by Michele Williams
If you’re looking for something educational, interactive and fun to do, consider visiting the Greensboro Science Center. The non-profit organization focuses on expansion, education, conservation and improvement. The addition of 12 acres to the existing zoo is just one example of the Center’s commitment to growth.
May 2021 marked the completion of the zoo’s expansion. Plantings, climate-controlled enclosures, and access to the outdoors are all part of the effort to care for and preserve animals from extinction. Animals from all over the world are placed in enclosures that mimic their natural habitats. Mesh enclosures provide visitors with greater visibility of the animals while walkways and plantings enhance the feel of being in the wild.
Included in the renovations and expansion, the zoo built an on-site hospital that seeks to provide transparency. A visit to the animal hospital offers the opportunity to observe a treatment, procedure, or surgery on one of the animals. Interns from the Carolinas and other nearby universities learn and study the Greensboro Science Center animals as part of their curriculum.
This zoo and hospital accompanies the enclosures and attractions as a way to heal and rehabilitate the animals located on the property. The breeding program is a large part of the Greensboro Science Center’s focus. As an accredited member of the Association Of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Center is part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which oversees population management of select species within AZA institutions.
A handicap-accessible treehouse overlooking the flamingo pond is one of the best places to go when children want to play and unwind. At the science center and zoo, visitors can meet maned wolves, ring-tailed lemurs, howler monkeys, Sumatran tigers, Aldabra tortoises, and meerkats on the Zoo Trek. For a colder environment, check out the Behind the Scenes Penguin Encounter. The Penguin Encounter allows visitors to participate in food prep and interact with the penguins in the exhibit.
The Dinosaur Gallery is an interactive experience. Displays of dinosaurs surround a room with kiosks that educate visitors and children with holograms in an appealing and fun way. Within this section of the science center, visitors and children can interact with videos and climbing structures or take a walk to the lower level to look at reptiles, tarantulas, and scorpions. If a staff member is present, you might get to pet one of the reptiles or spiders.
Access to the OmniSphere Theater is included in the admission price and plays full dome and 3D movies. Dream to Fly, Astronaut, Wildest Weather in the Solar System, and Black Holes are some of the rotating shows. There’s a small fee to gain access to the evening laser shows. The music of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica are examples of previous laser show programs.
Species from all over the world find a home at the Greensboro Science Center. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans are both represented. Within the tanks, you’ll see sharks, eels, sea horses, and an octopus or two. Exotic species can also be found in the aquarium. Interactive kiosks educate visitors about sea life swimming in front of them. In the Aquarium Adventure, guests can view the Shark Reef Tank from different angles and at the tidal pools, you can feed the cownose stingrays a treat.
Skywild is a fun and exhilarating obstacle course through the trees. It provides a spectacular view of the park during the winter months and a welcome break from the sun in the summer. There are beginner obstacle courses for those with less experience and more advanced courses for risk takers.
The science center also offers a wide variety of after-school, homeschool, and pre-k classes for students ages 3-14. All classes and camp programs involve hands-on interaction with animals, science, and art within the science center and zoo. They’re also designed according to each age group’s interests and ability.
The holiday season begins in November when the entire science center glows with colorful lights. Dancing fountains, the Peppermint Path, and Woodland Wonders are just a few of the sights included in the seasonal lineup.
The Rotary Club Of Greensboro Carousel
Housed in a building at the far end of the parking lot is a carousel—delight in riding on carousel animals represented in the zoo. Animals from the farm and the wild are beautifully depicted. Choose your favorite animal and take a ride.
The Greensboro Science Center offers drinks and lite fares at the Meerkat Cafe. You may bring a picnic lunch to enjoy at tables outside the science center, or at the designated area on the lower level inside the building.
Events are held throughout the year to support the Conservation Fund. Pajama Jam, Brews & Bubbles, and the Tuxedo 5K Run for the Penguins are all fun ways to connect with the community and further the Center’s mission statement: to preserve species and habitats.
*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 events are virtual.
The Gateway Project
The Greensboro Science Center is not stopping with the expansion of the zoo. The CEO, Glenn Dobrogosz, enthusiastically describes the next ten years as a time for growth that will produce an intermingling of art and science. Dobrogosz imagines a promenade along the adjacent Greensboro Country Lake with artists, vendors, and music to create a destination and attractions that entice visitors from near and far. The vision is to create an atmosphere of learning through immersion, accessibility, and discovery.
Greensboro Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27455 | 336-288-3768
Check the website for updates on the Center’s COVID-19 guidelines.