Saint Louis Science Center

Kali greets his visitors.
Áine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Update: This article has been updated to include a State Auditor's approved recoupment of $.0001 for each of the Zoo Museum District institutions.

The Zoo Museum District board is lowering tax rates for the coming year. This will amount to St. Louisans paying a fraction of a cent less per one hundred dollars of taxable property.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The debate over charging nonresidents of St. Louis and St. Louis County for admission to the various free Zoo-Museum District institutions was reignited in St. Louis this month. “A small entrance fee of, say, $8 for non-city, non-county people would be fair and would help institutions terrifically,” said Ben Uchitelle, the former chairman of the board of the Zoo-Museum District.

Science Center President Bert Vescolani presents a year's worth of activities, events, and finances to the Zoo Museum Board
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

The Zoo-Museum District board is giving the Saint Louis Science Center a greatly improved bill of health. In the past five years the institution has reduced its debt from millions to a few hundred thousand dollars.

“There’s been a vast improvement,” said ZMD board member Charles Valier. 

"Journey to Space" Director, Mark Krenzien
Saint Louis Science Center

St. Louis has played a key role in space travel. In 1959, NASA selected St. Louis company McDonnell Aircraft to build America’s first human-controlled spacecraft for Project Mercury. McDonnell Aircraft later became McDonnell Douglas, and merged with Boeing in 1997.

Boeing is one of the corporate sponsors of the Omnimax film, "Journey to Space," directed by Mark Krenzien.

“It’s a special place here in St. Louis, to have a film like this in a town so linked to aerospace and aviation,” Krenzien told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh.

St. Louis Science Center
St. Louis Science Center

Like most kids, Diamond Williams toyed with several potential careers. Cosmetology had potential. So did following in the footsteps of her father, a dialysis technician, but her squeamishness cut short those dreams. Instead, Williams is now an engineer, a career path she discovered through a St. Louis Science Center youth program.

Youth Exploring Science works with St. Louis teens to create projects centered around science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

Urban Chestnut Brewmaster and co-founder Florian Kuplent, 40.
Willis Ryder Arnold/St. Louis Public Radio

You might think most brewers start making beer because of the taste, and while that’s true, two local brewers were equally charmed by the science behind making beer. Urban Chestnut co-founder and Brewmaster Florian Kuplent said scientific analysis makes a better beer.

“We do a lot of chemical analysis, we analyze the bitterness, we look at yeast cell count, we look at PH (so, acidity of the beer) we look at how much alcohol is in the beer, how much sugar, kind of a portfolio of standard tests we do for every batch,” said Kuplent.

The game's afoot, this time at the Saint Louis Science Center.

“The International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes” brings Arthur Conan Doyle’s brilliant detective to St. Louis, nearly 130 years after he was created, and lets science center patrons test their powers of observation and crime-solving skills.

meeting with science center
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

The controversy over a contract between the St. Louis Science Center and a design firm doesn’t seem to be going away.

In April, Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned following conflict-of-interest allegations stemming from the Science Center awarding a contract to Arcturis, a company she founded.

On Thursday, ZMD board member Charles Valier again criticized Science Center dealings with the firm at a budget-presentation meeting at the Center.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

The very existence of St. Louis’ Zoo-Museum District could be at stake in a debate over its ethics code, according to a national expert on tax funding and cultural districts.

Images from zoo museum district entities
File photos and Wikipedia

New Zoo-Museum District board member Pat Whitaker resigned this afternoon following allegations of ethics violations.

Whitaker is chairman of St. Louis’ Arcturis design firm, which recently won a contract with the St. Louis Science Center. The Science Center is a subdistrict of the ZMD and receives about $10 million each year in tax dollars from the district. She had resigned as an employee of Arcturis, but still owns 37 percent of its stock.

Jeremy Bailey/St. Louis Public Radio

"Harry's Big Adventure: My Bug World" opens October 19th at the Saint Louis Science Center. As a tasty addition, every weekend the attraction will host bug chefs preparing sweet, salty and crunchy bug treats. Cityscape host Steve Potter previewed the exhibit with Bug Chef Jayme Necaise and sampled an array of those bug-filled snacks.

Saint Louis Science Center

The Saint Louis Science Center’s current exhibition Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science has sparked an interest in the afterlife in ancient Egyptian culture.  Earlier this month, Michele Loyet, Adjunct Professor on Near Eastern and Egyptian Archaeology  at Webster University, spoke at the Science Center on the topic of mummification in Egypt.  She was Don Marsh’s guest on St. Louis on the Air to talk about the afterlife tradition in ancient Egypt.

(Kristi Luther/St. Louis Public Radio)

After 17 years, the giant, inflated event and exhibition space at the Saint Louis Science Center known as the "Exploradome" has come down.

What started as an experiment to test the need for such a space, the Exploradome was deflated on Monday to make way for a permanent exhibition structure with indoor and outdoor elements. The Science Center says the dome took just over 9 minutes to deflate.

Here's a time lapse of the deflation:

Saint Louis Science Center

In 1961, a parent of one of Charles Schweighauser’s students told him that a planetarium was being built in Forest Park and suggested that he apply for the job of director.  He figured that he was too young, but applied anyway.  Much to his surprise, he was hired the day before his 25th birthday.  Almost two years later, on April 16, 1963, the James S. McDonnell Planetarium opened its doors giving St. Louisans a state-of-the art way to view the universe in its star chamber.  The space race between the U.S.

SK Films

Citizen science is a growing opportunity for non-professional and amateur scientists to participate in professional research.

There are numerous opportunities for citizen science in the St. Louis area and engaging in such endeavors can contribute to protecting environments and preserving species.

Courtesy SLSC, Copyright IMAX Corporation

The Saint Louis Science Center has an exhibition and is showing a documentary film about wildlife rescue and rehabilitation.

Host Steve Potter talks with David Lickley, the director of Born to be Wild, about the film on orphaned orangutans and elephants and the people who rescue them.  Steve also talks with Bert Vescolani, the President and CEO of the Saint Louis Science Center, about the Wildlife Rescue Exhibition.

There is strong evidence that human-produced greenhouse gases—like carbon dioxide and methane—are changing the Earth’s climate.

So says the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone.

He spoke about the science of climate change at the Saint Louis Science Center this week.

And Cicerone told St. Louis Public Radio’s Véronique LaCapra that although the climate has changed in the past, this time is different.

An exhibition on climate change has opened at the Saint Louis Science Center.

The exhibition stays away from political controversies, focusing on the science of climate change and its human and environmental implications.

Through text, diagrams, interactive stations, and videos, the exhibition shows how human activities are producing greenhouse gasses and contributing to climate change.