Wonder

All Science Begins with Wonder

There’s no such thing as too young for Science World. Wonder provides a safe, stimulating space designed exclusively for visitors aged 0 to 5 and their caregivers. Whether they like playing with water, sand, or lights, the youngest scientists will discover something they love in the Wonder Gallery.

We collaborated with child-development experts in the creation of Wonder, helping to design a place where children can do what they do best: learn through play!

Caregivers will be happy to know that we’ve included a quiet room for nursing moms seeking privacy and for children who need a little down time. As well, there’s a child-friendly washroom, with quiet hand dryers and child-size amenities.

The World Of Wonder Has Six Fun-Filled Areas

Experiment focuses on asking questions and searching for answers, something both young children and scientists do. At its core is Wonder Wheels, our vehicle of science. The interior houses a variety of  laboratory-style experiments, where children can ask questions and test their own theories in simple lab activities. Children can experiment with role-playing at the vehicle front, where three steering wheels, bench seating, materials, tools and costumes, allow them to take the wheel and take part in some cooperative pretend-play. Outside the vehicle caregivers and their children can explore self-directed ‘Wonder Boxes’ or participate in staff-led activities.

When your child is playing in the EXPERIMENT area….

Children and their parents can work together on a variety of tabletop activities, experiments, and projects in the Wonder Bus. Scientists and young children share similar curiosities about the world, and often question what they observe. In the Science Lab space in the Wonder Bus, children can use age-appropriate scientific tools and participate in rotating activities. When they explore the Wonder Boxes, children can ask and answer their own questions by making observations and simple measurements in an array of self-guided activities.

Parents can learn more about their child’s development in the Parent Resources area, and gain a better understanding of the research methods used and questions addressed in developmental studies. This area is designed to help parents learn that their own attitudes about science affect the way they engage their children in science.

What does the research say?

A science-positive atmosphere is a fundamental component of children’s continued science education success. In fact, children are more confident in science-based activities when they practice science concepts with their parents at home.

Parents tend to interpret science exhibits more for sons than for daughters when visiting science centers, suggesting that parents’ implicit gendered attitudes about science may be promoting a gender gap in children’s later scientific pursuits.

Children are curious and explore their environments to gather more information much like scientists do. They create and test “theories in action.”  In fact, child-driven exploration can be more beneficial to learning and discovery than adult-guided instruction, especially when playing with new toys that have hidden functions. Explicit instructions limit children’s exploration with new toys.

Play is learning. High-quality pretend play can influence the development of perspective-taking and problem-solving abilities in children, and it has also been associated with increased linguistic ability as well as higher-level cognitive skills.

Stroller Parking

In order to maximize your experience and minimize obstructions, we have made Wonder a stroller-free gallery. Limited stroller parking is available near the entrance to Wonder. Please note that this parking is not monitored. We encourage you to bring only what is necessary for your visit, keep valuables with you at all times, and consider getting a wheel lock for your stroller.

Rentable lockers are available near the Wonder Gallery, for $1 per use. If your child requires a stroller for mobility purposes, please use the wheelchair entry to the right of the main gallery entrance. A staff member will be happy to assist you.

Universal Accessibility in Wonder

Most of Wonder is accessible to visitors with wheelchairs or other mobility devices. There are just three exhibits with a reduced level of accessibility:

  • The Mess Pit area has a step (4 inches high), which may be accessible with assistance.
  • The Experiment Vehicle cab has stairs with a handrail, which may be accessible with assistance.
  • The Climber, by the nature of the activity it promotes, is less accessible. However, it includes a tunnel for children with some limited mobility and ground-floor activities for children not able to climb.

See theWonder Mobility Map for a detailed picture of accessibility, for visitors with mobility challenges.

For general mobility access information for Science World, please see our Universal Accessibility page.

For general information on accessibility to Science World (including parking and service animals) please visit our Accessibility page, or call 604.443.7440.