COSI in downtown Columbus, Ohio is one of the largest science museums in the United States. The downtown museum receives over 750,000 visitors each year, so it has the highest attendance of any Ohio science museum. At over 320,000 square feet of space, COSI offers plenty of room for guests and science exhibits. COSI is an acronym for the Center of Science and Industry. The museum does a great job of presenting science in an engaging and entertaining way.
The two most unique permanent displays are the Oceans exhibit and the Progress exhibit. Both of these areas were created with the highest level of detail and are both stunning.
Poseidon in the Oceans at COSI
At the Oceans exhibit in COSI, guests enter a underground fantasy world of water. Starting at the area cave entrance, the underground caverns transport visitors to a forgotten world where they can learn the science behind the world under the ocean. A huge mythological Poseidon statue greets guests in the underground caverns. In this area, kids can experiment with water in different ways. There is equipment set up to help kids make and learn about ocean waves, make whirlpools, learn about water flow, learn about hydraulics, erosion of the sand and more.
ROV submarine kids can operate at COSI
A second section of the Oceans exhibit features how man explores and studies the ocean. Guests can enter a yellow submarine and explore an undersea observation station. There is also a robotic submersible vehicle, known as a remote operated vehicle (ROV) where guests can operate the vehicle in an aquarium. The ROV also has a video camera so the operator and other guests can see the underwater view from the remote vehicle.
Progress at COSI
The progress exhibit is a demonstration of technology progress from 1898 to 1962. Two streets demonstrate the progress experienced in a typical American street over this time period. Pay attention to each building on the earlier street to see the progress that is made over the next 64 years. Also, there is a great Tesla coil demonstration on display on Fear street in 1898, just before entering 1962.
This exhibit certainly demonstrates a history lesson, but there are many things that can be learned from a scientific point of view. The changes in the products, transportations methods, and communication show how scientific discovery changes the lives of everyone. What discoveries were made since 1962 that have changed our lives?
Gadgets Area at COSI
The Gadgets exhibit, located on the 2nd (top) floor, of the museum has many different hands-on displays set up for guests to experiments with science. Electricity, materials, physics and light are all subjects open for experimentation in this area. This are is one of the best places in the museum to help teach kids different science subjects. There is also an experiment area in Gadgets called Gadgets Cafe, but guests need to sign up to participate. It is recommended to sign up early in the day, particularly on weekends, because spots fill up quickly.
Across the hall from the Gadget entrance is the Gadgets stage which hosts many of the best live shows on display, daily in the museum.
Chemistry Live is one of the live science shows at COSI
Live Science Demonstrations at COSI
In terms of learning about science, COSI offers several different experiences to inspire kids. Make sure to check out the live show schedule for the days' events. The various live science shows offer some of the best material for kids. Shows regularly occur in the Weather Live area and at the main science stage near the main entrance at the lobby. In particular, do not miss the Gadgets Stage Live show, which is presented on the 3rd floor across from the Gadgets area. The Gadgets area is also the place to learn science and engineering through experimentation. Each day, there are a limited number of spots open for one of the gadgets classes. Sign up early in the day to secure a spot in the one of the gadgets classes to dive deeper into a science subject. The classes change regularly, but are suitable for anyone who can follow simple instructions (no experience necessary).
Space Capsule Motion Simulator at COSI
The Space area on the second floor of COSI offers kids some interactive fun learning about the moon and beyond. Kids can board a motion simulator for a ride in a space capsule. Kids love video games, but the space games at COSI are not only fun but also educational. Kids can try landing on the moon or walking in space by playing one of the games.
If the kids are more interested in robotics, COSI also offers a chance to operate a robotic mars rover. The remote controlled robots can pick objects up and move around a Mars simulator area.
Life Exhibit at COSI
At the Life Exhibit guests can explore the human body and physical health. Kids enjoy taking the health challenge. There are a variety of physical strength, speed, and flexibility tests guests perform at different stations. Once they complete all the tests, guests enter the results of their challenge into a touch computer screen near the left side of this area to find out more about their health. This section also contains some eye trick displays and other oddball activities that are fun.
The Ohio State University also operates a health research facility in the Life area. On many days there are students or interns at the Life exhibit asking guests questions and interacting with some cool technology with the guests. On some days OSU also holds demonstrations in the glass area on the left side.