Since March 2015, INFINITY has been riding a fully-throttled rocket engine of improvements. Permanent exhibits are being built and installed; educational programs and live demonstrations are being field tested and added almost weekly; and our staff is expanding to better serve a growing number of guests. Managing this growth keeps things exciting but we remain resolute in our promise to our stakeholders and guests to deliver a quality experience, one that will only get better.
Earth Sciences Exhibits
INFINITY is a science center, not just a space museum. We promised our Board, our guests, and our community to include both the Earth and Space sciences in our STEM content. In 2016, we introduced “Wetlands Pachinko,” “Hurricane Prediction Lab,” “Carnivorous Plant Conservatory,” and “Environmental Monitoring Stations,” the first of INFINITY’s two Earth Sciences indoor exhibit build-ups. In 2017, we plan to deliver “Deep Oceans Lab,” “What’s Your Risk Number,” and more!
Possum Walk Trail Improvements
We promised Hancock County and NASA that we’d enhance the experience along this historic and scenic dummy line rail spur, the first three miles of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Heritage Trail known as Possum Walk. In June 2016, we began guided tram tours down the bi-way, adding interpretive signs for hikers and bikers, too.
Bring Back the Booster
In late 2015, through our first Kickstarter Campaign, we committed to bring the Apollo 19 Saturn V rocket's 138-foot long first stage back to Mississippi. With the help of two grants from the state and assistance from NASA, we did just that in 2016.
As a recipient of fines paid to the State of Mississippi from the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill, we promised to use that money to explain the science behind our delicate marine and wetlands ecosystems and address the balance between people’s need to make a living from nature and humanity’s responsibility to respectfully live within it. Our self-paced Biome Boardwalk opened in mid-2016, taking guests across three key local ecosystems to help illustrate the challenge.
BP funding also stood up an environmental education program here, and INFINITY promised to establish the Earth Monitoring Program for students and citizen scientists. From that commitment came INFINITY’s Monarch Butterfly Migration curriculum, its Sentinel Forest emphasis, and two interactive, free-play exhibits, including “How Does the Turtle Cross the Road’ and “Build a Habitat.”
INFINITY promised its guests an improved experience here as we grew from an infant into a young adult. To that end, we’ve paved the parking lot, added directional signs, and bought billboard advertising to make it easier to get here. We added staff; increased our web presence; and added live presentations, movies, and interactives for better value and a more memorable experience.
In late 2016, we promised the U.S. Navy’s Naval Research Lab that we’d introduce underwater submersible technology. So, staring in 2017 you’ll get to build and test dive your own submarine in our new “Submariner’s Classroom!”
Conferences, Meetings, and Events
Agreements with NASA and its resident offices at the Stennis Space Center set up commitments to provide meeting space, host employee and educational events, and support conferences. Now in its third year, that agreement is paying big benefits for both Stennis and INFINITY. And as an official NASA visitor center, INFINITY showcases NASA/Stennis, U.S. Navy, NOAA, and other local agency and university programs, their discoveries, and technology advancements.
Fun AND Fascinating
In everything we do, we’ve promised to make your experience here fun AND fascinating. We think we’ve done so, but we’d really like to hear what YOU think. If you’ve participated in one of our programs or if you’ve experienced the museum or one of our tours, please take a few minutes to tell us about it.