Snowville a hit with young and old alike at Columbia’s EdVenture

EdVenture gives visitors a taste of the real thing

11/25/2012 12:03 AM

11/30/2012 10:08 PM

Five-year-old Mack Lyons was having a great time sliding down the 25-foot long slide at EdVenture’s Snowville in Columbia on Saturday.

So much so that his father, also named Mack, decided to give it a go.

“Alright, I’m going down,” he said.

The Ridgeville resident marched to the top of the slide, and, like the line of children behind him, waited until it was his turn.

“I like it,” he said later, holding his son’s hand. “It’s fast.”

One of the newest features of the revamped seasonal exhibit, the slide was a big hit Saturday with children and parents alike. Now in its fifth year, Snowville is back and better than before, officials with the children’s museum say.

“It’s definitely the most popular place in the museum right now,” said EdVenture’s manager on duty, Ben Hawfield.

Last year, the exhibit took the year off while staff members made changes and added new features such as a carpeted hockey rink and, of course, the bigger, more adult-friendly slide. The original, smaller-scale slide is still there but appears to have been taken over by toddlers.

In addition to the thrill of tubing, visitors to the exhibit learn about polar bears, Mount Everest and the Arctic, then have a chance to hurl snowballs at each other.

Many on Saturday said it may be their only chance to glimpse the real thing this season.

“It lets them have just a little taste of snow,” said Elizabeth Hunt, of Cayce. Hunt and her husband, Paul, were watching their grandchildren, Anna, 11, and Ian, 8, of Lexington, exchange shots at the snowball blaster.

After the exhibit and a bite to eat, the group was heading downtown to Columbia’s newly opened “Main Street Ice.” EdVenture’s public programs coordinator, Jessica Baldwin, thought the outdoor ice skating rink tie-in was a good idea.

The exhibit and its adjunct programs are not only fun but educational, she said.

Young visitors, for example, are shown how marshmallows dipped in liquid nitrogen, one of the coldest substances on the planet, can turn rock solid. Another demonstration shows how to grow fake snow by adding water to a polymer.

“It’s really kind of cool to have snow grow right in your hand,” she said. “And that doesn’t happen outside.”

Reach Lucas at (803) 771-8657.

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