I am a die-hard enthusiast of science centers, and so our tourist stop today was the Telus Spark – Calgary’s Science Center. This new facility was opened in 2011 with a price tag of $160 million. Annually, more than 300,000 people visit the Telus Spark.
Unfortunately we were sadly disappointed. Cost may be the first prohibitive factor for many families wanting to visit the Science Center: $64 which covered admission for the two of us into the center, two tickets to the Dome Theatre show, and the parking fee. I can overlook cost, as long as there is value in the visit – and we just couldn’t find it at the Telus Spark.
For the size of the facility – 153,000 square feet, there weren’t as many displays as I expected, and what was there was pretty basic. Plenty of hands on educational experiments to engage participants but they aren’t interesting enough to hold attention for long.
I don’t want to be too negative – there were some intriguing displays. “How to Make a Monster – the art and technology of animatronics” had interesting exhibits. Not suitable for younger children – lots of scary creatures that will peak the curiosity of pre-teens to adults.
We went to see Tornado Alley at the Dome Theatre, which is state of the art. 245 seats allow viewers to recline and watch the film projected on the 360 degree dome above them in a resolution of 17.7 million pixels. Both John and I had seen the film before, but not in this format.
The movie follows storm chasers as they try to research and film a tornado from its inception. The prologue to the movie was presented by Tim Samaras – one of the three tornado researchers killed this May during the Oklahoma F-5 storm.
If you are travelling to Calgary and looking for someplace interesting to visit, I would give the Telus Spark a pass. Your family will get much more entertainment value by going next door to the Calgary Zoo.