Snow returns to center stage in Science Museum exhibits

Ian Bochynski, 7, of Clarence, experiments with changing the weather as he creates and directs wind at an interactive station, part of “The Zula Patrol” exhibit in the Buffalo Museum of Science.

Six years ago, the Buffalo Museum of Science turned the city’s reputation as a snow capital to its advantage by bringing out longignored, remarkable photographs of snowflakes shot by Wilson Bentley between 1885 and 1931.

Footprints in the snow leading to the museum door proved that embracing winter was a good idea.

In mid-November, the Humboldt Parkway institution went back to the well with “Snow,” an exhibition showcasing the natural science behind Western New York winters. Bentley’s pictures are the centerpiece.

Now a path has been shoveled for “The Zula Patrol: Mission Weather,” based on the popular animated children’s series seen locally on WNED’s ThinkBright channel.

The exhibition, which opened Friday, helps children explore the idea that weather is part of their world and the larger universe, said Mark Mortenson, museum president and chief executive officer.

“Mission Weather” consists of five free-standing, interactive stations in which youngsters join Zula’s colorful cartoon characters as they explore various atmospheric phenomena.

Professor Multo helps the children learn about clouds; Whizzy and Wigg, about wind; and Space Pilot Zeeter — with grudging help from Zula villains Dark Truder and Traxie — about extraterrestrial weather. Another station deals with temperature. And Multo’s Multopedia lets visitors scroll through video clips of various weather phenomena.

“Zula Patrol” was the brainchild of audiologist-turned-educator Deborah M. Manchester, who also created the traveling weather exhibition “because it is crucial to get kids interested in science at an early age” and may serve as a catalyst “for a science-minded future.”

(read entire article)

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