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DAY TRIP: It’s all fun and games – and learning

Bubbles, flying pumpkins, spooky science and more; museum offers fun for the whole family

You’ve heard the expression “It was fun while it lasted”? Well, at Discovery Center Museum, that fun will last quite awhile – and it starts this weekend.

The museum is launching a series of Family Fun Days that put an emphasis on entertainment and education, starting Saturday and running through the end of the year.

Each event revolves around various themes, with performances, demonstrations, activities,projects and more.

First, we have Bubble Festival and Worldwide Day of Play, a combination of bubbles and playtime. Geoffrey Akins-Hannah will perform with his clever bubbles at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. Saturday. When it’s not showtime, visitors can go to the Bubble-Palooza Playground and create their own bubble art.

And since everyone will be celebrating Worldwide Day of Play, do just that – play – with activities in the outdoor park. Explorers can face the Family Fun Challenge or take part in wind experiments. Plenty of play this day for all. Be bubbly.

This event has its own pricing, in addition to the general admission cost: $5 for tickets purchased, or $6 at the door.

Spooky Science is the next special family event. It’ll scare up some fun from 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25, which gives you plenty of time to get your costume ready for the Halloween high jinks. You’ll follow a map that’ll lead you through the museum exhibits where you’ll find goodies along the way. Then you can concoct gooey, glowing, globs of slime, make monstrous crafts, meet some scientific heroes from beyond the grave, and take part in some fun science activities. Cost for this event is $10.

Mornings of Fun – Halloween Fun will be from 9 to 10 a.m. Oct. 26. This is for children with disabilities and their immediate families. It gives them an opportunity to explore the exhibits at no charge before the public arrives. Costumes welcome. A snack is served at 10. Those attending are welcome to remain at the museum until closing time. Advanced registration is required; sign up online at the museum website or call 815-972-2839.

If you’re looking for a place to get rid of your pumpkin after Halloween, why not send it flying into the sky? Smashing Pumpkins, from 1 to 4 p.m. Nov. 3, will give visitors a chance to bring their pumpkins and create a catapult that’ll send their jack-o’-lanterns up, up and away before they come crashing down into the parking lot. This event is part of the museum’s admission. Other autumn activities and shattering experiments will be offered, too.

From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 10 and Nov. 11 it’s time for Toy Trains! Activities are geared for the entire family. The model trains are provided by the Rock River Valley Division of the National Model Train Association. Guests can make wooden train cars shine by decorating them. Train activities, crafts and play are part of the package. Museum admission covers this.

Other events that’ll keep families busy, and smiling …

• 9 to 10 a.m. Nov. 30 – Mornings of Fun – Grinchy Green Science. This event is for children with disabilities. Free admission; advanced registration required, at the museum’s website or by calling 815-972-2839.

• 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Grinchy Green Science

• Holiday Hoopla 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 26, 27, 28, 29, 30

• Countdown to Fun! Noon to 4 p.m. Dec. 31

For those with children and even those without, a visit to this museum provides a learning adventure with the fun of play. Don’t miss the seasonal special events.


What: Discovery Center Museum

Where: 711 N. Main St., Rockford

When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 7 days a week

Cost: $9, free for children 1 and younger

Distance: about 42 miles from Dixon

Accessibility: Accessible to wheelchairs

Information: or 815-963-6769

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