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Get Inventive at The Tech Museum

Hundreds of custom-made, interactive exhibits to experiment with

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Somehow, The Tech Museum wouldn’t seem right anywhere else but Silicon Valley, home to Google, Apple, HP, eBay, Facebook, and thousands of other high-tech companies. Together, they create one of the most inventive regions on the planet, and the “capital” of that region is San Jose. This is home base for The Tech Museum.

Here, visitors get a glimpse of the innovative thinking that’s literally changed the world. The setting itself is futuristic – three stories of blue and gold, crowned with a bubble skylight and powered in part by a 185-kilowatt photovoltaic solar panel system. Science and technology labs and educational media are spread across 132,000 square feet of museum space.

At the Innovation Gallery, immerse yourself in hands-on access to digital art, virtual travel, computer animation, and nanotechnology. Compete for the best time on a virtual bobsled run at the Life Tech Gallery. Design your own bicycle using an Innovation Gallery 3-D computer program, then print an image of the final product to hang by the print station or take home. Or, stand on a genuine Earthquake platform, calculating seismic measurement from actual feedback on worldwide quake activity.

There are hundreds of custom-made, interactive exhibits to experiment with and learn from here, whether you’re a computer nerd or have yet to sign up for an e-mail account. Guests of all ages are sure to find something to fascinate their curiosity, and school-age children in particular will have a field day getting their hands on some of this equipment. Most of the interaction will involve screen-time; after all, computers and video rule the tech world.

But advanced technology branches out to many other areas, from genetics to clean energy. There’s renewable energy education at the museum’s Green by Design gallery, teaching kids and adults how the world can become more environmentally friendly. Gene therapy also gets the spotlight; you can learn how to make medicine using real DNA as you play scientist at Genetics: Technology with a Twist. And at the all-new exhibit, Body Worlds, available through January 2, 2011, actual human bodies will be on display, showing guests what lies beneath the skin.

There’s obviously a lot to see and do, and if you need some time to sit back with a film, hit up the Tech Museum’s IMAX Dome Theater before you leave for the day. Where else will you see the forces of nature, outer space, or the world beneath the sea on an eight-story-high screen?

More on the Museum:

 The Tech Museum is a non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the spirit of innovation. The museum’s Tech Awards program honors international innovators whose technologies benefit humanity. Offering free field trips for students, the museum enhances science and technology curriculum for K-12th grade learners. It’s no wonder that out of 500,000 yearly visitors, 120,000 come from school groups.

 Hours and Admission:

 Beginning November 13, the museum will offer extended hours from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday. General admission prices are $5-$10.

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