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The Great Lakes Science Center

Updated on March 12, 2010
The Great Lakes Science Center
The Great Lakes Science Center

Occupying a lakefront site in the North Coast Harbor area of Cleveland, Ohio, sits the Great Lakes Science Center, sandwiched between Cleveland Browns Stadium and The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.

This irregular and multi-faceted structure of white, gray and glass is anchored by the deeper gray bulbous domed end that houses the Center’s IMAX surround theater. The Science Center is easily located along Lake Erie’s shore, now that a large tri-blade wind turbine and mast have been planted in its front lawn (providing about 1/14th of the facility’s power needs). Another recent addition is the semi-circular array of tilted solar panel shade frames that line the vehicular drop-off at the building’s public entrance.

The Great Lakes Science Center (with its marketing slogan of ‘Great Science’) is dedicated to presenting science and technology interconnected to the environment. A natural focus is the environment of the surrounding Great Lakes region of the upper Midwest. A great many of the Center’s exhibits are interactive displays that make precepts of science and technology accessible to hands-on exploration. The Center’s tripartite emphasis: technology, science phenomena, and the environment of the region.

The Great Lakes Science Center opened its doors in 1996. In recent years, it has expanded its influence both through a school Outreach program, and through a series of summer science camps. The Center is also available for special events and hosts field trips, group tours, and birthday parties. Presentations include both permanent and traveling exhibits, and the IMAX theater circulates a variety of immersive films on science, technology, environments and animals. Under a recently announced agreement, the Visitor Center of NASA Glenn Research Center in Brookpark, Ohio — along with all of its displays and artifacts — will soon be relocated to the Great Lakes Science, which will thenceforth serve as the official NASA Visitor Center to its 300,000 annual visitors.

In addition to its permanent and traveling exhibits and IMAX theater, the Great Lakes Science Center also contains meeting space, lecture hall, restaurant, museum store and parking facility. The Center also opens its doors to the North Coast Harbor’s lakeside promenade, which links to the steamship William G. Mather, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and nearby Voinovich Park. 

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