Beyond the Beach — Emerald Coast Science Center for a Hands-on Experience
Looking for something for younger kids to do on a rainy day that doesn’t involve pouring gobs of money into arcade machines? The Emerald Coast Science Center in Fort Walton Beach would be worth a visit. This is not your big city science museum with lots of signs to read and things to view, but rather a smaller local facility where kids can get hands-on with science. My daughter and 10-year old grandson visited recently, and reported that it was 3 hours well spent. For a toucher like my grandson, it was great.
According to my daughter, “They have exhibits on robotics, color and light, ecosystems, a sand topography box (my favorite other than the critters), chem lab and a hurricane simulator (we paid $2 extra) among others.
They have a large Connect Four game that we enjoyed, brain teasers, puzzles and building toys. The center has a number of animals both inside and out, including several birds (cockatoo, macaw, budgies), small mammals (guinea pigs, hedgehog, hamsters, degus, sugar gliders and a rat) and reptiles (snakes, bearded dragons (lizards), turtles) and a spider.”
When my grandson asked about the nocturnal sugar gliders, a staffer took them out and let him touch them (his favorite part of the day).
Be aware that some of the exhibits are a bit worn and a few may not operate correctly, but the facility is working on upgrades.
The friendly staff is helpful and very willing to answer questions. The center has a small gift shop with reasonable prices. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids. You could look in local “Things to Do” publications for discount coupons. The center is located at 31 SW Memorial Parkway in Ft. Walton Beach. 850/664-1261. https://www.ecscience.org/ Open 10 am to 4 pm, Wednesday through Saturday. Closed Sunday-Tuesday. Hours are subject to change, so we suggest you call to verify.