Solarville at Arizona Science Center

From solar power to poop power, the Arizona Science Center newest exhibit, "Solarville," has it covered.

The exhibit, which opened Sunday, May 23 in the APS Solar Gallery on the fourth level of the Science Center, includes more than a dozen interactive demonstrations on solar and wind power, compost, and other alternative forms of energy, like using algae for bio-diesel fuel.

Of course, there's a clear kid appeal throughout the exhibit, which has a superhero and villain theme. Solar Man and Wind Woman are among the "good guy" characters in the display, while villains include figures like Watt Waster.

The first installation visualizes energy efficiency of building materials commonly used in the construction of Arizona homes. Among the slabs of material on display are brick (stores heat from the sun and releases it for several hours after sunset), stucco (helps reflect the sun's heat), and concrete (keeps home interiors cool because of its mass).

The most popular displays in the Solarville exhibit are interactive, like the wind power display, where patrons can flip the switch to power up a wind turbine and the "Pedal Power" display, where people can pedal bicycles to power LED lights.

If you hear a moo, you're closing in on Solarville's big red wheelbarrow full of plastic poop. Evidently, one cow produces enough manure each day to light two 100-watt light bulbs for 24 hours.

In addition to the exhibit, visitors to the fourth floor can also check out the APS Solar Terrace, which is really just a big concrete octagon with high walls. But peek through the spaces in those walls, and there are some great view of downtown Phoenix.

See the "Solarville" exhibit from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week, at the Arizona Science Center, 600 E. Washington Street. Admission costs $12 per adult, $10 for seniors and children younger than 17. Call 602-716-2000 for more information.

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