3rd annual Inland Empire Science Festival made its mark!

Western Science Center hosts event for science-loving youth

Photos by Elyse Askari/The Valley Chronicle
The Western Science Center houses plenty of intriguing exhibits for Dinosaur fanatics young and old, and all were on display at the 3rd annual Inland Empire Science Festival!

■ By Elyse Askari / Reporter

The San Jacinto Valley played host once again to the 3rd annual Science Festival hosted at Hemet’s famed Western Science Center (WSC). Southern California colleges sent out their most promising representatives to give the kids and teens of the valley a taste of what their future in the sciences could hold. Sponsored by Millipore Sigma, the WSC opened its magnificent doors to the public on Saturday to showcase their extensive supply of exhibits, both ancient and modern.
Upon walking through the grand front entrance, one is met with the WSC’s interpretation of the aging of the earth; students and adults walked to the ticket booth where a backdrop of fossilized rock layers piqued interest.

University of California, Riverside was just one of the many colleges with student reps who shared their love for geology. (From left to right: Jess, Rachel, Chris)

It was quite the sight to see, especially as one weaved through the tall, grand hallways and passed tables set up with several colleges’ best exhibits for the Science Festival, interspersed at different locations throughout the WSC.
One table, covered with rock exhibits and miniature fossilized animals, was run by Brett Dooley, a teacher the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, and was surrounded by youngsters readily intrigued by the ancient bones and naturally fluorescent crystals.
Representatives from the Alf Museum of Paleontology boasted their own exhibit featuring footprints, bones, and the explanations as to how those fossils came to be. The University of California, Riverside, also had its own display, run by representatives Jess, Rachel, and Chris. Their crystal and minerals exhibit definitely turned quite a few heads.

Some exhibits in the Western Science Center need to be seen to be believed as their stature and realness leave guests in awe, like the “Giant Sloth” exhibit.

And the valley’s own Mt. San Jacinto College made its own appearance with Helayna, an anthropology major at MSJC, as well as Christian and Heather, who simply find the subject extremely intriguing. All took their love for human development and displayed it in their presentations of scientifically reconstructed human skulls and what these bones look like with different sorts of injuries; an attention grabber for all who visited their table.
And then there were the Western Center Academy’s own students, who set up stations in the Immersion Theater and Lecture Hall, where guests attempted to solve engaging mathematical equations and scientific scenarios before a backdrop of rock-layered walls.
Even the little ones were kept busy filling out the scavenger map they received at check in, which came complete with stops at each of the festival’s tables and observations of several of the WSC’s exhibits, including Max the Mastodon – an impressive creature that indisputably wowed the crowd who found themselves at his exhibit.

The beautiful entryway of the Western Science Center adds the “wow” factor to first time guests as they travel through the Center’s interpretation of Earth’s development.

Snacks were available outside: popcorn, shaved ice, and other classic carnival foods were the perfect midday treat as music wafted through the mountain breeze, making sure the whole valley knew that there was definitely something exciting going on at the WSC on that fine Saturday afternoon!
The Western Science Center also hosts numerous summer camps for kids K-12, as well as for adults interested in forensic anthropology. Curiosity and exploration of the past and present seem to be emanating from the fossilized walls at the WSC, so whether it’s a summer camp or a day trip, make sure you or your child’s natural inquisitiveness does not go unattended!

Alf Museum representatives had its own booth, where fossils, footprints and more were explained. (From left to right: Andy, Gabe, Billy)

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