Kid’s Corner: Ecolab

Meteorologist Katie Dupree takes us to the Ecolab in the Science Museum of Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — There’s a lot buzz around the interactive Ecolab at the Science Museum of Virginia. Peek inside the beehive to see the secret life of bees. They’re hard at work forming a colony, making honey and honeycomb. The bees come and go from the building. Chuck English, director of Playful Learning at the museum says, “If you look at the tunnel inside you can actually see some of them come in with pollen on their legs.”

You’ll even spot the queen bee – she’s the heart and soul of the colony. Without her – no one else can survive. Along with taking care of her, the bees also help the local environment by helping to pollinate flowers. And those flowers provide pollen for the bees to survive.

“They do travel far enough that they do take advantage of a lot of the local flora and fauna around the area, they’re traveling a pretty good distance,” English said.

The beehive isn’t the only cool attraction in the Ecolab. Kids can get hands-on with microscopes. They can see what’s in our local environment and our own backyards.

“Occasionally we get water samples from around the area and we look in those water samples and try to discover what kind of invertebrates are in the water, and that lets us know if a stream is really healthy, really good, or if it’s not as healthy and we might need to take a look at that,” English said.

And for the kids that aren’t squeamish.

”When the tarantula molts that actually the most entertaining for the kids….to bring in the exoskeleton, and look at the hairs, look at everything, because they actually pop out and it actually looks like almost a second tarantula,” English explained.

The Ecolab is just one of the hands-on exhibits at the museum. It’s a fun way to discover different subjects and start conversations about our environment.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to be the scientists and explore and see what it’s really like themselves. So hopefully we’re inspiring the next environmental scientists,” he said.

The Science Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays from 11:30 a.m to 5 p.m.

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