Friday, April 29, 2016

Big changes at the Roper Mountain Science Center

In addition to the changes that spring has brought to one of our favorite places in Greenville, Roper Mountain Science Center, it is hard to miss some of the larger changes to the popular children’s science center. One our most recent visit RMSC was gearing up for HOG day (Hands on Greenville, the largest volunteer day in the state of SC), but the noticeable differences were not of the fresh mulch and planted flowers variety. Instead, large areas of the educational center have been cut of their trees and the pond next to the butterfly garden drained.

It’s not time to get worried just yet, however. The pond was drained for maintenance; after 30 years, the pipes were finally due to be replaced. After relocating fish and some of the smaller turtles to the pond in the farm, the water was pumped out and repairs begun. Staff have reported seeing the giant snapping turtle, who dug into the mud until initial repairs finished and the water level raised. When the bridge connecting the butterfly garden with the arboretum is finished, the pond’s water level will be raised back to normal. In addition to returning some of the fish and turtles from the farm, Greenville’s Cabella’s is partnering with RMSC to stock the pond.

Adjacent to the pond is a denuded area, a portion of the old pine plantation that needed thinning. 2-3 foot stumps were purposefully left for kids to play on. On a previous visit the kids spent a good 30 minutes jumping the stumps, so I would say it was a good idea.

Between the Harrison Hall of Natural Science and the amphitheater is a picnic area, but that will soon change. The new environmental science and sustainability building will be located on this side of the campus, but no word yet on when construction is due to begin.

The most obvious tree removal occurred next to the Hooper Planetarium right alongside the road. RMSC still has not finalized plans for this zone, but there is talk of a water feature…

Finally, below the observatory will be a low-ropes course; we’re excited to see what exactly that entails. Now, when will the remaining treehouses be built???

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