The Shadowgard Museum of Science and Technology
1000 State Avenue

First established in 1960, the Shadowgard Museum of Science and Technology is a vast brick, steel and glass structure that sits on a spacious plot of land on the bank of the Baldwin River. The facility has been renovated and expanded repeatedly, such that it has become one of the most advanced, popular and user-friendly science museums in the country. The museum's interior holds a number of permanent exhibits relating to general areas of scientific and popular interest, ranging from paleontology and the specific study of dinosaurs, to such areas as archaeology, health sciences, computer science, astronomy and more. It also has four galleries of varying sizes for traveling exhibits, two lecture halls, a full computer lab, an IMAX theater, a food court and a day care/playspace facility for museum staff and visitors.

Of particular note is the museum's exhibit on the history of electricity, which contains a vast array of flashy curiosities, including Tesla coils, Van de Graff generators, and a number of other items that even the most well-versed electrical engineers are unable to identify. Naturally, theories and wild notions abound; the items are said to be zero-cost generators, death rays, machines to cure any and all diseases...anything and everything one could imagine. Most of these theories are considered patently ridiculous, but the museum continues to turn down requests to study the items in greater detail, officially preferring to maintain the aura of mystery and wonder that surrounds them. Nevertheless, every year, vast numbers of brilliant, self-assured young science students march through the aisles of the collection, sketching and documenting the artifacts as best they can, hoping to find them in the annals of scientific history.

The outlying areas of the museum grounds feature a number of other interesting exhbits and show. A spacious planetarium sits just to the west of the museum proper, offering something for all ages -- daytime shows offering basic astronomy lessons to younger children, afternoon and evening shows outlining the latest discoveries in more complex scientific language, and late-night laser shows set to pounding rock music. Then there's the observatory, on the northeast corner of the property, which offers state-of-the-art stargazing and special astronomy presentations after sunset until late into the night; the museum has even bought out some adjacent properties to try and mute the light levels in the immediate area. In addition to these features, there's a large outdoor collection of hands-on exhibits known as the Science Garden, including such displays as a massive system of pulleys and levers allowing visitors to lift a car, "whisper discs" that transmit sound from one to the other across the whole of the garden, and more. Last but far from least, there's the Dinosaur Jungle, a huge greenhouse containing set of life-sized fiberglass statues of various dinosaurs set among an extensive collection of plants that have survived from the Jurassic and Cretaceous eras.

General admission to the museum, which includes access to all permanent exhibits, the computer lab, the Dinosaur Jungle and the Science Garden, costs $23.50 for adults, $17 for high school and college students with valid I.D., and $12 for children 14 and under. Admission for children younger than 3 is free, though parents are encouraged to stick to exhibits geared toward younger children or take them to the playspace, which costs $20 for parent/child admission and $55 for half a day of supervised care. The temporary exhibits, lectures, and the observatory's stargazing sessions and presentations cost varying amounts, decided on a case-by-case basis; some traveling exhibits and lectures are free with general admission, while others require timed tickets purchased separately. Most of the IMAX shows cost $13.50 for adults, $10 for students and $7.50 for children; while the planetarium shows cost $8.50 per seat for matinees, $13.50 for afternoon and evening shows, and $12 for laser shows.

In addition to the various exhibits, outlying areas, planetarium and other such facilities, the museum offers a number of sleepovers and day camps throughout the spring and summer to children throughout Shadowgard, charging varying fees depending upon the extent of the services and amenities offered. A typical sleepover with adult supervision, activities and guided nighttime tours might cost $40 per child, while a three-week day camp including meals and activities would cost between $500 and $800. The museum's facilities can also be rented out for birthday parties, private sleepovers and other such events, at a general cost of $35 to $50 per child; the supervision of at least one museum worker for every four children is included in this fee, and is in fact mandatory for liability reasons.