The Works will stimulate your imagination

Let your imagination run wild at The Works in Newark. Everyone will find something they like, whether in the world of science or in Newark history. Winter is the perfect time to visit this indoor facility full of experimentation and fun.

The Works began in the early 1990s when Howard LeFevre and a group of citizens were looking for a way to preserve Licking County’s rich industrial heritage. He wanted to use history to lay the foundation for educational programs.

The first exhibits were in The Scheidler Machine Works, a company that was founded in 1882. Before long, however, several additions were needed and before you know it The Works Complex was created. It filled 6 acres and housed 11 buildings – an entire city block – close to the courthouse in downtown Newark.

See a historic horse-drawn fire truck.

Today, the complex is filled with fun and education.

On the first floor, there are simulated cars to drive and Legos to build and race. A variety of craft supplies help kids use their imaginations to create a piece of art that they can take home. It’s a great place if your child likes science, with many dedicated labs for hands-on activities.

A glass blowing exhibit is a favorite of many. A well-equipped room with all the tools needed to blow glass allows adults and children to do oohing and aahing. Pre-register on select dates to complete a glass project during a visit. In February, visitors can make a glass heart.

A glassblowing demonstration at The Works in Newark.

A glassblowing demonstration at The Works in Newark.

The second floor overflows with the history of the Newark area. Learn about glassmakers Heisey Glass and Corning Owens. See old telephones and typewriters as you explore replicas of local shops in the area over a century ago – formerly in COSI’s old home. Hear the story of Newark-born Jerrie Mock, the first woman to fly solo around the world. There is also an excellent display of canal history.

A replica of The Spirit of Columbus will be a flight simulator for visitors to experience.

A replica of The Spirit of Columbus will be a flight simulator for visitors to experience.

Don’t forget the Art Gallery with national and local artists in different media. Gallery exhibits change quarterly to keep artwork fresh and exciting.

An amazing exhibit shows parts of a mastodon skeleton discovered in 1989 near Buckeye Lake, while digging for a new pond at Burning Tree Golf Course in Heath. Called the Burning Tree Mastodon, it is the most complete mastodon skeleton ever found. The skeleton is estimated to be 13,300 years old. The original sold for $600,000 in 1993 and is now located in Japan.

There are places to explore inside and out.

Outside, an original long-distance train carriage is open for touring or even a birthday party. If you like music, try the pipe organ outside, where you may be able to create your own tune. The Works’ mission is to enrich people’s lives by providing interactive opportunities that inspire creativity and learning.

SciDome planetarium is a joint effort of The Works and Ohio State University. A visit is included with your admission, so you can enjoy a journey through the night sky, a visit to the solar system, or a trip to Mars. This 30-foot, 4K projection planetarium features live planetarium shows and SciDome movies all over the dome. Programs vary, so check the schedule before visiting.

The center also has a traveling program that goes to more than 14 counties and provides professional training to area educators. A great deal of emphasis is placed on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) as it is found in everyday life, from measuring ingredients while cooking to launching rockets.

It’s a great place for a school field trip to learn about the history of the area and experience many hands-on science activities.

In the Zap Lab, young people learn about electricity.

In the Zap Lab, young people learn about electricity.

Kids especially enjoy the downstairs area, while adults prefer the history on the second floor. Everyone enjoys a lunch break at the sandwich shop, which is connected to the museum by a walkway.

The Works is a subsidiary of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, giving them access to many exhibits and resources not available otherwise. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 5pm and Sunday through March from noon to 5pm. Located at 55 S. First St. in downtown Newark, admission is $8 for children ages 3 to 17, $12 for adults, and $10 for seniors ages 55 and older. There is free and convenient parking in the visitor area at the front door.

During these winter months, The Works makes a great family outing for everyone to enjoy. Check out their calendar of events on their website – www.attheworks.org. It is the perfect place to stimulate the imagination of your children.

This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: The Works Will Spark Your Imagination

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