The Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center announced the opening of a new exhibit, which is located in one of three vaults in the historic 101-year-old former post office that houses the Weather Discovery Center, is called the “Ready or Not? Weather Emergency Shelter.”
Designed and built by Carnegie Science Center, the exhibit revolves around a topic that’s been in the news a lot lately: emergency preparedness.
“We’re all about the weather here,” says the Center’s director Marlene Lellock, “and one very important aspect of weather is to be prepared for the worst of it.”
Lellock says the idea of using the vault for an exhibit on preparedness came from the Center’s Director of Education and Programming, Amanda Hornack, who covers weather emergencies in many of the programs she develops. The block walls of the vault resemble the type of room where a family might locate a shelter.
While the components of the exhibit are interactive and fun, the content has a message. The “Let’s Get Packing” game quizzes visitors on what items should or should not be part of your family emergency kit. If you pick a correct item, you’ll hear a pleasant bell sound. If you choose an incorrect item, you’ll get buzzed. “Emergency Preparedness Supply Shelves” showcase the types of supplies that should be stocked in a shelter in preparation for an emergency that lasts for more than a day. If you’re lucky, you’ve never heard a the blast of a weather emergency siren, but so that you’ll recognize the sound, the “Ready or Not?” exhibit has a siren that blares at the push of a button.
The new exhibit joins other interactives, including the “Twist and Shout” tornado slide, the “AccuWeather Forecasting Station”, and the “Perfect Storm” to make for an entertaining visitor experience.
Technology also plays a role at the Weather Discovery Center, and recently a new interactive Smart Board® was installed in the Center’s theater. “With support from the Glenn and Ruth Mengle Foundation, we were able to upgrade our technology to improve the educational experience we offer during our programs,” says Lellock.
The Smart Board® is a white board projector that allows students to interact with lessons by selecting items, writing, and drawing on the screen with a pen or a finger. It also opens up an almost unlimited amount of resource material for Hornack to use when developing educational programs.
“During our recent Winter Wonders program I was able to use the board to show the children the motion of the jet stream and how this winter’s El Nino is having an impact on it and us,” says Hornack.
You can learn more about the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center, including its hours of operation and admission cost, at Weatherdiscovery.org. For more information of fun family things to do in the PA Great Outdoors region call (814) 849-5197 or online at VisitPAGO.com.