Sun, Earth, Universe Exhibition at Kaleideum North
Travel from the tropical rainforests of South America to the fields of North America as you learn about conservation efforts on a local and global scale. Meet a variety of LIVE animals, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. Investigate bird eggs, nests, and beaks, butterfly wing structures, animal tracks, and more.
Throughout Kaleideum North, you will see painted ceramic tiles in the floor of the Great Hall and along many walls. The tiles were created by children and adults in 1993 and 1994 and depict science, astronomy, art, footprints, and many other imaginative subjects. Which one is your favorite?
Color the Universe
Located beside the Planetarium, young astronomers (and budding artists) can try their hand at drawing a picture of the universe. The theme varies weekly from Planets to Rockets to Space to Aliens. Crayons and paper provided – just bring your imagination!
Take a leisurely walk through the winding trails of our outdoor natural science exhibit. There are gardens featuring native plant life, a children’s garden to dig into, and more than 30 species of North Carolina trees growing throughout the park. The Environmental Park offers a wonderful play, picnic and check out some of North Carolina’s native plants and wildlife.
This exhibit is named after the French physicist Jean Bernard Léon Foucault (“Foo-koh”). Once the pendulum starts swinging back and forth, it will continue to swing in the same direction (plane of motion) unless it is pushed or pulled in another direction (Newton’s first law of motion). The Earth, however, is rotating underneath the pendulum. As a result, the pendulum appears to move clockwise, when, in reality, the compass, the pendulum support, the Kaleideum building, all of us in the building, and the Earth are rotating counterclockwise! Take a photo of the pendulum at the beginning of your visit, and then again at the end of your visit. Compare the two to see just how far the Earth moved.
Gain a better understanding of how our bodies work and how to maintain good health! Discover the cell, the basic unit of all living matter. Learn how DNA controls traits passed from generation to generation. Follow the systems of the body, including skeletal and muscular systems, circulation and respiration, the nervous system, and the digestive system. Measure your blood pressure, heart rate, visual acuity, and strength. Explore good dental hygiene with a giant walk-in mouth and discover the history of the dental chair. Learn about nutrition and healthy food choices. Young scientists can play the Body Game, see their “insides,” and listen to body sounds in Tot Spot, while older scientists can explore the human reproductive system and the various stages of embryological and fetal development.
Feel the incredible force of a hurricane in our Hurricane Simulator. You’ll be blown away!
(Note: The Hurricane Simulator is leased from a third party and requires a $2 fee. A portion of the fee supports Kaleideum!)
Learn about Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion, as well as potential and kinetic energy, by releasing a penny down the Hyperbolic Funnel. Follow the penny’s elliptical path as it circles faster and faster, closing in on the gravity well at the bottom.
If you can imagine it, you can build it with KEVA® planks, a fun, relaxing, and educational activity for guests of all ages. KEVA® planks are small, uniform blocks that allow you to construct towers, bridges, animals, buildings, sculptures, or almost anything you can envision without glue, just gravity. Not sure what to build? Check out the variety of finished structures that are on display. They just might inspire your creativity!
Young scientists (ages 4 and under) will discover many interesting activities including puzzles, puppets, blocks, and books in KidsWorks. Imaginative play and discovery are encouraged by the country barn, grocery store, light table, puppet stage, and much more!
Test your creativity, logic, and problem-solving skills with a variety of Kaleideum puzzles including Wooden Ball Escape, Pegs Across the River, Five Piece Square, Horseshoe Puzzle – twelve mind-bending puzzles in all! You might discover that using careful observations, asking the right questions, and viewing problems from unusual perspectives lead to solutions faster than trial-and-error methods. You’ll also be challenged to locate specific items in the Find It display, and you can create pictures with light pegs on the Lite-Brite Magic Table!
Begin with the building blocks (atoms) of nature: Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P) and Sulfur (S). Combine them into simple molecules such as water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), and ammonia (NH3), or create more complex sugar molecules such as glucose/simple sugar (C6H12O6) or the carbonic acid found in soft drinks (H2CO3). Follow the continuing cycle within our bodies as food molecules are broken down and recombined into new molecules providing us with the energy we need to live.
Mountains to Sea
Explore the geological and biological diversity of North Carolina from the mountains to the piedmont to the coastal plain! Challenge yourself to identify as many of the animal specimens as you can, listen to recordings of frogs and owls, learn about the state’s coniferous and deciduous trees, and view samples of the many rocks and minerals found here. The vast mural around the room contains paintings of North Carolina’s flora and fauna… and a few hidden surprises! Live fish, turtles, and hermit crabs can be found in several freshwater and saltwater tanks. Younger guests can also practice fishing in the simulated stream, zoom down the tree slide, and crawl inside a replicated beaver dam.
Discover principles of the physical world with hands-on experiments involving machines, light, motion, color, electricity, and much more! Experiment with simple machines including screws, levers, inclined planes, and pulleys. Discover examples of motion and dynamics with the Air Chair Lift, Bernoulli Disk, and Bicycle Wheel Gyroscope. Explore the interrelationship of electricity and magnetism with a circuit table, hand generator, and Jacob’s Ladder. Experience the world of light, color, and optics with Captured Shadows, the Laser Light Challenge, and the Walk-in Kaleidoscope. Get a perspective about perception by shaking hands with yourself or performing other experiments with the Depth Spinner, Anti-gravity Mirror, and other optical illusions.
The Moon is the Earth’s nearest neighbor in space at around 240,000 miles away. Kaleideum’s Moon model is closer and just outside the Planetarium. The surface of the Moon exhibits two types of terrain. Older highlands are covered with craters, while the younger Maria (Seas) are smooth areas where lava flowed in the distance past. See if you can find Mare Tranquilities (Sea of Tranquility) and the craters Copernicus and Tycho (with its rays). Also find the six Apollo landing sites. Although, we can’t see the far side of the Moon from the Earth, we can at Kaleideum! Make sure to visit the far side and take a photo with your group.
Explore an abundance of natural science artifacts in the Science Lab, which includes many preserved specimens from past Museum collections. Examine feathers under a microscope, compare skulls of all sizes, and view beautiful rocks and minerals. Shells and coral from the Earth’s seas are found throughout the exhibit. Marvel at large animal mounts from around the world – including a polar bear, leopard, cheetah, lion, tiger, brown bear, cape buffalo, black rhinoceros, duiker, and bongo – and see a display of illegal wildlife products on permanent loan from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which obtained the items during enforcement of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Treaty and the Endangered Species Act.
Head outside to discover simple machines, sound, and energy on a large scale in the Science Park! Listen like a bat using giant bat ears and try out the whisper dishes and echo tube to better understand echolocation and sound waves. Explore simple machines that help us do work, check the time on a sundial, and view a rain garden. Younger guests can dig for fossils and ride a human pendulum.
Solar System Walk
Most images we see of the Solar System show the eight planets (and sometimes Pluto) next to each other. To get a better idea of their relative sizes and how far they are from each other and the Sun, take our Solar System Walk in the outdoor parks! Start at the Sun, which is near the Millennium Ball, and see if you can find all of the planets and two dwarf planets, ending with Pluto, 1500 feet out in the park.
Explore the science of sound by experimenting with sound waves, vibrations, and some unusual musical instruments. Play the floor piano (with your feet!), pluck the wooden strings on the guitar wall, and strum the invisible harp. You’ll also enjoy making music with the echo tube, African drum, xylophone, wave machine, kitchen band, and pipes of pan.
The Air We Breathe
Beside the door to the outdoor parks is Kaleideum’s The Air We Breathe exhibit, a collaboration with NC Air Awareness and the Forsyth County Office of Environmental Assistance & Protection. Learn about air pollution using the Smog City 2 display screen or go online to check the local Air Quality Index using the QR code on the wall. Outside in the Science Park is the Kaleideum Weather Station, which measures wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, and rain.