By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
The Iowa Children's Museum, in Coralville, Iowa, this week opened a new exhibit to introduce kids ages 8 to 12 to the science of aviation. The 5,000-square-foot Take Flight! exhibit features flight simulators built into kid-sized airplane mockups, an air traffic control tower, a real hot-air balloon basket, pedal planes for younger children, an area for flying paper airplanes, a parachute experiment, and more. Children can sit in the cockpit of a real Cessna 150 and talk on the radio. "This exhibit makes science, technology, engineering, and mathematics more fun than is imaginable!" according to the museum Web site. The six flight simulators are sure to attract kids. "Everything really works in them," said Jim Delaney, one of many local pilots and air traffic controllers who helped design the exhibit. "They have a control stick and instrument panel. Through the software, kids can take the airplanes anywhere they want."
The selection of simulated airports and weather conditions will change every few weeks, reports the Press-Citizen. Coralville is just outside Iowa City, midway between Chicago and Des Moines. Funding for the million-dollar-plus exhibit came from NASA and Rockwell Collins, among other sources.