Pacific Science Center is an independent science center in Seattle with a mission to ignite curiosity and fuel a passion for discovery, experimentation, and critical thinking. Pacific Science Center serves more than 1 million visitors each year. It is located next to the Seattle Center and conducts programs at the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center in Bellevue, Washington, and in communities and classrooms across the state of Washington.
Pacific Science Center also offers year-round youth, teen, family and adult programs, including summer camps in various Puget Sound locations, science-themed 21+ events and research weekends.
Pacific Science Center's outreach program, Science On Wheels, has a fleet of vans that bring hands-on science education to schools throughout the Pacific Northwest.
The center's original buildings were the United States Science Pavilion designed by Minoru Yamasaki for the 1962 World’s Fair in Seattle. The World's Fair was set up into 5 major themed areas: the World of Science and the Worlds of Art, Entertainment, Commerce and Industry, and Tomorrow Located at the southernmost end of the fairgrounds and west of the Space Needle, the World of Science was located under the arches, an easily identifiable landmark of the Pacific Science Center.
The fountains located at the entrance of the center appeared in the movie It Happened at the World's Fair with Elvis Presley. After the World's Fair closed, the U.S. Science Pavilion was re-opened as Pacific Science Center. The land and buildings were leased for $1.00 a year by the City of Seattle until 2004 when the title deed was signed over and the Pacific Science Center Foundation officially took ownership.
Current exhibits remaining from the World's Fair are the Lens and Mirror Machine and a suspended model of the Earth's moon.
The Pacific Science Center complex was designed by Minoru Yamasaki who would be known later as the architect of the World Trade Center in New York City. The walls of each building, composed of many pre-cast concrete slabs, form an arch motif used by Yamasaki in a number of other buildings he has designed.
In 2013, Pacific Science Center put out a call for public art that demonstrated the use of solar energy. The resulting installation was designed by Seattle artist Dan Corson and involves five 33 ft tall sculptures of flowers, inspired by the Australian firewheel tree. The work is titled Sonic Bloom and generates electricity using solar panels mounted in the flower heads. The flowers hum when people approach them and light up at night.
Today Pacific Science Center is composed of eight buildings, including two IMAX theaters (one of only a few places in the world with more than one IMAX theater). The center also has one of the world's largest Laser Dome theaters, a tropical butterfly house, a planetarium, and hundreds of hands-on science exhibits.
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