Baby sharks, IMAX upgrades + more at McWane Science Center


Birmingham, McWane Science Center
Learning through science. Photo via McWane Science Center

There’s been a baby boom at McWane Science Center. Discover what’s happening in their underwater nursery, plus find out what’s coming soon to the IMAX Theatre. Psst! It involves lasers.

Baby Shark, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo, Doo

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, White Spotted Bamboo Shark
One of 25 baby White Spotted Bamboo Sharks born at McWane. Photo via McWane Science Center

During the quarantine boredom between March and June, something exciting was taking place behind the closed doors of McWane Science Center—25 White Spotted Bamboo baby sharks were born!

Currently, the babies are swimming about in the nursery in McWane’s World of Water Exhibition. When they grow up, they will move to the touch tank—one of the coolest parts of the Exhibition if you ask me. 

As a parent, can you imagine having to feed and care for 25 little ones? Whoa nelly! So while it’s an amazing addition to the sea life at McWane Science Center, the costs to keep the World of Water Exhibition open have drastically increased. 

Each year, McWane spends $15,000 on salt alone in order to provide the saltwater necessary for their sea animals to live and prosper. It costs another $2,000 just to feed the adult sharks.

Well, guess what! You can help in a really exciting way. By donating to McWane Science Center’s World of Water Exhibition, you have the unique opportunity to name one of the new baby sharks. How cool is that?

All you have to do is fill out this form

Now, what will you name your baby shark? 

The IMAX Theatre Gets an Upgrade

Birmingham, McWane Science Center
Popcorn is a must before visiting the IMAX Theatre. Photo via McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center’s IMAX Dome Theatre is undergoing a major renovation—and you’re gonna love it! They recently said so long to their IMAX film projection system. Why? To prepare for the quantum leap forward they’ll be taking in laser cinema technology.

They are currently in the process of installing IMAX with Laser—a next-generation laser technology designed for a 180-degree domed theatre environment. 

Birmingham, McWane Science Center
McWane Science Center’s IMAX Theatre over the years. Photo via McWane Science Center

Here’s what makes this new technology so cool:

  • It provides audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images imaginable. 
  • It features a whole new level of immersive audio via state-of-the-art sound technology that delivers power and precision. 
  • It includes six laser-aligned loudspeakers to distribute equal volume throughout the theatre for an optimum listening environment. 
  • It allows McWane Science Center to deliver a wider array of digital content, including documentaries and blockbuster films. 

Though the IMAX is currently closed for renovations, stay tuned for its big reveal scheduled to take place before the holiday season. The first movie to play on McWane’s mega screen via IMAX with Laser technology will be Antarctica.

Don’t-Miss Events + Exhibits

Come Fly With Us – August 19

Birmingham, McWane Science Center
Who’s ready to fly? Photo via McWane Science Center

Strap on your pilot goggles and celebrate aviation day during McWane Science Center’s “Come Fly With Us” event on August 19.

During this flight-inspired day, you’ll discover all about the engineering process by planning, building and testing paper airplanes—all while studying the science behind flight. 

So the next time someone asks how airplanes stay in the sky, you’ll be the smarty who knows the answer. 

Buy your tickets in advance.

Birmingham Sci-Cafe – August 25 at 6:30PM

Want the inside scoop on the latest medical breakthroughs for managing the coronavirus pandemic? Then join Dr. Nathan Erdmann of UAB’s Infectious Diseases department in Birmingham’s Sci-Cafe’s virtual event—Therapeutic Discovery in the Midst of a Global Pandemic.

Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World – Now-September 6

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, guitars, guitar exhibits
Play the world’s largest guitar at McWane Science Center. Photo by Matthew Niblett for Bham Now

This traveling exhibit hit the adventure halls of McWane Science Center this past January. If you haven’t checked it out yet, time is running out—the exhibit ends Sunday, September 6. 

After months of waiting, I had the chance to visit the exhibit in person in May, and it was definitely a worthwhile experience. It’s filled with a variety of hands-on activities, flashy electric guitars that would make any musician green with envy and even the world’s largest playable guitar. Though you definitely need an enormous pick to play it.

While this exhibit is fun for kids, teens and adults will enjoy it most. So after you visit Itty Bitty Magic City with the littles, be sure to venture over to Guitar: The Instrument that Rocked the World, located on the third floor of McWane Science Center.

Need more reasons to check it out? Here are five.

Purchase tickets now.

Itty Bitty Magic City – Now Open!

Birmingham, McWane Science Center, Itty Bitty Magic City
Visit the Main Street Diner at Itty Bitty Magic City. Photo via McWane Science Center

Itty Bitty Magic City reopened on August 5—and preschoolers ages 2-6 (and their parents!) couldn’t be happier.  

Before you visit, here are five things to know, including safety measures. And yes, masks are required. 

Plan Your Visit to McWane Science Center

McWane Science Center has all-new hours. Plan your visit Wednesday-Friday from 9AM-5PM, Saturday from 10AM-5PM and Sunday from Noon-5PM.

Stay up to date on all things science at McWane Science Center. Check out their website and follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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