Galactic Playgrounds Interactive Science Center has become a part of our community. It is the brainchild of Greg Mendolia.

“Galactic Playgrounds is a science center for kids of all ages,” Mendolia said. “We offer hands-on excitement with exhibits powered by children, so they get exercise, S.T.E.A.M. (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) learning and fun all at once. Our interactive science center is sure to excite and educate your kids. All exhibits run on kid power, so they can exercise while enjoying an immersive educational atmosphere.”

Mendolia is originally from New England and he and his family came to Florida to get out of the cold weather. His children liked the local children’s attractions like MOSI and Glazer Children’s Museum, but wanted something more to stretch their minds and imaginations.

“We visited different areas of Florida, but we found that Tampa was more family-oriented,” Mendolia said. “We started to look for what area of Tampa would be a good fit for our concept and Brandon is the epicenter of families with children, so Brandon was our choice to open Galactic Playgrounds Interactive Science Center.”

The center has quite a lot to offer families from our community. Visitors can relax and enjoy astronomy videos on the center’s 14-foot-tall planetarium-like screens.

“We have a large variety of interactive science exhibits demonstrating magnetism, hydro forces, electric power, kinetic energy, high-voltage static generators and gas plasma effects,” Mendolia said. “And you can let your little scientist chill out for a bit and paint using our new Buddha Boards.”

Before opening Galactic Playground Interactive Science Center, Mendolia made renovations to ensure the building was COVID-safe for families.

“We installed a special new HVAC with five times more outside air, which blows COVID away,” Mendolia said. “Plus, we have 8,500 square feet of space for easy social distancing. Families can rent our entire place just for their own social bubble.”

One of the attractions offered at the center is Water World, featuring all things water, allowing kids’ energy to power cool water exhibits. Children will be able to create amazing water cyclones powered in two different ways: by operating water pumps or by powering electric motors. There is also a water elevator utilizing the principles of the famous scientist Archimedes.

The Electric World exhibit takes kids’ kinetic energy and then converts it into electric energy. The electric energy in turn powers a variety of features, such as LEDs, lasers and fans. There are also kid-powered Tesla coils and four fully functional Van de Graaff high-voltage generators, pushing over a quarter of a million volts.

The other two exhibits are Magnetic World and Kinetic World.

To learn more about Galactic Playgrounds Interactive Science Center, visit www.galacticplaygrounds.com or call 315-9478. The center, located at 1041 W. Brandon Blvd., is open Monday to Friday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

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Libby is a writer for The Osprey Observer/The Christian Voice. She started as an intern in 2009 and upon finishing her internship, she was asked to stay on as a permanent writer for both papers. Libby lives in Brandon with her two rescue dogs, Olive and Bogey.