"Mad scientists" of all ages get hand-on experience at the East Tennessee Discovery Center.


(WBIR) The East Tennessee Discovery Center hosted some "mad scientists" of all ages on Saturday.

Children and their parents were able to explore all sorts of scientific experiments during the center's "Mad Scientist Family Fun Day". It's the first of quarterly events the discovery plans to host to inspire a love of learning.

Ellie Kittrell, Interim Executive Director for the East Tennessee Discovery Center, said, "When adults interact with the children they love to engage them in all of these activities, it really helps boost the excitement and also their ability to retain that information."

University of Tennessee Chemistry Professor Dr. Al Hazari got in on the fun, too. Parents were thrilled to combine education and fun.

Parent Dan Sparks said, "It means a great deal knowing that [my son] learning and his mind is exploring and trying to figure things out. You can see his brain working to learn new things."

Parent Jill Wolverton said, "My seven year old is really enjoying some of the hands-on science, like working with the electronics. And my five year old is really enjoying the Lego exhibit.We don't really have anything like this that's really prominent in the eastern part of the state."

But that could soon change. A group of parents are working to develop The MUSE of Knoxville. MUSE stands for "museum of understanding science and exploration of the arts". It will be a large-scale, interactive science and art center for those 12 years old and younger.

"Our number one preferred location is downtown and World's Fair Park at the former Knoxville Convention Exhibit Center, but we're really open to wherever we can go," said Kittrell.

That idea is still in the very early phases. Kittrell said the estimated cost of The MUSE will be $15 - $25 million.

For more information on The MUSE, visit http://www.museofknox.org/.

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