South Florida Science Center And Aquarium Debuts New Building, Plans For New Exhibit

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Staff report

The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium recently completed its new multipurpose center building.

The new 5,000-square-foot building will be called The Stiles-Nicholson STEM Education Center thanks to a $100,000 gift from The Stiles-Nicholson Foundation, headed by Science Center Board member Dr. David J. S. Nicholson.

The building, located between a large park meadow and a pond edge, will serve as headquarters for several STEM science education programs, host School District senior staff meetings and meetings of the STEM Advisory Council.

The education center features classroom environments suitable for workshops and creative spaces with 3D printers, robotics labs and computer coding and programming spaces.

The $100,000 donation will be used to help fund plans for a new permanent exhibit at the center, “Journey Through the Human Brain,” which officials plan to break ground on in early 2018. The center has already received some funding from the Quantum Foundation.

The more than 2,300-square-foot exhibit in a new, west wing of the center is a $2 million project. The center has partnered with Florida Atlantic University’s newly-created Brain Institute, headed by Dr. Randy Blakely to bring the exhibit to fruition.

“The brain is endlessly fascinating, whether exploring how it generates our hopes and dreams or what goes wrong in brain disorders,” Dr. Blakely said. “Neuroscientists are giving us an increasingly detailed picture of how the brain is built and works, and we hope through this exhibit to inspire young minds to delve even deeper into brain science.”

The new exhibit will tell the story of the human brain from the molecular and cellular level. It will also explain how the brain creates hopes, fears and memories.

Plans call for the exhibit to be split into four galleries.

The introductory gallery will feature a walk-through brain mist and a 3-D brain projection.

The “Brain Room” will show how much activity goes on in the brain every second.

The “Thoughts and Emotion” gallery will show how much effort the brain goes through to lie.

The “Senses Gallery” will allow visitors to explore sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch.

A special “Brain Bar” will host experts who will be able to share their knowledge with guests and demonstrate high tech and cutting-edge virtual reality technologies used to visualize brain structure and function.

The exhibit will teach visitors the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle to support brain function and introduce careers in neuroscience.  A brain sciences room will highlight advances that local neuroscientists are making in unraveling aspects of brain development, signaling and plasticity and in detecting, preventing and treating disorders of the brain such as addiction, depression, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and concussion.

For more information, call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.