Chocolate, Meet Science
By Stephen Brown
Choco-philes unite! Under the guise of science, chocoholics can indulge on all things chocolaty at the South Florida Science Museum (SFSM) for one the sweetest experiences the museum hosts. Now in its seventh year, the Science of Chocolate event takes to the museum, demystifying myths and showing visitors a thing or two about the scientific properties of the sweet stuff.
Calling upon local favorite Hoffman’s Chocolates to add a little bit of flavor to the event, and the Lincoln Culinary Institute to bring some exciting demonstration to the floor, SFSM looks to make science a treat. While distracted by the chocolate, the SFSM sneakily slides some educational tidbits and factoids the audience’s way. Educational demonstrations include breaking down the chemistry of dark, milk and white chocolate, why dark chocolate happens to be healthy, the history of chocolate, and plenty of demonstrations.
Though educational, there is plenty of fun to be had. Guests will see how chocolate is made, participate in chocolate-centered games and trivia, as well as partake in plenty of tastings. The Lincoln Culinary Institute will be on hand to lead demonstrations and teach guests how to make their own chocolate at home. Choco-tivities include tasting stations, the making of chocolate soda, and for a coup de grâce, the museum will whip up some liquid nitrogen chocolate ice cream. And for an added touch of class, Hoffman’s is setting up a chocolate fountain for patrons to swim their favorite fruit or marshmallow in a liquidity pool of deliciousness.
· Science of Chocolate is open Saturday, February 18, and Sunday, February 19. Tickets are $11.95 adults, seniors 62-plus $10.45, children 3-12 $8.95. Children under three and museum members are free.
On another sweet note, the South Florida Science Museum received a well-deserved fiftieth birthday present earlier this year: the go-ahead from the Palm Beach County Commission to expand and rehab the existing facilities with a $2.4 million grant to spear-head the construction and capital campaign. The expansion, in essence, doubles the size of available exhibition space with the construction of a 6,000-square-foot east-wing. The travel exhibit space will grow to 5,000-square-feet, allowing for the museum to take in some of the larger, more impressive traveling exhibits, that, until now, have largely skipped Palm Beach County for lack of space.
The expanded and revamped facilities will improve on the existing aquarium exhibit, which will concentrate on close-to-home subjects with specialized tanks representing the Gulf Stream, reef ecosystems and the Everglades. The east-wing will also include an exhibit dedicated to hurricanes with a hurricane chamber and a truly unique piece of technology, NOAA’s Science On a Sphere, an interactive room sized global display system, utilizing a system of computers and video projectors to display planetary data onto a six-foot wide sphere. Essentially a hologram or giant animated globe, children and adults can come see animated images of storms, climate change progression, oceanic temperature data, as well as illustrate migration patterns of animals and insects, show population densities, even astronomical depictions; simply put, this thing is awesome.
The museum expects to break ground this April, with construction on the new wing and renovations running through 2013. Song & Associates architectural firm was tapped to design the new wing and renovate the existing space, which has been in dire need, last expanding in 1971. Along with the $2.4 million from the PBC Commission, SFSM looks to raise an additional $1.5 million in a public campaign to add to the construction and renovation budget, and for endowment purposes. For more information about the South Florida Science Museum, call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsm.org.