Join the Science Mill and author Juli Berwald for a discussion of her new book, Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone.
Berwald, a former ocean scientist, went in pursuit of the slippery story of jellyfish, rediscovering her passion for marine science and the sea’s imperiled ecosystems.
Jellyfish are an enigma. They have no centralized brain, but they see and feel and react to their environment in complex ways. They look simple, yet their propulsion systems are so advanced that engineers are just learning how to mimic them. They produce some of the deadliest toxins on the planet and still remain undeniably alluring. Long ignored by science, they may be a key to ecosystem stability.
Juli Berwald’s journey into the world of jellyfish is a personal one. More than a decade ago, she left the sea and her scientific career behind to raise a family in landlocked Austin, Texas. Increasingly dire headlines drew her back to jellies, as unprecedented jellyfish blooms toppled ecosystems and collapsed the world’s most productive fisheries. What was unclear was whether these incidents were symptoms of a changing planet or part of a natural cycle.
Berwald’s desire to understand jellyfish takes her on a scientific odyssey. She travels the globe to meet the scientists who devote their careers to jellies; hitches rides on Japanese fishing boats to see giant jellyfish in the wild; raises jellyfish in her dining room; and throughout it all marvels at the complexity of these fascinating and ominous biological wonders. Gracefully blending personal memoir with crystal-clear distillations of science, Spineless reveals that jellyfish are a bellwether for the damage we’re inflicting on the climate and the oceans and a call to realize our collective responsibility for the planet we share.
A 30-minute discussion of the book will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Dr. Robert Elde, the Science Mill's Science Director and Vice Chair of the Board, and former Dean of the University of Minnesota’s College of Biological Sciences.
This discussion will take place in the Science Mill's theater. Copies of the book will be for sale and author signing after the discussion.
Join us for the first-ever 4D flying experience in Central Texas at our 4th Annual Benefit! Let your curiosity soar at this adults-only event! Sip on cocktails and enjoy the iconic tastes of New York as you explore our interactive exhibits and get exclusive access to this once-in-a-lifetime 4D flying experience. More Information
We're starting the school year off right with a completely redesigned Homeschool Day program! Join us each month as we highlight different careers in STEM with presentations by real life professionals and hands-on activities. This month, we're featuring the exciting world of Chemistry! Explore the role emulsion plays in creating the personal care products we use everyday, like shampoo! Participate in explosive demos and discover the gassy side of chemistry. Admission includes all Science Mill exhibits, a 3D movie and the unique offerings listed above. The cost is $6 per student (includes one free educator). Grade-based Learning Labs are $4-6. No reservations required. Check out our full lineup for the year here and mark your calendar!
Discover the world of engineering through the eyes of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Design and build with a host of hands-on activities led by real life professionals! Can you design a gumdrop dome that holds it's shape? How will your paper tower weather gusts of wind? What's the key to building a skyscraper that doesn't topple? Find out the answer to these questions and so much more at this interactive day at the Mill. Learn tricks of the trade, basic principles of engineering and what a day in the life of a civil engineer actually looks like. Plus, the American Society of Civil Engineers- Austin Branch will have a special surprise when you arrive. Event is included with admission and the first 75 visitors get in free!
Physical Therapist Mindy Eckert, PT, DPT and Registered Dietician Chelsea Edwards, MDS, RDN, LD will join us from 1-4pm with a interactive presentations on physical therapy and diet, as well as food modeling activities. Explore the microscopic world and become biologists by creating your own slides, specimens, and taking photos of what you see with portable, digital microscopes (11am-1pm). And don’t miss Meet the Zebrafish talks in the BioLab throughout the day. Learn why these amazing fish so helpful in biomedical research!
Get Buggy With It (K-2nd grades, 10:30am)
Get up close and personal with preserved specimens and investigate their physical features to determine which organisms fit together and why. Use your powers of deductive reasoning and critical thinking skills to develop your own system of organizing and categorizing specimens. $4, 30 minutes
Bacteria Detectives (3rd-5th grades, 11:30am)
Discover the important role of bacteria in our world, while also investigating what types of bacteria surround us on everyday objects. Students will swab for bacteria and observe growth on petri dishes in your classroom! $4, 45 minutes
Cheesey Chemistry (6th- 12th grades, 1:00pm)
Discover the secrets behind the chemistry of making cheese! Experiment with different "recipes" to see what curdles your fancy and use your own body temperature to incubate the cheese making process. $6, 60 minutes
Our hearts are with everyone affected by Hurricane Harvey and the resulting flooding. We’re just a small museum in the Hill Country, but we want to help where we can. We reached out to our colleagues at the Houston Museum of Natural Science to see if we could provide any assistance as they faced the floodwaters in Houston earlier this week. While the museum was largely spared, many of their employees (possibly 100+) were impacted, including several dozen whose homes, cars, etc. were entirely flooded.
They have created the Houston Museum of Natural Science Employee Relief Fund to help those in the HMNS family who are facing critical and immediate needs, and the Science Mill will donate 10% of all admission/Science Store sales on Monday (Labor Day) to this fund. We will also encourage our staff and our visitors to contribute to the fund, and we’ll make sure any additional contributions that come in on Monday are directed to HMNS.
We are encouraged and inspired by the generosity and resilience we’ve seen demonstrated across the state in this time of great need. Thank you for your support.
Gather Clues. Crack Codes. Find Treasure!
Round up your team and grab a smartphone as you set off on the ultimate scavenger hunt! Explore the Mill's newest exhibits, like the Incredible Ball machine, Fossil Dig and Axolotl, to gather clues. Then, decide what is fact vs. fiction. Only the right choice will lead you to treasure! Will you succeed? Free with admission.
99 Years in the Making!
Did you know the last time a total eclipse crossed the United States from coast to coast was 99 years ago? Join us August 20th from 1-4pm to celebrate this extraordinary celestial event.
Learn what causes an eclipse and why they are so rare as you enjoy one-of-a-kind solar activities. Harness the power of the sun by trying your hand at wood burning art or stop by the galaxy station to create your very own solar system mobile. WE APOLOGIZE, BUT WE DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE SOLAR GLASSES TO DISTRIBUTE.
Looking for more solar eclipse fun? Check out the Johnson City Library's Viewing Party Monday from 11:30am-2:30pm.
Mark your calendar for one of nature's most awe-inspiring events! This event and solar glasses are free with admission.
Inspired by the crowd favorite Kinetic Ball Sculpture, this bigger and better exhibit is equipped with new and exciting elements that are sure to captivate visitors of all ages. Step inside and surround yourself with a maze of ball chutes and loop de loops. As you try each pulley, pedal and wheel explore how gravity, velocity and acceleration all affect the ball's trajectory. Navigate a giant labyrinth, create musical stylings in the sound garden, flip and teeter your ball on the kinetic seesaw and so much more! Don't miss the grand opening, August 16th from 10am-4pm!
Encounter the predator we all love to fear this Shark Week, July 23-29! Join us for special showings of Great White Shark 3D Sunday at 1pm and 3pm and Wednesday-Saturday at 11am and 2pm. Discover the truth behind this powerful underwater creature and why great white sharks are misunderstood. Dig for shark teeth at the Fossil Dig, separate fact from fiction with our shark week factoids and MORE! It's a Science Mill adventure you can sink your teeth into.
***Flying Monsters 3D will play between scheduled showings.
New 3D Movie starting July 1, 2017
Just as dinosaurs began their domination of Earth, pterosaurs ruled the prehistoric skies. Some with wingspans as long as a modern jet plane, these flying reptiles were as spectacular in appearance as they were amazing in flight. Join world-renowned naturalist and documentary filmmaker David Attenborough as he recounts the fascinating story of how we humans first discovered that these creatures were real and how they were even able to get off the ground and indeed soar...until their sudden disappearance from Earth.
This 4th of July weekend we'll be lighting up the Science Mill sky! Join us July 1st from 11am-3pm for Rocket Day. Blast off a rocket filled with air; test your skills on a foam rocket obstacle course, and see the difference design can make at the paper plane runway. Event is free with admission. Wear your red, white and blue and prepare to blast off!
Outmaneuver, outsmart and out-flip dad this Father's Day at Battle-Bot Challenge. Join us for two exciting robotic duels. Challenge dad to a Flipper-Bot match or test your wrestling skills in the Sumo-Bot ring. Learn robotics as you battle to see who earns the title of robot champion! Event is free with admission.
Join world famous artist, McKay Otto, at this one-of-a-kind art class! Bring your old toys, recyclables, unwanted household items and your creativity. Get ready to create your own masterpiece! Ages 8+ are invited to attend. Two classes offered at 11am-1pm and 2-4pm. Class is free with admission, but space is limited. Reserve your spot now by emailing email@example.com.
Have you ever wondered how high you can jump? How fast you can throw? How hard you can hit?! Test your balance, clock your speed, critique your form and improve your focus at this all day event! See how your skills and physiology stack up to the best athletes in the world and the giants of the animal kingdom. For one day only, young and old alike can explore our specially designed Science of Sports stations. Measure your raw ability, get tips to improve your skills and try out new techniques backed by science. This event is sure to be fun for the whole family and is free with admission!
Join us for two exciting events that will combine your kids' passion for gaming with a fun and educational day at the Mill!
- Design Your Own Game Controller, 10am-2pm in the Lobby Do your kids want to learn how to create their very own video game controller?! Inspired by our popular Banana Piano exhibit, these activities provide a brand new way to interact with video games. Kids will rely on everyday objects and the human body’s ability to conduct small amounts of electricity to make their very own video game controller. This workshop is designed for all ages and is free with admission. No registration necessary.
- Build Your Own Video Game, 11am-3pm in the classrooms Youth, ages 8- 18, looking to dive deeper into the world of video game development can register for the $60 "Make Your Own Video Game" workshop. This exclusive workshop is hosted by Game Worlds. Real life game developers will teach students everything they need to know to start building their own game. Learn coding, game development and software design in this half-day workshop. Computers available for those who do not bring their own laptops. Register here.
Mother's Day is around the corner! Still looking for the perfect way to celebrate? Stop by Lady Bird Cafe for a delicious lunch then head on in to our 40+ exhibits for an afternoon of hands-on, family-friendly fun. Mom’s and grandmother's admission is absolutely free!
This month will be the last Homeschool Day of the school year. We invite homeschool families and groups to join us on the second Wednesday of each month to explore the Science Mill. In addition to museum exhibits, we will offer special demonstrations, activities and/or guests. More info...
Welcoming all Central Texas Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors for an all-day, family-friendly STEM adventure! Earn Badges while exploring over 40 exhibits at the Science Mill and have a special opportunity to discover more in an optional Learning Lab! Earn and purchase your badges on site! Daisies will create their own Daisy patterns in the Pattern Palooza Learning Lab (11:00am) and enjoy a second opportunity to earn their STEM badge exploring museum exhibits. Brownies will fine tune their observational skills in the Forensics Fun Learning Lab (12 noon) and earn their bug badge investigating the BioLab and participating in a scavenger hunt. Juniors will learn more about animal habitats observing the Paludarium, the BioLab and the NEW African Tortoise exhibit and have the option to earn an additional Product Designer badge in the Zip Away Learning Lab (1:30pm). Cadets are welcome to attend and explore STEM careers at through our unique, hands-on exhibits!! Lab space is limited so purchase your admission and lab in advance here. Girl Scouts not attending the lab can pay admission upon arrival. Cost: $11 with Learning Lab, $7 without Learning Lab
Let’s talk all things science at Science Social, a new, exciting series of talks this fall and spring at the Science Mill. Three lectures by renowned scientists will be hosted at the Science Mill and followed by a wine and cheese reception with the speaker at 290 Vinery, Johnson City’s beautiful new winery. More info and tickets...
Enjoy a day of lively global music, stories and culture in the beautiful Texas Hill Country! The Hill Country Science Mill in Johnson City and OUTSIDE VOICE host a “World Music, World Cultures” backyard concert Saturday, March 18 from 1-6pm. This family-friendly event will feature exciting performances by world-class bands from around the globe, including Tribu Baharu from Bogota, Colombia, Grammy Award winning Los Texmaniacs from San Antonio, Analogix from Fukuoka-shi, Japan and Hanato Chiruran from Tokyo, Japan. Picnics are welcome (no glass containers, please), as are blankets and lawn chairs. Food will also be available from the on-site Lady Bird Lane Café and several food trucks. The concert is free with admission to the Science Mill. In the case of rain, this event will be canceled. Don't miss this exciting day of global music, culture and fun! Purchase tickets in advance HERE. Tickets will also be available at the door.
The Science Mill will be open until 5pm and on additional days during Spring Break. On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (March 14-16), join us for Robot Mania from 11am-3pm each day. Live humanoid robot demos at 11am each day and plenty of hands-on robot building, programming, coding and battling throughout the rest of the day. Activities will include conquering obstacle courses with robotic cars, guiding SWAT-like robots on a rescue mission, robotic painting with watercolors, battling flipper bots, and more! AMPLE PARKING WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE COURTHOUSE SQUARE, JUST 1 BLOCK NORTH OF THE SCIENCE MILL.