Looking for some fun, hands-on learning for your summer-breaker? Boca Raton’s Sugar Sand Park has an array of activities and events to make this a summer to remember—and learn.
The Children’s Science Explorium, designed for children 5-12, takes scientific theory, and turns it into hands-on experiences that make learning understandable and fun. Equipped with interactive exhibits based on physical science, kids don the lab coat and explore the complexities of electricity, magnetism, sound and vibration, and engineering, bringing these concepts into sharper focus.
This summer, the Children’s Science Explorium will host eight, one-week Science Camp sessions, running from June 15 through August 7. Designed for kids entering first through fifth grades, camps include hands-on science fun that emphasizes an active learning environment with different science themes per class through three activities scheduled each day. For students entering kindergarten, a special “Water, Water Everywhere” camp will run from August 3-7. This weeklong camp will explore the wondrous world of water, from water in the ground, air, plants and animal life, and more, while focusing on learning basics and classroom skills, helping prepare young scholars for their upcoming school year.
- For camp information, visit scienceexplorium.org/new-camps.
Looking to embark on a family-fun eco-adventure this summer? Try the park’s “Grab ‘n’ Go Eco Packs” for a scientific adventure just waiting to happen. Free for park visitors (must be 18 years or older, and provide a valid ID to be held during backpack rental), guests are given a backpack filled with tools and materials to guide parents and kids to explore the plants, animals, and insects in the park. For more information on Sugar Sand Park’s eco packs, click here.
Pack options include:
- The Bug Hunter (Beginners): Hit the trail in search of all those creepy crawlies that make the park home. Learn how bugs play a vital role in the health of the local ecosystem, and even catch a few yourselves. The pack includes a map of the park’s trails, field guides to help identify those multi-legged critters, bug catching equipment, and the rules for the Bug Hunter game. Help dispel the myth behind bugs while learning something along the way.
- Botanical Investigator (Intermediate): Those leafy greens aren’t there for the scenery. Discover why certain native plants survive in certain environments while taking part in a fun scavenger hunt. This backpack will lead junior botanists through the trails in search of an array of plant life, and how they have adapted to survive in the busy and active Sugar Sand Park.
- Bird Sleuth (Advanced): Trailblazers have to have a quick, keen eye when on this case. The name of this game is bird watching. In the pack, avian sleuths will find all the goods to take on birding; your goal, find a shady nook, sit back quietly, and see what kind of birds come and go. You will be amazed how much you can discover by observing birds in their natural element.
Image from NASA’s Hubble Telescope black hole survey.
As we hurtle through the Milky Way, space unfolds in a dazzling, twinkling panoramic. Throughout the summer, the Explorium will peer into the night’s sky with professional-grade 16-inch Meade LX Schmidt-Cassegrain telescope. This will allow visitors to spy Jupiter, Mars, Venus, distant stars, and more (weather permitting). To help give a better understanding of what folks are looking at, the Maple Room in the Sugar Sand Park Community Center will transform into an interstellar portal when the inflatable planetarium is setup. Eyes to Skies night is free to the public, and will take place on the following evenings (weather permitting) at 8 p.m.: June 12, July 10, August 21, and September 11. For more information, visit scienceexplorium.org/eyes-to-the-skies.
For a little dash of culture, the Willow Theatre will be introducing the exciting world of theater to an all new audience with its Summer Children’s Series. From June through August, Willow Theatre welcomes theater companies and musical ensembles to perform kid-friendly plays and concerts designed to spark the imagination. This summer’s remaining performances include “The Little Mermaid’s Adventure,” on July 19, and the Wonderful World of Music on August 16.
- On July 19 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., take a dive beneath the waves for “The Little Mermaid’s Adventure,” performed by Curtain Call Playhouse. Inspired by the beloved Hans Christian Andersen story, the play throws in a new twist with audience interaction, including songs, while dispensing invaluable life lessons in the guide of entertainment.
- Willow Theatre’s Summer Children’s Series closes with an ode to tunes when The Symphonia performs the concert, “The Wonderful World of Music,” on August 16 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. This educational concert will explore the four families of the orchestra, demonstrating for concertgoers how sounds are made from each instrument from the strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion families, all while Symphonia players embark on rather popular songs, including “Beauty and the Beast,” “Under the Sea,” and “The Imperial March” from Star Wars to name but a few.
Admission for the performances cost $7 for adult, $5 for children ages 12 and under. Each child’s ticket includes a carousel ride ticket, and cookies and juice after the show.
Note: Sugar Sand Park’s Science Playground will be closed June 15, 2015 through April 2016 for renovations. The carousel will be open during renovations. For more information, visit mybocaparks.org/SSPAIPlayground.