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The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center welcomes IMAGINATE, a new exhibition that explores the science of innovation.

IMAGINATE debuts on Saturday, October 3, in the Fleet's main exhibit gallery.

September 14, 2015

San Diego, CA—The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center welcomes a new exhibition that makes innovation accessible, replicable and fun. Imaginate makes its debut at the Fleet Science Center on Saturday, October 3, in the main exhibit gallery.

San Diego is a city coming alive with innovation and creative energy. According to the 2014 CONNECT Innovation Report, in the first half of 2014 San Diego had 228 technology and life science innovation start-up companies emerge, the most new innovation start-ups ever created in San Diego in a six-month period. These start-ups brought in $470 million in venture capital funding to the region and created 885 new jobs. San Diego County ranked fourth in the state for new innovation start-ups, with industries including software, life sciences, aeronautics, environmental technology and more. Innovative local companies include Qualcomm, ViaSat, Northrop Grumman and—one of the original innovators—WD-40. The world needs innovators now more than ever, but harnessing our own innovative capacity isn't always so simple. Whether you are doing science, art or engineering, innovative thinking can take you on unexpected paths you haven't yet explored.

Imaginate aims to inspire the innovator in you. This 5,000-square-foot, multi-activity, interactive exhibition explores the skills and attitudes that can be developed to foster innovation and enhance creativity in anyone.

Imaginate identifies five guiding themes everyone can use as pathways to innovation: Dream Big; Expect the Unexpected; Collaborate or Compete; Try, Try and Try Again; and Look To the World.

Each theme is explored through a number of hands-on activities, twenty activities in total, that appeal to a wide range of interests and ages, encouraging participants to immerse themselves in the methods of innovative and critical thinking.

DREAM BIG highlights how innovation is often a response to intense motivation, a big dream or extreme passion that one must pursue. It features examples of big dreams as inspiration-such as flying in an airplane-and allows visitors to test their own paper airplane designs to see what flies the farthest.

EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED explores how science is a process of questioning. Keen observation and fresh eyes can often allow people to see beyond the obvious. The exhibits in this section encourage participants to take risks and to experiment. The Materials Playground provides visitors with a variety of materials-such as glass, metal and even plant material-in unique and novel forms to explore and test.

COLLABORATE OR COMPETE invites participants to interact with others, communicate their ideas and then grow them with the contributions of fellow participants. This area features Sound Lab, where visitors can jump and move as they collaborate to make music using giant light-up sound panels.

TRY, TRY AND TRY AGAIN encourages participants to create, test, re-test and even start over. Kids and adults of all ages can see if they can come up with new inventions, like a shoe to walk on the moon. In Racing Irons they can test the speed of surfaces ranging from Teflon to aluminum foam.

Finally, in LOOK TO THE WORLD, visitors explore how our common drive for food, shelter and water demonstrate the diversity of innovation. For instance, visitors will see how different materials are used for shelter or water transport in different parts of the world and through human history.

"When we were developing the exhibit, our goal was to shift people's perception away from the idea that innovation is meant for the 'elite,' which can be intimidating," said Mary Jane Conboy, Director of Science Content and Design for the Ontario Science Centre in Ontario, Canada, which developed Imaginate. "We've layered in some inspiring stories but kept many of the experiences very open-ended, so each visitor will approach the exhibits differently."

"The skills that lead to innovation are skills that are accessible to us all," said Dr. Steve Snyder, CEO of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. "Through the experience of Imaginate, Fleet visitors of all ages will have the opportunity to see themselves as innovators and carry those skills out into the world with them."

Imaginate runs from Saturday, October 3, until Monday, January 4, in the main exhibit gallery space of the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center. The exhibition is included with the cost of Fleet admission. 

For more information about Imaginate, please visit:


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To schedule a media preview of Imaginate, please contact Reuben H. Fleet Science Center Public Relations Manager Nathan Young at 619-685-5743 or nyoung@rhfleet.org.

Interviews can be scheduled with the Fleet's CEO, Dr. Steve Snyder, as well as select representatives from San Diego's innovation community.


About the Fleet Science Center:

The Fleet Science Center connects people of all ages to the possibilities and power of science to create a better future. At the science center, you can explore and investigate more than 100 interactive exhibits that pique your curiosity and become immersed in an IMAX film adventure that shows the wonders of the planet--and beyond--in the Eugene Heikoff and Marilyn Jacobs Heikoff Giant Dome Theater. For young science enthusiasts, the Fleet offers science workshops both at the Fleet and at schools throughout San Diego County. For adults, we offer events like Suds & Science and Two Scientists Walk Into a Bar™ at locations all over San Diego. We support communities by leveraging science resources to meet local needs. Teachers are encouraged to join our Teacher Partner Program and take advantage of our professional development opportunities. Additionally, at the Fleet Science Center, visitors will find unique educational toys and games, books, IMAX DVDs and more in the North Star Science Store, and pizzas, sandwiches, salads and healthy treats in our Craveology cafe. Located in Balboa Park, at 1875 El Prado, two blocks south of the San Diego Zoo on Park Blvd., the Fleet is San Diego's science center. Science starts here and opens a world of possibility. For information regarding current admission prices, visit our website at fleetscience.org.
About Balboa Park:
Located near downtown San Diego, Balboa Park is the largest urbancultural park in the United States. First established by the City of San Diego in 1868, it is also one of the oldest city parks in the nation and is the most visited single destination in San Diego. Its 1,200 acres include 17 museums, many gardens and attractions, the San Diego Zoo, miles of hiking trails, and multiple athletic complexes to explore and discover. For more information, visit balboapark.org.