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The Great Lakes Science Center is a science museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It is located right on Lake Erie at North Coast Harbor, between the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Browns Stadium. The Science Center is one of a few science museums in Cleveland, others being the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Health Museum of Cleveland.

The Science Center has an Omnimax theater, three exhibit floors, and three great demonstration areas. (I should know; I was a demonstrator there for years, but I'll get to that in a moment.) The lowest floor, at lake level, is the Environmental floor, which suffers a bit from having too many buttons and joysticks and not quite enough science, but is still worth checking out.

The next floor up, which is officially the first floor, since it's at ground level, is the Technology Floor. The Tech Floor contains fun stuff like a voice-commanded robotic arm, a balance test, exhibits demonstrating materials like Nitinol and Kevlar, and the Materials Bar, where Public Programs people like myself do demonstrations on a variety of novel materials. The Information Technology gallery contains a sound stage with drum pads, a keyboard, and a stringless harp (it uses lasers instead), which is definitely worth checking out.

My favorite floor, though, is the Phenomena Floor. The Phenomena floor features exhibits on weather, sound, optics, and electricity, including both air and water vortices, a theremin, a plasma ball, and a Van de Graaff generator (which is called the Bridge of Fire and is only open parts of the day, as it requires an operator). The Phenomena floor is a fun place to just play around with machines. (The Polymer Funhouse, for kids seven and younger, is also on this floor.)

And, having been a demonstrator myself, I shouldn't forget the great number of demonstrations the Science Center has. We have demonstrations on electricity, cryogenics, mummies, air, sound, bubbles, baseball, and several other subjects. We also have computerized quiz shows (but with a human MC) held in our Situation Room, which has one of the largest video walls east of the Rocky Mountains. (I think we used to claim it was the largest, but I'm not sure.) The new version of our website, GreatScience.com, includes a demonstration schedule for the current day or, in the evening, the upcoming day, which may help in trip planning.

The Science Center also has a temporary exhibition area, the contents of which change and are listed on the website.

So, my recommendations to Science Center guests are as follows: Spend most of your time on the Phenomena Floor, but check out the other two as well. See a demonstration or two; the electricity and cryogenics shows are the best that we do often, in my opinion. If we're doing How FireWorks, definitely stop by for an explanation of the science of fireworks and several big, loud, and colorful explosions. And one more thing: read the signs, please.

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