You have to love a place where you can press a button to blow something up, even if it’s just a simulated quarry blast on a computer screen. This is the kind of stuff kids adore.
One of the first signs visitors encounter at the Weis Earth Science Museum says Every Rock Tells a Story, and that, pretty much, is what this facility is all about. It’s filled with fossils, minerals and lots of factual information about the materials that make up Earth. Kids, and anyone who has an interest in the stuff this land is made of, can learn about the evolution of the planet and the animals that once roamed it. There’s a Dinosaur Den with a T-rex replica and a nest of real dinosaur eggs. A glass-case gallery of minerals shows off the beauty of uncut gems. Walk through a lead mine to discover Wisconsin’s mining industry up to present day.
The best part, though, is the interactive displays. Guests create rain and an earthquake, answer questions about the Niagara Escarpment, watch a volcano erupt and set off a quarry blast. Even the gift store is interesting, with games, models, carvings, rock paperweights, real fossils and fun toys like Einstein finger puppets. Little bags you fill with colorful rocks make a great souvenir.
The Weis Earth Science Museum is in the same building as the Barlow Planetarium on the campus of University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley.