EL PASO — After being dark and dormant for two years the Insights Science Center at its new home in El Paso’s Segundo Barrio is again delighting children with amazing experiments such as a sparking tesla coil that glows in the dark.
“We’re letting people know that we’re here and that we are surviving again, you know we are here. And that we are going to make it better than it was,” said Jerry Jaurrieta, Insights’ floor manager.
Open to the public for a month now, the center is once again providing hands-on science education; a tradition now 35 years strong. Their former location, which was made especially for the museum was demolished to make room for Southwest University Park, home of the El Paso Chihuahuas, in downtown El Paso. Now, just minutes away, it has relocated at Alamo Elementary School, 521 Tays Street.
What started out as a storage area developed enough potential for a future permanent home. There was enough space for exhibits and growth.
“As people actually learn that we are open. We’ve been having, a good flow of people coming through,” Jaurrieta said.
As you enter the museum, the main floor is located in the old Alamo gym, leading in with hand-made interactive pipes that allow children in the community to experiment with sound and music.
Jaurrieta’s favorite exhibit is the “Pierce Fire Academy” fire truck. The exhibit consists of an interactive fire truck in which children can wear firefighter suits and pretend to drive the fire truck. “Its one of our the newest exhibits that we have and also its very bright,” Jaurreta said. “Custom built for the children of El Paso,” is engraved on the steering wheel of the fire truck.
Eight-year-old Dali Estrada agrees the exhibit is one of the favorites. “ A lot of my friends play with me, we pretend were firefighters and pretend were driving. Its pretty fun.”
Children, like Estrada, are participating in Insights’ summer camps, enjoying the museum and learning how everything works. The center allows some students to find their future passion. Although the fire truck is her favorite exhibit, being a first responder isn’t what she wants to do in the future.“ I want to be an Engineer that makes computers,” Estrada said.
Former NASA astronaut and mechanical engineer, Danny Olivas, didn’t make computers but made his mark out of this world. His exhibit includes his memorial trophies, desk where he studied, and letterman jacket. Jaurrieta says the set up depicts Olivas’ room as a teen in hopes of inspiring other children’s dreams. Olivas’ space suit is placed in the museum next to his room to represent his success.
“Once you actually know that a child came in here and learned something and we were able to please all of their necessities,” Jaurrieta said.
Because the museum is now located in a low-income community, it has started to provide summer scholarships that allow students to visit for free and participate in summer camps.
“We do offer scholarships. We have offered scholarships to the children in here in this community and not only the children in this community, but children in all of El Paso,” Jaurrieta said.
For any information or to get you or your children involved with insights visit their website at www.insightselpaso.org. They are open Monday-Thursday from 9-4 and on weekends; Fridays they’re closed; Saturdays 9-4, and Sundays 12-4.