now, right here in our backyard, and it is amazing.”

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