Kingdom Of Learning

A new generation of hands-on museums mixes science and technology with the thrill of a theme park

The young girl laughs and waves to the milling crowd as she pumps the pedals of a unicycle with an oversize counterweight fixed beneath. As she tools back and forth along a thin cable strung 19 ft. above the ground, her friends wait for a chance to take a spin. Meanwhile they get an impromptu physics lesson from a guide on how the counterweight and gravity keep the unstable vehicle in equilibrium and prevent their friend from tumbling over.

It's this heady mix of circus and educational extravaganza that draws visitors to a spectacular new science center that opened last...

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