i.d.e.a. Museum blasts off into all-ages fun with ‘Solar System’
October 8, 2018
By Kimberly Hosey
Mesa’s the i.d.e.a. Museum has captivated visitors of all ages with Far Out: Our Solar System, its newest exhibit featuring art and hands-on activities that explore planets and other wonders of outer space. Whether you and your family like to stare in awe at the wonders of space or get a little more hands-on, everyone will find something to explore.
The exhibition features 36 pieces by 16 artists from the United States and Australia, including Arizonans. Works include paintings, photographs, quilts, wood sculpture, video, digital collages and an installation specifically designed for the museum. ASU’s The School of Earth and Space Exploration offers authentic space artifacts for display.
Guests can “blast off” into the solar system with a space travel simulator, learn facts like how weight varies on different planets, build prototypes of spacecrafts, view real meteorites on display and more. Kids can use a “passport” as they explore the solar system and learn facts about each planet in our galactic neighborhood.
The art and interactive displays are specially created to give visitors a chance to explore our knowledge about each of the planets and their moons; as well as comets, asteroids and smaller planetoids and bodies in our solar system.
Kids are enthralled by space. But the appeal – the allure of exploring the unknown, the curiosity about what’s beyond our world, a boundless fascination with new frontiers – can turn anyone into “kids.”
“It’s fitting that we are looking to the skies during NASA’s 60th year. Children and adults love to imagine what it’s like to travel into space,” says i.d.e.a. Museum Executive Director Sunnee O’Rork.
“They’ll experience our space frontier through the lens of talented artists and then learn more through activities that build on their natural curiosity.”
The i.d.e.a. Museum, standing for “Imagination. Design. Experience. Art,” is a destination for art, learning and discovery for kids of all ages – a place where families can work across generations to play and create imaginative experiences.
The museum offers its current exhibition as well as studios, rooms for crafts and physical play, an outdoor area perfect for grabbing a snack or picnic as the weather cools off and the “Hub” near the front of the museum. The busy, brightly colored fan-favorite area features 11 interactive stations to trigger imagination and creativity – like “Build It,” where kids put on their construction gear and create and test contraptions with their crew; “Design Your World,” which lets guests envision and design the buildings and structures that make up our world; “Recyclery,” which uses recycled and reused materials to create artwork inspired by “green artists” whose works are on display; and much more. Kids can doodle, use interactive technology, create digital art or explore music and animation in the Hub.
The museum also features an art studio, rooms for food crafts and physical play, an outdoor area for picnic lunches.
One of my son’s (and OK, my) favorite areas has long been the Black Light Room, which has been updated to coincide with this exhibit. Bathed in ultraviolet light and designed to glow under it, the room is an interactive display where kids can explore Area 51. Wear clothes with white, and you’ll really glow.
Whether your kids are fascinated by the smallest meteorites and technical details or are looking to blast off into the unknown, the i.d.e.a. Museum is the place for space this fall.
Admission is $9; members and children younger than 1 are free. The museum is open 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. The museum is closed Mondays and most holidays.