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Mary Levens wants Spartanburg families to know that they have easy, inexpensive access to a treasure trove of hands-on fun and learning at The John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center. She should know. Levens is the center’s business manager and a retired teacher who was in the classroom for 43 years.

The center, located at Chapman Cultural Center, is open to the public from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays and 1 – 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $2 each for ages 6 and older. It has been in operation for 38 years, with almost a decade at its current location.

Visitors can spend time in the reptile and amphibian room, and they can also visit with the newest resident and first warm-blooded animal, a hedgehog.

“They can really get up close and personal with the animals,” Levens said.

The nonprofit center has one room dedicated to interactive exhibits. Coming soon, visitors will be able to take their science and engineering exploration a step further with a robotic arm. “Kids can make it work and see how it works,” Levens said.

Other exhibits are also being updated. One of the newest acquisitions for the center is the skull of an 80-year-old elephant.

“We have a lot that is interactive where kids can actually experience it,” Levens said. “We are really trying to make it family friendly.”

The staff at Spartanburg Science Center also brings mobile exhibits, including a Starlab planetarium, to schools and day care centers. Families can benefit from the center in a variety of ways.

“We offer family programs,” Levens said. “We’ve done many hikes, a plant life study.”

Families who participated in a recent nocturnal insect hike were able to learn from a USC Upstate professor and have a new world opened to them. “We use areas like the Cottonwood Trial so families can duplicate it themselves,” Levens said.

During the school year, the center is home to a Lego robotics club for ages 6 and older, as well as a competitive Lego robotics team for students in grades 4 – 6. Camps held during the summer and on school holidays give children more focused exposure to special topics and exhibits at the center. And all year long, young scientists can also celebrate their birthdays with science-based parties.

Learn more and plan a visit at www.spartanburgsciencecenter.org.

You can go

The John F. Green Spartanburg Science Center is located at Chapman Cultural Center, 200 E. St. John St., Spartanburg, is open to the public from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Thursdays – Saturdays and 1 – 5 p.m. Sundays. Admission is $2 each for ages 6 and older. For more information, visit www.spartanburgsciencecenter.org or call 864-583-2777.

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