1 Million and Counting
In the three short years since the Connecticut Science Center opened, it has brought the world of science alive to more than 1 million people. The Science Center celebrated its one millionth person served on Aug. 14 – a true milestone for the organization.
Equally good news is that visitorship is up sharply this year. Fifty percent more people made the Science Center a summertime destination compared to last year. Year-to-date, the overall number of people visiting is up 24 percent. In fact, attendance has exceeded goal in every month of 2012.
Science Center staff attributes these strong results to several factors, including the highly popular Dinosaurs Unearthed traveling exhibition, an enhanced marketing campaign, and the State of Connecticut’s “Still Revolutionary” tourism campaign. There were increases in visitation from two of the states (Massachusetts and New York) targeted by the state campaign, as well as from New England in general. Out-of-state Science Center guests represented 16 percent of all visitors this summer, another increase from last year. The Science Center drew attendance from every state in the union this summer, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.
Just as important as its role as a tourism destination, the Connecticut Science Center kept the learning skills of its home city’s students sharp this summer. More than 4,300 Hartford residents took advantage of free passes in the month of August, courtesy of Travelers, giving kids hands-on, minds-on educational experiences during their summer vacation. In addition, nearly 2,000 children from 46 local summer programs visited the Science Center thanks to a special grant from the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.
The Science Center’s reach goes far beyond the people who enter its doors. Included in the 1,000,000 people served are 2,000 educators who have taken professional development offerings, and 280,000 school children on field trips, in summer science camps, and taught through mobile outreach programs right in their schools.
“The Connecticut Science Center is far more than a great attraction,” said Cheryl Chase, who recently completed her term as Board Chair and was honored at the Aug. 14 celebration for helping to build to the 1,000,000-served mark. “Our mission is to further the cause of science by bringing it to the public and getting people excited about it. We want to bring science out of the lab to make it more visible and more accessible. We want to show students the great careers that are open to them in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. And we want educators, parents, businesspeople and policymakers to be inspired by what we can achieve through exploration and innovation.”