This summer we spent a couple of days exploring Sudbury in Northeastern Ontario, the famous Big Nickel! When the giant meteorite struck 1.85 billion years ago in the Sudbury region, it had created an ore-bearing impact structure, one of the world's most famous geological features. This is why this region has one of the largest concentrations of mines in the world. We loved exploring two famous attractions, the Science North and Dynamic Earth, as well as other family fun attractions in the area.
Science North is an attraction dedicated for visitors of all ages to learn all about science through hands-on activities and interactive displays. We like how Science North is designed with a ramp that goes from the first floor to the fourth floor; we can get our steps in without climbing stairs and it is easy for those in wheelchairs and strollers.
On the first floor, there is a cute Toddler's Treehouse with a small play area. At the entrance of the second floor there are lots of insects in displays, where the blue coat staff let visitors touch and learn about these amazing insects, this was similar to our experience at Entomica in Sault Ste. Marie. We liked seeing the different insects and learning about them at the Nature Exchange.
The second floor is home to the F. Jean MacLean Butterfly Gallery, a small space simulating a tropical atmosphere with exotic plants, tropical finches, and butterflies. We weren't able to spot as many different species of butterflies as we expected. The information outside of the gallery taught us fascinating facts about these insects. For example, did you know that butterflies have senses of taste, sight, hearing, and smell, but not in the same way as us.
In the third floor, there is a Nocturnal room with bats and access for the animal ambassador Drifter, the beaver that has half a tail as he had lost the other half to frostbite before being brought to Science North.
There are other animals related to the Northern Ecosystem of Wetland, Forests, Lakes and Rivers with displays of snakes, turtles, frogs, flying squirrels, animal ambassadors such as Saunders the skunk, and Quillan the porcupine.
It was really cool to see the bees here, as they were able to go in and out of a tube to collect pollen and come back to their hive which is displayed through a glass so we can take a closer look at them in action. They have organized various scheduled activities at the Forest Lab for visitors to meet the different animals in this floor.
They have a variety of shows at the Discovery Theatre. We were able to watch a couple of different shows; one about space and the other about flying squirrels. It was our first time seeing a Flying squirrel native to Ontario in action and learn cool facts of these cute and special squirrels. Check this short video to see them in action, they are only about the size of an adult's hand.
The Science North has lots of fun exhibits that you will not realize how quickly time goes by, especially in the fourth floor that had opened earlier this year. There are different tools on this floor to spark our curiosity to explore.
We loved testing our ideas, learning how things work and challenging ourselves! This floor has different zones about Space, Speed Park, The BodyZone, and Data Base.
The exhibits encourage us to experiment with physical phenomena, engineering challenges, and tinkering. There are experiments involving light and sound, magnetism, math, coding, and building using scientific method, design thinking, and creative approaches to problem-solving, and much more.
We can also experience first-hand how the astronauts feel in the human gyroscope.
We got to do a few hands on activities such as using a wood burning tool and pixel art to take home.
Once we passed the tunnel area, we went into the Cavern, where we watched a superb film about forest fires in Ontario and how they are put out. There were special effects as we watched the film in 3D.
Before coming into check the four floors in the Science North we passed by the IMAX Theatre, the gift shop, the Planetarium, and Elements Food Court. We visited the Special Exhibit Hall where the Body Worlds RX exhibit will be running until the labour day long weekend.
When we walked into this exhibit it felt overwhelming because of the visuals of how the human body looks inside, but as we walked further in, we learned a lot of facts about how to keep our bodies healthy and pathways to healthy living including eight secrets to longevity.
1. Less is more - eat food low in meat and animal fat and eat until 80% full to maintain a daily intake of 1900 calories.
2. Eat a rainbow - diet rich with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants eating vegetables and fruits, fish and seaweed, soy and tofu.
3. Exercise and motion - walking several miles a day, exercising regularly, tending to livestock and vegetable gardens.
4. Life long learning and engaging with the world - social activities and volunteering.
5. Mean something to someone - relationships across generations help with wellbeing.
6. A purposeful life - important roles in the communities doing passionate things and using talents.
7. The curative power of nature - Taking a walk, praying, meditating, and doing other activities to get rid of stress.
8. Optimism - happy go lucky personality and developing coping mechanisms to help with hard things in life.
On the second day of our trip, we spent about 5 hours at Dynamic Earth, it really showcases how special Sudbury is! We were marvelled by the different minerals found on earth, and the hard work that goes into mining.
We learned about how mining works, the tools, types of minerals mined at Sudbury, lots of facts especially about copper and nickel which they mine the most.
Nickel is used in coinage throughout the world because it can withstand the minting process that involves melting, casting, rolling, blanking, and striking. Since it is malleable, it can be struck to show fine details. Nickel does not rust, and coins made of pure nickel maintain their brilliance over long periods of time. It is the only metal used in coinage that is magnetic, and because of its high melting point it is difficult to counterfeit. In some coins there is a nickel alloy combination of 75% copper and 25% nickel is used to produce a consistent colour-stable coin at a modest cost; when nickel is mixed with other metals it adds strength and corrosion resistance to the coins.
We loved our experience of the underground tour to see the footsteps of Sudbury's Miners. We went down seven storeys, 21 metres or 70 feet, and walked around the demonstration mine with hard hats on to discover the evolution of mining and to learn about how it was done in the 1800s, 1900s, and the present day.
Getting the guided tour of the mine was a really cool experience. We liked seeing how the technology and innovation has changed, where lots of equipment are used for hard and unsafe jobs that were once done by humans. We liked testing out mining equipment simulators and discovering the science of how mining works.
The tour lasted about an hour and fifteen minutes. Since the temperature is about 13 degrees Celsius, it is best to wear sturdy footwear and a jacket when going on this tour. While in the elevator going down, we got to see an introduction video.
If you want to post something at the underground postbox, purchase a postcard at the Sales Centre. Taking the tour and experiencing being underground in a mine is a memorable experience.
The Big Nickel is a famous "selfie spot". It is an accurate replica of Canada's 1951 five cent coin designed by artist Stephen Trenka and produced by the Royal Canadian Mint to recognize the 200th anniversary of the identification of nickel as an element. Swedish scientist Axel Cronstedt identified nickel in 1751.
Canada has been supplying the world's most nickel, and it was an important resource for the Allies in World War II as it was an essential part of the armour plating of every military vehicle from tanks to ships to planes. The reverse side is the portrait of King George VI, the monarch at that time. This replica was built in 1964 by local Sudburian Ted Szilva.
Many of the rocks in the Sudbury area used to be light grey, however most of the rocks now have a distinctive black surface as the rocks were stained black by early smelter emissions that contained sulphur dioxide and metal particulate. When moisture in the air mixes with sulphur dioxide it forms acid rain that has corroded the rock, also creating a thin gel like layer that has trapped metal particulate forming the black coating. During early emissions the light grey rocks were protected by soil.
The Outdoor Science Park features large-scale exhibits and science themed interactive structures such as large "slag" slide, Scooptram underground loader, climbing structure, Sand Pit Zone, and more where visitors of all ages can have fun. We liked the surrounding view from the top as well.
The exhibits are interactive with hands-on activities and educational films that are fun and knowledgable.
Science North and Dynamic Earth are two attractions you would want to keep an ample amount of time to visit while in Sudbury!
Disclosure: This post is created in partnership with Sudbury Tourism. Please note that all opinions and thoughts expressed are my own. All rights reserved on photographs and written content Createwithmom © 2010 - 2019. Please Ask First