How to Have a Great Visitor Experience at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery

By ANGELA SHAFFER and EZEKIEL McLEAN

As the Boonshoft Museum explores ways of improving the quality of our guests’ experiences, we’ve developed a few approaches to help to ensure that your visit is fun, interesting, and safe. Every trip starts at the beginning, so plan for contingencies before leaving home.

Guests should be prepared to show a photo ID, as members, reciprocal members, and patrons using credit/debit cards will be asked to show their identification. If you have a reciprocal membership card from a partnering institution, please have that card with you as well.

The Museum does not host a cafe or restaurant, so bring along lunch and a few snacks for yourself and your family. You can also purchase items from the Food Chain vending area on the second floor. The Food Chain’s vending machines offer sandwiches, drinks, snacks, and other treats. There are also snacks and beverages available for purchase in the Discoveries Gift Shop near the front entrance of the Museum.

Be sure to dress for the weather, and consider that temperature fluctuations may occur that can make certain areas of the Museum warmer or cooler than average. Also consider bringing a change of clothing for kids, as they can get their clothing wet playing at the water table. You can place items in rental lockers located in the coat room in the front lobby of the Museum and change according to need.

The Boonshoft Museum has designated stroller parking areas – one inside the planetarium, and one just outside the Kids Place area on the first floor. The Museum offers a limited number of strollers and wheelchairs for rent during visits. See a Guest Services staff member at the front desk of the Museum for information.

There are maps and program guides available at the front desk at check-in. Elevators and stairway approaches also offer stationary maps with visitor information. Restrooms are located on each floor, and the Main Exhibition Hall is located on the second floor adjacent to the Food Chain vending area.

The Planetarium screens many unique science shows about topics as diverse as Sky Tonight, with some featuring dinosaurs like Flying Monsters and Did an Asteroid Kill the Dinosaurs? Still, others investigate the amazing wonders of the world. Be advised that they begin promptly on the hour. To ensure seating, be in line in front of the doors of the theater, (note that the line may often extend into the Hall of the Universe) at least five minutes before the start of the show!

If you or your child suffer a minor injury, a bump, abrasion, or simply need to apply a new Band-Aid, head to the front desk as quickly as possible. If you happen to see a Museum staff member along the way, stop them because they may be able to guide you to a closer first-aid location. We will just need you to fill out a quick incident report.

If your child is lost, head to the front desk right away. If you spot a staff member along the way, stop them as they may have a radio and can begin to mobilize others immediately. Otherwise, the front desk can start the process. You will be asked for a description of your child and where they were last seen. A staffer will stay with you should you choose to start looking, rather than stay at the front desk.

Museum staff members will clear areas closest to the child’s last known location. Once the child is found, staff members will communicate over radio how best to reunite the two parties. One of the most common places that parents lose sight of their children is on the climbing tower, as it can be accessed on either floor. If you have young children, have an adult on each level if possible; otherwise, you may want to consider not utilizing the climbing tower during your visit.

These are some helpful suggestions to help you enjoy your visit to the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery. If you have questions or thoughts that you’d like to share, please contact the Museum at www.boonshoftmuseum.org, or by calling (937) 275-7431.

Falcon Cam Update – May 8, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

Extreme weather conditions occurred over the weekend with temperatures dropping below freezing.  Unfortunately, the mother peregrine falcon was unable to protect the three-week-old chicks from the cold temperatures.

One chick was found dead on the ledge and the remaining three chicks are nowhere to be found.  Most likely the chicks died due to hypothermia and were pushed out of the nest by the parents.  Both parents are still around but no longer defending the nest.  The location of the nest this year on the ledge offered little protection from the elements.

When the eggs are laid in the nest box there is some protection from wind and rain, however, the weather was unseasonably cold and it is likely they may not have survived even if they were in the nest box.  It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.

The location of the nest this year on the ledge offered little protection from the elements.  When the eggs are laid in the nest box there is some protection from wind and rain, however, the weather was unseasonably cold and it is likely they may not have survived even if they were in the nest box.  It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.

It is hard to say why the falcons chose the ledge over the nest box but it is early enough in the season that the falcons may re-nest so we will watch for any additional eggs to be laid.

The Boonshoft Museum of Discovery Salutes International Migratory Bird Day

Arctic Tern

Arctic Tern

By STEPHANIE HYLINSKI

On Saturday, May 13, the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery will be celebrating International Migratory Bird Day (IMBD). IMBD was established in 2000 to raise awareness about migratory birds and to encourage people to help protect their habitats. International Migratory Bird Day is celebrated across the Western Hemisphere since many birds move between North and South America.Migration is the seasonal movement of animals from one area to another, and birds migrate to find better resources. Migration occurs on a large scale; all or most of the birds living in the area move as a flock. Of the more than 650 species of birds that breed in North America, more than half are migratory.

Birds migrate to find better food and nesting sites. Birds that live and breed in the Northern Hemisphere move south for the winter. Winters in the Northern Hemisphere are cold and there are not many sources of food available; like seeds, fruits, and insects.

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Bird-watching at the Boonshoft

Birds migrate south to escape the cold and find better food resources, and then return to the north to breed. Birds that nest in the Northern Hemisphere tend to migrate northward in the spring to take advantage of growing insect populations, budding plants, and an abundance of nesting locations. Also, because of the earth’s tilt, days are longer in the Northern Hemisphere than in the Southern Hemisphere during the summer. Longer daylight hours mean that the birds can spend more time searching for food and feeding their chicks.

Not all birds migrate. For example, you probably see cardinals in your backyard in the summer and during the winter. Some birds migrate short distances, like moving across states. Around 350 bird species that live in North America migrate from the United States and Canada to wintering grounds in Central and South America.

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Migratory Birds In Winter

The Arctic tern is famous for its migration; it flies from its Arctic breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again each year, which means they fly about 40,000 miles every year. The long journey ensures that this bird sees two summers per year and more daylight than any other creature on the planet. The average Arctic tern lives about thirty years, and will travel 1.5 million miles during its lifetime, the equivalent of a round trip from Earth to the moon over three times!

For more information on International Migratory Bird Day, check out http://www.birdday.org/.

Falcon Cam Update – May 1, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

Moisture has entered the second camera creating a fogged image.  The camera was unable to withstand the harsh weather conditions we ‘ve had this spring because it does not have the additional plexiglass housing around it like the permanent camera on the nest box does.

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Fogged Falcon Cam Image

Last week we attempted to repair the camera but the female falcon fiercely defended her territory making it unsafe to spend any amount of time on the roof to do repairs.  The location she chose to lay her eggs, on the ledge below the roof, is making it difficult to get a good view of the chicks but at this time we believe the chicks are continuing to do well.

Because the camera view is now completely fogged and we are unable to replace the camera due to safety concerns, the FalconCam live stream will be shut off for the 2017 season.  If any notable information becomes available on the falcons it will be posted at this site.

Falcon Cam Update – April 21, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

The falcon eggs hatched!

On Saturday, April 15, egg shells could be seen on the ledge, but the female spent almost all her time on the nest preventing a view of what was beneath her. By Wednesday, we were able to get a good view of the chicks and all four eggs have successfully hatched!

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Falcon Shells to the Side

The chicks seem to be doing well, and both parents have been very attentive, feeding and keeping the chicks warm.  When they are not able to be seen they are safely tucked under the female.  She broods the chicks, keeping them warm with her body until they are about a week old and they can maintain the correct body temperature on their own

She has special featherless brooding patches that allow the warm skin of her body to press right up against the chicks and keep them warm.  This behavior is easy to see from above.  It looks like she is wiggling quickly back and forth, but she is snuggling her brooding patches down on the chicks.

Falcon Cam Update April 11, 2017

By LIZ TOTH

The falcons continue to incubate their eggs on the ledge on the south side of the Liberty Tower away from the nesting box provided for

Falcon Cam

The new camera setup was quick so the falcons would be disturbed as little as possible.

them with the camera attached.  The ledge is one of two on the southeast corner of the building.

On April 11, a new camera was placed on the roof so the health of the falcon family could be monitored. As soon as there was a human presence on the roof, the falcons vigorously defended the nest indicating immediately that the nest was likely still viable.

With a quick peek over the ledge eggs could be seen as the female dive bombed and an umbrella was used as cover from her sharp talons.

We worked quickly to get the camera in place as we knew it was a small victory that the eggs were still present with no cover from above. Since the eggs were laid temperature

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The falcons’ new view from the south side of the building.

fluctuations have been extreme, and the female has had to tolerate high winds, torrential rains, and even hail.

The eggs were first discovered on the ledge on March 24, and the earliest date the falcons have ever laid eggs at the Liberty Tower is March 17.  Incubation usually starts a few days after the first eggs are laid so incubation likely began somewhere around March 20 to March 24.  With an incubation period of 29 to 32 days, hatching could occur starting April 17.

Geek Chic Arrives at the Boonshoft Museum – Nerd Invasion Imminent!

Embrace your inner geek at GeekFest 2017! As most of the planet has become more technology-oriented, geek culture is on the rise internationally. The designation “geek” itself has changed over the years and is often considered a badge of honor these days. That’s a far cry from the more original connotation of “a peculiar person interested in off-beat topics, focused only on brainy pursuits.” The term is now used in a more positive manner, describing individuals with wide-ranging intellectual curiosity.

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Members of the 501st Legion strike a pose at GeekFest 2016.

In its third year, GeekFest is a must for gamers, Trekkies, steampunkers, cosplayers, and nerds! The diverse universe of geeks will enjoy an evening of costume contests, board games, hands-on experiments, and trivia in the Planetarium with prizes and activities for the whole family.

This year GeekFest will host informative Panels featuring local experts discussing a variety of subjects, like working in the game industry, funding a Kickstarter, and more. And what assembly of geeks would be complete without its own Van De Graaf Generator to greet guests in the front lobby to begin their trek with a hair-raising experience?

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For some, the old Pin-Ball machine is as fun as ever.

Planets of the Empire is an exciting new planetarium show like no other, where the audience travels to Star Wars planets like Hoth and Tatoonie for exploration. Play a Jeopardy-like trivia game called Geek Jeopardy, created for up to 150 people to share their knowledge on topics ranging from Harry Potter to science fiction shows, movies books, and more. For younger geeks, Monster Attack and Minecraft creations await their imagination at the Lego table.

On hand will be local comic book stores and unique local talent showcasing their products, including everything from chain mail to custom-made lightsabers. We have not forgotten food; grab a tasty snack at the McNasty’s food truck, have some delicious ice cream at Maggie Moo’s, or experience Cone Zone Cotton Candy.

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GeekFest Cosplayer in full regalia.

Other Special Events for GeekFest 2017 guests include:

  • Beat the Geek – NEW for 2017! This reverse trivia experience will allow the audience to stump local trivia experts
  • Costume Contest – NEW format will involve a parade through the museum, with judging taking place throughout the evening!
  • DIY Photobooth – Raspberry Pi-powered photo booth, hosted by Make It Dayton
  • Arcade – Hosted by Doug’s Arcade and Gaming Adventures
  • Star Wars Room – The Museum’s Science On a Sphere exhibit will be transformed with appearances from the local chapter of the 501st and other surprises
  • Orc and Pie, the 5 minute D&D experience is back by popular demand
  • Tabletop Gaming – Hosted by D20: A Bar With Characters, the new gaming bar in Kettering
  • Themed items from the Museum’s collection, featuring our resident Anthropologist/Mother of Dragons

Admission to GeekFest is $10 for geeks of all ages, and tickets can be purchased online or at the door. All proceeds from general admission support year-round astronomy education at the Museum. Doors open at 6:00 p.m. for those who purchase tickets online. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. for day-of-ticket sales. Vendors will be on-site, and food will be available for purchase. All ages welcome; under 17 cannot be admitted without a parent.