If you're planning to take your family to Dynamic Earth soon, there's now more for you to see than just the Big Nickel, indoor exhibits and underground tour, as if that weren't enough.
That's because the science centre has just opened its new, 1,500-square-metre outdoor science park.
The earth science-themed playground features full-size mining equipment alongside science-themed interactive structures.
That includes a slide designed to look like something familiar to anyone from Sudbury — a slag dump — as well as a rock xylophone, a teeter-totter-like structure that moves like a seismic wave and more.
The play area also offers an unusual view.
“You know what I think is really cool here is you see the back end of the Big Nickel,” said Dynamic Earth senior manager Julie Moskalyk. “Nobody ever sees that. You usually only see the front end.”
The outdoor science park was part of a $3-million expansion and renewal initiative at Dynamic Earth that began in 2014.
The upgrades also included an enhanced underground experience, improvements to the Nickel City Stories object theatre and new hands-on exhibits.
The funds for the renos came from all three levels of government, as well as the J.P. Bickell Foundation and in-kind equipment donations from Atlas Copco, Vale, Kal Tire and Rainbow Concrete.
All four of the city's MPs and MPPs, two city councillors, federal Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan and even Nobel Prize winner Art McDonald gathered at Dynamic Earth Aug. 19 for the outdoor science park's official opening.
“Today we are celebrating what can be accomplished when all levels of government work together with community partners,” said Duncan, who's in town ahead of the Liberal caucus' retreat in Sudbury this weekend.
“Here it's the goal of promoting science to citizens of every age and in every corner of the country.
“This incredible science park will enable young people and their parents to learn about Sudbury and Northern Ontario's landscape together. Through play, they will develop a better understanding of science and history of mining, and how it has shaped this region.”
Guy Labine, CEO of Dynamic Earth and its larger sister attraction, Science North, said renewal is important to keep tourists coming to the science centres.
“It's necessary for Science North and Dynamic Earth to have continuous change in the visitor experience, boosting tourism in Greater Sudbury by encouraging first time and repeat visits, and extending the length of stay,” he said.
Labine joked that usually the science centres want rain, as that's when people visit indoor attractions.
Thanks to the new outdoor science park, Dynamic Earth visitors can enjoy the nice weather while learning, he said.
Referring to McDonald's accomplishments, Labine said it's his hope young visitors to the science centres might grow up to become tomorrow's science and technology leaders, or even Nobel laureates.
Admission to the outdoor science park is included as part of the Dynamic Earth general admission ticket and is free for Science North members.
The hours of operation are the same as the science centre, and will be open seven days a week until Sept. 25. Visit sciencenorth.ca for ticket information.