February 11, 2018

What’s New At Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

My last visit to Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb., was over a year ago to see the new Children’s Learning Center, a permanent exhibit that explores aspects of flight and engineering in a super fun way for kids. That was 2016, so it was well overdue for me to see what’s new at the museum, especially since there’s a kid-friendly exhibit there this winter.

If you haven’t visited Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum with your children yet, read this post!

We returned this winter to see a new temporary exhibit that compliments the hands-on activities at the Children’s Learning Center. “Energy Explorers” helps museum visitors of all ages explore principles of energy, like comparing potential and kinetic energy, how energy is transferred to another form, and the relationships of electrical or
magnetic interactions. The new exhibit is open until April 23, 2018.

A table to create circuits at the new exhibit “Energy Explorers” at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

It has the look and feel that it’s designed for school aged children, with slightly complicated instructions for my youngest to understand without my help. She’s not a strong reader yet.

I stayed by her side to explain and build alongside her. She spent the most time playing with the magnets and dominos. And this thing below.

Doesn’t matter your age, it’s always going to be fun to fire an air cannon.

She loved firing shots with the air vortex cannon, knocking down cups and moving tiles with the wind energy she created.

My 8-year-old son jumped right into the more difficult areas like the circuit boards, which involved step-by-step instructions on completing a circuit on your own to light a lightbulb or start a fan.

The kids worked together as a team to build circuits.

 

Here’s what’s all in the exhibit:

– Learning and exploring primary sources of energy – nuclear, fossil, solar, geothermal, hydro, wind

– Performing hands-on experiments that test energy in motion

– Testing the power of wind energy with an air vortex cannon

– Discovering where energy comes from through interactive learning on a kiosk

– Testing the transfer of energy using an electric circuits board or hand crank bulbs

– Experiencing conservation of energy through a newton’s cradle

– Learning about magnetic and electrical fields using magnets, snap circuitry, or sound tubes

This is one of the museum’s two annual interactive exhibits that focus on topics in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM). I enjoy timing our visits to the museum specifically to see these interactive exhibits, because my children enjoy them so much.

The Children’s Learning Center is a permanent exhibit at Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Nebraska.

We ended our visit by playing in the Children’s Learning center, walking around the planes, and trying out the flight simulator.

New-To-Us At The Museum

The kids finally got their chance to try out the simulation ride, too. It’s an additional fee ($10 each) and there is a height requirement that my daughter finally reached this year. For observers, it looked like an intense rollercoaster experience, completely with several spins upside down, but the kids loved it.

If you think your kids will want to ride it, buy your tickets at the time of purchasing museum admission. You cannot purchase tickets at the ride.

I walked through “Searching for Humanity: Veterans, Victims, and Survivors of World War II” for the first time during this visit. It’s intense, and definitely intended for adults and children old enough to grapple with the subject matter. The exhibit includes photos, memorabilia and testimony of Nebraska Holocaust survivors, soldiers and others who helped liberate prisoners from concentration camps in Nazi-occupied Europe.

The newest permanent exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen of World War II opened on February 2018. It opened after our visit, so we’ll have to check it out the next time we’re there.

Win Passes To Visit!

It’s truly amazing to get such a close-up look at so many airplanes at the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Nebraska.

I’m working with Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum to giveaway one daily pass for four to visit the museum! Here’s your chance to see what’s new at the museum. To enter, fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Giveaway ends on Sunday, Feb. 25, at 11:59 p.m. CST.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 or older to enter. I was not compensated to host this giveaway or visit the museum.

 

If you go

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

Where: 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb. (about 30 miles west of Omaha)

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; closed: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas. “Energy Explorers” is open through April 28, 2018.

Cost: Adults, $12; senior citizens, military, $11; children (ages 4-12), $6; FREE for children aged 3 and younger

Extras: Fight simulators, 2D rides are $9 for members $10 for non-members, and 3D rides are $12 for members $13 for non-members.

Website

 

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August 15, 2016

Kids & The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum

Editor’s Note: Updated on February 7, 2018

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum has created a space for children of all ages to explore STEM ideas (that’s science, technology, engineering, and math).

 

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum opened the new Children's Learning Center in early August 2016.

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum opened the new Children’s Learning Center in early August 2016.

 

The new Children’s Learning Center opened last weekend. It consists of 10 interactive stations designed as an out-of-classroom experience for children to experiment and learn about science, technology, engineering, and math and the physics, forces, and technology of flight. Families can easily spend an hour here, especially if the children get into building structures at a couple of the stations.

One engineering station asks kids to build a building or bridge the can stand up to an earthquake.

One engineering station asks kids to build a building or bridge the can stand up to an earthquake.

I explored with my preschooler and first-grader and they had as much fun as the older kids there. Some activities were better suited for the limited patience of little ones than others, but with the help of an adult, they could build and experiment alongside the big kids. 

Thank you to the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum for the complimentary passes so I can visit and get some great pictures. It was a fun day!

What you’ll find at the Children’s Learning Center

The Bernouli Blower was a beacon for little ones with the the colorful beach balls.

The Bernouli Blower was a beacon for little ones with the the colorful beach balls.

Bernoulli Blower: Discover the principles of airflow and how air speed and pressure effects objects, like beach balls.

KEVA Planks: Create structures and gain first-hand experience with balance, leverage, geometry and the principles of physics.

Children build structures that can stand up to the shaking earthquake table.

Children build structures that can stand up to the shaking earthquake table.

Make-it-Tables: Experience the engineering design process by building machines or structures using materials provided.

Interactive Kiosk Station: Explore the four forces of flight.

Kids race their LEGO cars on a test track at the Children's Learning Center.

Kids race their LEGO cars on a test track at the Children’s Learning Center.

Wind Trainer: Learn about the science and technology of flight in terms of aircraft roll, pitch and yaw.

Dual Test Track: Learn how friction, drag, weight distribution, and gravity affect the design and operation of aircraft and other vehicles.

The area with the large blue foam blocks was like a free-play engineering playground.

The area with the large blue foam blocks was like a free-play engineering playground.

Innovation Station: Create inventions, environments, and activities with large scale foam blocks that encourage teamwork and imagination.  

Quake Table: Design structures and explore the phenomena of earthquakes and their effects.

The tennis ball launcher almost always had a wait on opening day. There's something making things airborne that draws a crowd.

The tennis ball launcher almost always had a wait on opening day. There’s something making things airborne that draws a crowd.

Tennis Ball Launcher: Explore the effects of gravity on different sized and massed objects.

Twin Air Blaster: Experience how airflow impacts aircraft design.

 

What else is for kids at the museum?

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb., is a must-visit if your kids are fascinated by airplanes and spacecraft.

The Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum in Ashland, Neb., is a must-visit if your kids are fascinated by airplanes and spacecraft.

The current temporary exhibit, “Energy Explorers,” is open until April 28, 2018 and is a great space for children.

If your kid loves planes, you’re set. This place has a ton of them, and many that you can peek inside. There’s also an area dedicated to Nebraska’s astronaut, Clayton Anderson, who’s from Ashland, Neb.

There are a few items that are an additional cost to admission, but can be a big hit with kids. When they were younger, it was the 50-cent rides. Now, they’re all about the flight simulators.

If you go

Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum

Where: 28210 West Park Highway, Ashland, Neb. (about 30 miles west of Omaha)

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., 7 days a week; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve; closed: New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving & Christmas

Cost: Adults, $12; senior citizens, military, $11; children (ages 4-12), $6; FREE for children aged 3 and younger

Extras: Fight simulators, 2D rides are $9 for members $10 for non-members, and 3D rides are $12 for members $13 for non-members.

Website 

 

2018 events

Here are a few of the upcoming events and programs offered at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. Find more events here, and explore the educational offerings here.

Feb. 10 – Tuskegee Airmen Event

Feb. 10 – Swing Under The Stars

Feb. 17 – Nebraska Robotics Expo

March 3 – Leprechaun Chase

March 10 – Spring Fling (this includes an Easter Egg hunt after eggs are dropped from a helicopter)

April 7 – War & Peace: A Centenary Celebration

April 21 – SciPop Interactive (hands-on activities on the science behind Harry Potter and comic book heroes)

May 19 – Behind the Scenes

May 26 – Helicopter Day

January 16, 2016

Museum Starts Family Night Extravaganza Series + Giveaway

Disclosure: Tickets for the giveaway are provided by Strategic Air & Space Museum. I was not compensated for this post. All thoughts on this post are my own.

The Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Neb., has a new series starting up geared toward families. The museum’s Education Department is launching the new Family Night Extravaganza series, starting on Feb. 6.

The Family Night Extravaganza Series at the Strategic Air & Space Museum begins in February.

The Family Night Extravaganza Series at the Strategic Air & Space Museum begins in February.

These new family nights sound like a good mix of fun and STEM. They’ll emphasize areas of science, technology, engineering, and math in a kid-friendly way.

Here are the details on the planned nights:

Family Fun Night Extravaganza (Feb. 6) – Experience behind-the-scenes with access to museum aircraft during an airplane crawl through. Younger visitors will get a chance to purchase rubber-band gliders and participate in a young aviators contest, A designated picnic area will be set up for families to enjoy their dinner. Guests may bring a picnic or order a box meal for $9.

Family Fun Night Extravaganza (July 23) – The museum will show a family-friendly aviation movie in its hangar B, so be sure to bring a blanket or lawn chairs. Guests are welcome to bring their own snacks or purchase concessions at the event. There will be space themed activities and planetarium shows included.

Family Fun Night Extravaganza (Nov. 12) – It’s engineering night at the museum. Guests will learn how to engineer and create things from ordinary household items. The evening includes fun activities and games, including a giant Jenga and giant chess.

 

If you go

Family Fun Night Extravaganza

When: Feb. 6, July 23 and Nov. 12 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Where: Strategic Air & Space Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland, Neb.

Cost: General admission applies, which is FREE for members, $12 for adults, $11 for seniors (65+) and military; $6 for children (4-12); FREE for kids 3 and younger. Parking is free.

Tip: Guests are invited to come to the museum as early as they want and stay through the evening. Visit the museum’s website at www.SASMuseum.com for more information.

 

Giveaway!

Want to two passes to the first Family Fun Night Extravaganza? Enter using the Rafflecopter form below – one winner will be randomly drawn on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 11:59 p.m. I will notify the winner via email; the winner needs to respond within 48 hours to claim the prize. Must be 18 or older to enter. Prize is valued at $24.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 19, 2013

Exploring Math Alive

I’m torn about the traveling exhibit at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Ashland, Neb. “Math Alive” is supposed to inspire kids about math using pretty cool interactive displays… and all I want to do is leave my kids at home so I don’t have to wait my turn at the snowboard game. If they’d made the climbing wall big enough for adults to use it, we parents would claim the exhibit “ours” and never bring the kids.

The climbing wall at "Math Alive" was too small for me... my only complaint.

The climbing wall at “Math Alive” was too small for me… my only complaint.

Alas, it is truly an exhibition designed to entertain and educate kids, and I’m not really that selfish.

You really ought to check it out before it ends on Jan. 5, 2014. The appeal is clear – it’s highly interactive with engaging graphics and hip pros celebrating math – from musicians to engineers to skaterboarders, math looks cool.

I visited the exhibit recently with a 2- and 4-year-old. Here’s my take-away:

Who’d like it

It’s engaging for all ages, but I’d say kids in grade school on up will get the most out of it. Take a look at the featured videos and interactive games. My kids tested a bicycle game and boardercross game. The instructions were over their head and they were just a tad too small to move the pedals, but they had fun doing what they could.

My kids perpetually wiping out while virtual snowboarding together.

My kids perpetually wiping out while virtual snowboarding together.

Obviously, if your child enjoys math, he or she will love it. The exhibit’s creators, though, went out of their way to make this appealing to the math challenged.

What’s the highlight?

My kids are attracted to bright lights, much like the common moth.

My kids are attracted to bright lights, much like the common moth.

Tough call. The kids’ were drawn to the adventure sports stuff like the snowboarding game and climbing wall, as well as anything that was flashing lights (which, let’s be honest, was a lot of stuff there). I would’ve liked to check out some of the stuff in the design area. The display that seemed to draw the most people to it was the 360-degree image generator. Twenty cameras take your picture from every angle while you strike a pose, and then the resulting image/video is emailed to you. I could’ve played studied the concept for 20 minutes had the kids stayed still long enough.

Why go

Fun with shadows at "Math Alive" at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Nebraska.

Fun with shadows at “Math Alive” at the Strategic Air & Space Museum in Nebraska.

According to the Math Alive website: The exhibition is designed to answer the age-old question: “Will I ever use all this math they’re teaching us?” Having an answer to that question is reason enough for me.

I say, if your kids used to love playing at the children’s museum but they think they’re too old for it now, they’d have a lot of fun here. If your kids are young and still enjoy the children’s museum, take them to this exhibit. And if you don’t have kids, check it out and play all the games you want there without guilt of wanting to nudge your child away from the screen so you can get a chance to play. (Sorry about that tiny rock wall, though, it’s just not for us).