Ontario Science Centre: Everything You Need to Know
Located in bustling Toronto, the Ontario Science Centre is one of the city's most popular attractions, having welcomed over 50 million visitors since its inception in 1969. Once you step inside, it's not hard to see why. With over 500 interactive exhibits, an outdoor Nature Escape in the Don River Valley Ravine, and 150 years of innovative Canadian inventions that transformed the world, it's not hard to get excited about exploring the entire space from top to bottom.
Ontario Science Centre Hours
Doors at the Ontario Science Centre open at 10am seven days a week during the summer—its most highly trafficked season. Begin your day as early as you can so you can get a head start on the more popular exhibits.
Tickets are available for purchase online or on-site at the Science Centre. If you're planning on hitting up a few notable Toronto destinations, check out Toronto CityPASS to save money on multiple attractions.
Ontario Science Centre Special Needs Services
The Ontario Science Centre is committed to excellence in serving all visitors, customers and staff including those with disabilities. Staff training includes familiarity with assistive devices. Additionally, social stories are used to model sample social interactions by giving a brief description of a situation using appropriate social cues, the perspectives of others and a recommended appropriate response. The social story is intended to help individuals with sensitivity needs, including neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, to prepare for a visit to the Ontario Science Centre.
For full details on the Science Center’s accessibility services and resources, please visit the official website.
Exhibits at the Ontario Science Centre
Want to start scoping out your trip? Here are a few exhibits to put on your itinerary when you visit the Ontario Science Centre.
Cohen Family Nature Escape
If it's a nice day, head to this outdoor exhibit where you can wander down scenic paths and admire the landmark porous concrete wall hosting live moss graffiti. Peek at the giant orioles nest or zip down a 125-year-old Eastern White Pine tree trunk fashioned into a slide. Whatever you choose to do, expect to be wowed by the verdant Don River Valley Ravine. Even without the extras provided by the Ontario Science Centre, it's an immensely beautiful natural spectacle.
A Question of Truth
Scientific studies aren't as rock-solid as they seem to be: scientists interpret results based on personal beliefs and unique viewpoints. A Question of Truth probes deeper into these all-too-human frailties. Test controversial theories and learn more about alternatives to Western medicine at this mind-stretching interactive exhibit.
While the Ontario Science Centre clearly has exhibits that appeal to adults and older kids, the younger tots have plenty to keep them busy, too. Try KidSpark, the Science Centre's answer to what kids ages eight and under enjoy doing the most. They can run around blowing giant bubbles or even build their own roller coaster at this kid-friendly exhibit. Don't forget to let them tap into their inner rockstar at the on-site music studio.
As the final frontier, outer space holds unimaginable wonders waiting to be discovered. The Space exhibit is almost as miraculous as the real thing, featuring a planetarium complete with a presenter to guide you through the cosmos, Martian meteorites, and a rocket disguised as a "space chair."
AstraZeneca Human Edge
As a species, humans are remarkable creatures. This exhibit strives to demonstrate the vast potential and all-too-human limits of our bodies. See what it takes to muster the incredible mental will and strength to climb Mount Everest on the climbing wall, or immerse yourself in the mind of a diver plunging hundreds of feet below the surface of the ocean. One of the more personal exhibits allows you to see how your body reacts to danger. Check out the aging machine to see what you'll look like in the future and download images online.
The Living Earth
Mother Nature's splendor is on display at this popular exhibit at the Centre. Walk through a real-life rainforest, complete with thundering waterfalls and poison dart frogs. Make contact with a tornado and peek at a vibrant coral reef before tunneling through an exquisitely designed rock cave.
This nod to Canadian forest heritage hosts a tree that's over 450 years old, complete with a timeline of prominent world events that happened during its lifetime. The science of art and trees is on display in this passage, along with additional natural artifacts.
Maple Leaf Forever Tree
In 2013 the silver maple that inspired Alexander Muir's epic 1867 song "Maple Leaf Forever" fell victim to a brutal windstorm. Parts of it have been made into objects with close ties to Canadian culture, such as a gavel for the Supreme Court of Canada and this hand-carved sculpture on display at the Ontario Science Centre. Made possible thanks to over 10,000 hours of dedicated volunteer efforts, the sculpture features 35 hand-carved maple leaves, each representing a prominent historical Toronto figure, event, or place.
Portraits of Resilience
Climate change affects all those who call the Earth home. This powerful exhibit demonstrates its impact on the youth living in regions most sensitive to climate change (like the Nunavut in the Arctic) through photographs and texts sent by the younger generation.
One of the oldest exhibits in the Science Centre, it's also one of the most popular. Check out its shadow tunnel or test your mettle in a distorted room. Assess your reaction time to certain stimuli: are you faster or slower than you think? Head over to the Science Arcade to find out!
When demonstrated in real life, science can be fascinating. This the Science Centre's greatest objective behind its daily demonstrations. Learn how paper is made in a live action show, or take in the thrilling Energy Show, a new theatrical presentation.
The Shoppers Drug Mart® OMNIMAX®Theatre
Experience an awe-inspiring 13,000 watts powering an immense domed screen and 44 speakers positioned in a way that makes you feel like you're part of the movie. Check the Ontario Science Centre website to see what films are currently playing.
Canada 150: Discovery Way
Relish Canadian inventiveness in an exhibit that pays homage to Canada's sesquicentennial. Numerous inventions, from household items to industry-disrupting innovations, are on display here.
The Ontario Science Centre helps you better understand how the world around you operates. It makes science engaging and fun. Who knows? Maybe you'll be inspired to create the next game-changing Canadian invention after your visit!
Header Image Courtesy of Ontario Science Centre