Experiencing nature and technology in the “inatura Science Centre”

An extension of the natural history museum inatura in Dornbirn in western Austria aims at presenting natural phenomena and technological inventions in an exciting way for young people.

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Experiments at inatura Science Centre are interactive, explaining science to kids in a fun way. Experiments at inatura Science Centre are interactive, explaining science to kids in a fun way.

" Since the opening of the Science Centre, visitor interest for the “inatura” has increased significantly. There is especially a growing demand from schools for exchange programmes with a technical focus. We can say that the expectations that were set in the project have been fulfilled in a remarkable way. "

Dr. Peter Schmid, CEO of inatura

The main goal of the new interactive exhibition, which was greatly supported by the Vorarlberg Industrialists’ Association, is to awaken an interest in technology among children and young people. It is hoped that as a result, more young people will choose a career in the fields of technology and engineering, thereby boosting innovation and technological development in the long term.

Five “Science Zones” with over 40 interactive stations

The Science Centre is composed of over 40 interactive stations, grouped in five “Science Zones” on a variety of topics, including mechanics, bionic, optics, electricity, magnetism, energy and water. The stations are designed to encourage the visitors to touch, try out, and experiment with the exhibits, thereby discovering physical phenomena all by themselves.

For instance, the visitors can find out what the lotus effect is, how planes fly, and how light can be refracted. Other experiments deal with topics like the connection between electricity and magnetism, or questions on how sunlight, wind, and water can be transformed into useable forms of energy.

Combining nature and technology

The Science Centre is embedded into the permanent exhibition of the inatura museum Dornbirn. Through its documentation on the diverse fauna and flora of Vorarlberg, the inatura museum is home to an interactive exhibition about local plants and animals, a documentation centre, and a research area. The combination of this focus on nature with the new Science Centre is a unique concept in Central Europe.

The idea to set up a Science Centre first started with a travelling exhibition in 2007. A feasibility study followed in 2008, and thanks to financial support from the European Union and national funds, the Science Centre was opened in March 2009. Due to the great success of the project, an enlargement of the Science Centre was planned and opened in April 2014.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “inatura Science Centre” is EUR 700 000, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 105 000, through the “Vorarlberg” Operational Programme, for the 2007-2013 programming period.

Draft date

19/12/2014