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Discovery World Science + Technology Center

Hi, I'm Boop! I'm the Discovery World Spokesturtle.

Discovery World Shut Down Until at Least April 1st. Probably Longer.

I'm a three-toed box turtle. I'm five years old, and I've lived at Discovery World for about four years.

As you know, Discovery World is shut down to help stop the spread of the new Coronavirus. All the animals miss you, but we're doing fine. The aquarists here are doing an awesome job taking care of all of us. And they are posting videos and pictures of us on Instagram and other social media places.

And because Discovery World is not your ordinary, workaday, run-of-the-mill, garden-variety science center, I am your new spokesperson. Spokesturtle? Spokesturtle! It's a big job, but I'm up for the challenge.

Did you see the penguin tour of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago? That was cool! Maybe they'll let me tour the Reiman Aquarium here at Discovery World. That would be fun to watch, right? Especially if you have, like, 11 hours. I'm adorable, but I am a turtle.

Anyway, they asked me to say a few words about what's going on and what's coming up. Normally we'd have Weekend Workshops and fun events and a really great Kohl's Design It! Lab menu of projects for you. None of that is happening now. 

Here's what is happening. We're still closed, and we will be for a while. We are monitoring the situation. And the situation, as they say, is fluid. We were scheduled to reopen on April 1st, but that will probably change. 

In the meantime, you can still visit us online. We have cameras in two of the Reiman Aquarium tanks now. You can watch the turtles (my really big friends!) and the fish in the Lake Michigan tank on the Discovery World website. 

We'll be posting projects and experiments and all kinds of interesting things for you and your family to do while we all stay home and do that social distancing thing. I bet social distancing is really hard. Us turtles love to hang out together. Have you ever seen a stack of turtles? We love to climb on top of each other - three or four or five of us - and just bask in the sun. For hours. It's glorious.  

We miss you, and we can't wait to see you again! We hope you're staying safe and healthy. Get outside if you can. I go for turtle walks outside when it's warm. I can't wait until it's warm! Wash your hands. 

Be Well,


Saturday Is Galactic Tick Day!

Saturday, March 21 | All Day

Okay, so we thought that Galileo invented the telescope. He did not.

An eyeglass maker from the Netherlands named Hans Lippershey filed the first patent for the telescope back on October 2, 1608. Telescopes may have existed before that, and Lippershey might not have come up with the idea entirely on his own.

Zacharias Janssen, a glassmaker who lived in the same town, claimed that he had invented the telescope and that Lippershey stole his design. Engineer Jacob Metius (also from the Netherlands) claimed that he had invented the telescope. Regardless, Lippershey filed the first patent and is generally considered the inventor of the telescope. Or at least a co-inventor.

Galileo heard about this newfangled invention, made improvements, and then decided to be the first person to point a telescope up at the stars. 

So what is Galactic Tick Day?

It takes the Earth one Earth year to make one complete orbit around the Sun. That's what a year is. It's slightly more complicated than that, which is why we have Leap Years and why spring started yesterday instead of today. Anyway, you knew that already.

The sun (and the Earth and the entire solar system) orbits the black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy at a speed of 515,000 miles per hour. Yes, the Earth rotates at about 1,000 miles per hour. We orbit the sun at roughly 67,000 miles per hour. And we're orbiting the center of the galaxy at over half a million miles per hour. That's fast. Sort of.

The Milky Way galaxy is really, really big. Even though we are hurtling through space (it's a controlled hurtling) at 515,000 miles per hour, it takes 225 million years to complete one galactic orbit.

So what's a Galactic Tick?

It is not the star-devouring, parasitic space-arachnid hiding behind the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. No one really knows what that thing is.

A Galactic Tick is 1/129,000,000 of the sun's journey around the center of the galaxy.

Galactic Tick Day celebrates the time it takes for the sun to complete one centi-arcsecond of that orbit. A degree is 1/60 of a 360 degree turn, an arcsecond is 1/3600 of a degree, and a centi-arcsecond is 1/100 of that.

The sun (and the Earth and the entire solar system) completes one Galactic Tick every 1.7 years. 

And what does this have to do with Hans Lippershey? The creator of Galactic Tick Day, a software engineer from San Francisco, chose the day by counting intervals of 1.7 years from the day that Hans Lippershey filed his patent for the telescope back in 1608. The first Galactic Tick Day took place in 2016. The next will be in 2022. 

The idea of Galactic Tick Day is to celebrate human curiosity, invention, and discovery. And to remind us that the Universe is a really, really big place.

On Saturday night, if the sky is clear, take a moment to look up and out at the Universe. We're all moving through it, one centi-arcsecond at a time.

Happy Galactic Tick Day

Follow the Kohl's Design It! Lab on Instagram

Happening Now!

If you are looking for interesting and inspiring projects to keep your kids engaged during the pandemic (not a sentence we'd ever thought we'd have to type out, but here we are), follow the Kohl's Design! Lab on Instagram.

The first Design Challenge is a Rube Goldberg Contraption inspired by the Rube Goldberg Contraption Competition that we hosted here 17-years ago. Wait, no. Two weeks ago. It was two weeks ago. Wow.

Anyway, a Rube Goldberg Contraption is a machine designed to accomplish a simple task in the most ridiculously complicated way possible. 

For this challenge there must be at least three steps. For example, you roll a car down a track or a tube, the car hits a series of dominos, the dominoes topple over. The transfer of energy from the car to the dominoes is one step. 

Use materials that you already have at home to complete your challenge. Your recycling bin usually has some interesting stuff!

And share your creations with us! We'd love to see them.

There will be many more challenges and projects in the upcoming weeks. 

Follow the KDIL Team on Instagram!