Living Science Center Undergoes Transformation

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Tucked into the rolling hills and wetlands of River Legacy Park, the Living Science Center is the gateway to the park’s urban oasis.

The center’s odd shaped rooms and dated exhibits, however, kept the park from reaching its full potential.

No longer.

With help from the Arlington Tomorrow Foundation, the center has undergone a major $2.5 million transformation. The foundation kicked off the fundraising campaign with a $1 million grant.

“We wanted to find a way to complement the park’s natural beauty and bring in some of the outdoors,” Executive Director Jill Hill said. “Everyone from age 3 to 93 can enjoy this.”

The centerpiece of the transformation is the Discovery Room, which features two large aquariums with fish and turtles, an indoor pond viewing area and a big frog for kids to climb.

An interactive log tells the story of decomposition and nutrient cycle, and a recreated tree stump features a model of the life cycle of Devil’s Cigar, a very rare fungus that hisses when it unfurls in the Arlington park.

On a giant interactive wall, guests can immerse themselves in woodland habitats across the seasons, compete against a lizard in a push-up contest and jump as high as a frog. The wall was designed by 900lbs of Creative, whose portfolio includes projects for the Perot Museum and Dallas Cowboys.

By integrating technology with nature, Hill said River Legacy’s Living Science Center wants to grow the next generation of environmental stewards.

“We hope to instill a love of nature and outdoors in all of our visitors,” Hill said. “If you love it, then you will protect it.”

About 40,000 people visit the Living Science Center each year, through camps, story times, adult classes and other special events. River Legacy officials say the transformation could increase attendance by 25 percent.

Admission to the Discovery Room is $3 for children, $4 for seniors and $5 for adults.

To sustain and maintain the new exhibits, the Living Science Center is launching an annual membership benefits plan that allows guests unlimited access to the Discovery Room, as well as other perks, like guest passes and free tickets to special events.

“We are so grateful that our community invested in the Living Science Center,” Hill said. “This helps further Arlington’s reputation as the ‘Entertainment capital of Texas.”

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