For a hands-on learning experience about everything from ancient history to outer space, visit the Herrett Center for Arts & Science.
Planetarium, Art, and More
The nonprofit museum, located on the main campus of the College of Southern Idaho in Twin Falls, features astronomy, anthropology and art through a collection of interactive offerings. Home to the state’s largest planetarium, a popular observatory, art galleries and a variety of natural history exhibits, the center hosts programs for students of all ages, from kindergarten through college, as well as for the general public.
The Faulkner Planetarium, lauded as one of the best equipped in the northwestern United States, features a theater with advanced digital projection technology that seats up to 144 people under a 50-foot dome.
More than 20 different educational shows run throughout the school year, from Larry Cat in Space for kindergarteners to Journey to the Edge of Space and Time for older students.
The planetarium also hosts entertainment shows on weekends, with lights displays set to the music of bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Pink Floyd.
The Centennial Observatory, another element of the center’s astronomy department, features the one of the world's largest fully handicapped-accessible public telescopes. Numerous public events are held year round at the observatory.
“Many are family oriented, and a few are very technical for the more scientific-savvy visitors,” says Jim Woods, director of the Herrett Center.
Anthropology is also an integral part of the center. The natural history museum is composed of five galleries that house a total of more than 18,500 artifacts.
“We have some really neat artifacts on display, including our quartz crystal skull (somewhat like the one on the Indiana Jones movie), a pair of Inca silver ear spools, an Aztec jade necklace and a clay water pot from Peru that whistles when you pour water from it,” Woods says.
The Jungle Archaeology exhibit combines ancient Mayan artifacts with live tropical reptiles, hands-on displays and computer workstations to provide a truly interactive experience.
Another popular feature is the bimonthly Mingle in the Jungle, in which the museum staff shows numerous live animals to visitors. Visual art is also a key component of the Herrett Center.
The Jean B. King Gallery of Contemporary Art displays national and international exhibitions that expand community awareness of the visual arts and promote the work of local artists and CSI students.
“I think the perfect visit would be to come with a family on a Tuesday evening, enjoy the museum exhibits, go to Mingle in the Jungle, watch a planetarium show and then stay until after dark to look through our telescope,” Woods says. “Anyone interested can call and find out the best opportunity for an unforgettable evening like this.”
Read more about Twin Falls, ID natural wonders.