Reflections on Adventure Science Center
Stories collected from visitors to celebrate 75 years of exceptional experiences
Nashville’s Director of Metro Parks, Monique Odom, reflects back on her time as a child visiting the science center (then known as Cumberland Museum and Science Center) and why her experiences led her to make new memories with her son. (Spanish captions can be found here.)
Dr. Alex Jahangir, current Chair of Nashville’s COVID-19 Task Force, talks about how his experience as a youth volunteer at Adventure Science Center ignited his love of science that led him to become a physician. (Spanish captions can be found here.)
Meeting Buzz Aldrin
My favorite memory at the Cumberland Science Museum (now Adventure Science Center) is meeting astronaut Buzz Aldrin! I was so STAR struck as a child, loving everything about space, Star Trek, Star Wars, etc. My parents took me to CSM and explained that we were going to meet a real astronaut that had been on the moon! He was upstairs in front of the old cafeteria signing autographs and he signed “My Jedi Journal” book. It is still one of my most prized possessions.
Thanks for all you do for STEM and some of my most cherished childhood memories.
– Kaylah B.
Summer Camp + Girl Scout Overnights
The Adventure Science Center is a place I have enjoyed as a child, as an adult, and as a parent. At each stage of life, I have appreciated different facets of the ASC.
As a child, I participated in the summer camps offered at what was then called the Cumberland Science Center. Learning about the stars and constellations in the planetarium was another highlight. One experience stands out from all the others. The Girl Scout troop I participated in spent a Friday evening at the Cumberland Science Center. I remember waiting outside with our sleeping bags and overnight backpacks. We anxiously awaited the ASC employee opened the doors for us. We then ran to stake our claim on the site of our choice to spread out sleeping bags. My best friend and I scored what we thought was the ideal location. We were inside the snug butterfly enclosure. The room felt magical. The primary light for the enclosure came from the displays of various butterflies that were carefully pinned inside light-up cases on the walls. The pinnacle of the evening was a midnight show in the planetarium. Imagine a room full of tween girls dancing on singing under laser lights to music by Bon Jovi from the album Slippery When Wet. Amazingly we were allowed to come back after that rambunctious evening!
Now I treasure the time spent at ASC with my children. I have two sons, aged 14 and 10. We’ve had an annual membership since my first pregnancy. My children enjoy both the permanent and the changing areas of ASC. When each kiddo was finally able to reach the top of the climbing structure by themselves, we knew it was time for preschool. Our membership has allowed us to bring friends and extended family with us to experience shows and displays converting everything from space exploration to dinosaurs, to model trains and human anatomy. Whether visiting for an entire Saturday or a few hours on a weekday we value our time spent at the ASC.
I am proud to be part of the future of ASC. I look forward to seeing it grow and change. I feel that the Adventure Science Center is a wonderful place for children and adults to continue to learn and explore. I hope that as the greater Nashville area expands, so will the scope of the ASC.
– Jaclyn T.
Special thanks to Jaclyn for her generous donation!
First-Time, Hands-On Experiences in Science
Being a kid in Nashville in the ’80s was a great time. The town was a little sleepier than now and the choices of what to do at that age were playing outside (as we all did back then), go see this new team called the Nashville Sounds, or spend an afternoon down the road from baseball at the Cumberland Science Museum. Now that was the pinnacle of fun for an eight-year-old.
The Museum offered us insight into other worlds which was pretty amazing back then since we couldn’t view the world from the palm of our hands. It was as if I walked into a National Geographic magazine but it was alive with the sights and sounds that were hard to imagine in print. I remember more than anything having the opportunity to spend the night at the museum as a young Cub Scout. Up to that time in my life, I couldn’t imagine a more fun night than having full rein of the place that I had visited many times with my school but under strict teacher rules. It was like Night at the Museum, at least through the eyes of a kid and the fact we were not being run down by a stampede of elephants. The Museum was where we learned, where we laughed and played in all the exhibits. And where we tried to scare each other in the jungle at night exhibit., or at least the girls. It was the first time I was able to pet a snake, take part in a science experiment, and realize that the world was much bigger than the town I called home.
As I grew, the Museum did too. Expansion after expansion made it bigger and better. I left town and came back several times to see the entire city landscape change around me, but one thing didn’t, that museum still stood out on Fort Negley like a beacon. A beacon that would soon transform into much more. My career started with Educators Credit Union and I recall the first day learning of the partnership that had been embraced by both the Museum and my new occupation. Walking back in after all those years was exciting and the fact that I now could see a few things behind the scenes brought that little kid back in me. As we grew and changed names at the credit union to Cornerstone Financial, the museum also grew and changed names to the Adventure Science Center. That name fits well as every time I walked in, it was an adventure. The Adventure Tower, Space Chase, the unbelievable transformation of the Planetarium, all of it changed except the look on the kids’ faces as they get that first glimpse. That has never changed and after 40 years, it didn’t change for me either as I not only envisioned myself sliding down the many slides from the top of the Tower, I did it, although with an extra ache or two. But it was worth it and for every Nashvillian and beyond, the Science Center is worth it. It reminds us all that you are never too young or too old to learn and to experience what the world of Science presents to us. It’s ever-changing, always growing and the cause and effect of everything around us. For me, the Adventure Science Center means 40 years of being a kid and if we can all feel like that for just an hour or two, it’s worth its weight in gold. In the end, the memories are what matters the most, and thankfully the Science Center has given this city and all its visitors and endless supply. Well done!
– William F.
Special thanks to Cornerstone Financial for their ongoing support.
Nashville Symphony and New-Found Love for Music & Space
My family has countless favorite memories at the Adventure Science Center, but my two favorites are when the Nashville symphony came last year and my son’s first time in the planetarium.
The symphony came and played then allowed the children to try the instruments. My son was enthralled during the performance, not moving a muscle (a rare sight for my active 5-year-old). His face lit up when he was able to meet the musicians and try the instruments. Previously, he had not shown much interest in music before, but ever since has loved music and wants lessons when he’s old enough. This year, music class has been one of his favorite parts of kindergarten.
My son’s visit to the planetarium sparked a strong love for space. We now regularly get out his telescope (a post planetarium visit gift) and watch the stars. We head out to the front yard any time there’s a chance to possibly see the space station passing overhead. He has memorized so many details about the moon landing and is learning constellations quickly.
Thank you for all the memories and chances for my kids to learn so much ❤
– Cheryl B.
Halloween Lasers + Sudekum Planetarium
My most favorite memory of visiting the Adventure Science museum was when me and my son attended the Spooky Halloween Laser show at your Planetarium! It was the best show offering music from Michael Jackson and so on. I’ve been taking my son there for years. He is now 8 years old. I would love to win a membership so we can continue our tradition of exploring there!
– Kimberly P.
Adventure Science Center from the Perspective of Two Young Visitors
This past weekend, we went to the Adventure Science Center in Nashville. My favorite memory of the weekend was the Moon Walk in the front the museum. I love the Moon Walk as it allows me to experience what is it like to actually walk on the moon without having to go into space. During the two minutes, it felt like I was flying and had the sensation of being weightless like you would be in space. My record is moon walking back and forth 4 times from number 1 to the space man. Sometimes I just pretend to fly in the harness for fun! I am so thankful for the Adventure Science Center and all it has to offer!
– Eloise, age 7
One of my favorite memories from the Adventure Science Center is going with my friends and their family to walk in the Space Walk. Another one of my favorite memories is making bath bombs at the I2 Maker Lab. I made a pink bath bomb that smelled like tea leaves and I put an S on the heart mold. My sister made a light pink one which smelled like lemon with an L on the mold for Lulu. Lastly, my brother made an orange one which smelled like orange blossom with a C on it for Charlie. These are some of my favorite memories.
– Sophia, age 10