The Bishop's new Mosaic Backyard Universe

Bradenton’s Bishop Museum of Science and Nature will open its new Mosaic Backyard Universe on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The new space is intended to offer a fun, hands-on experience that encourages children to interact with science. Chief executive officer Brynne Anne Besio describes it as “an immersive learning environment.”

Education is the Bishop Museum’s primary goal. The Mosaic Backyard Universe is intended for explorers between ages 2 and 8, but the space is truly meant for anyone with innate childlike wonder and an insatiable desire to learn.

The new Mosaic Backyard Universe offers a variety of exploratory activities. Look up at a scale model of our solar system, watch native turtles swim in a freshwater pond, uncover hidden treasures in a fossil dig pit, launch into space in a playhouse designed to look like a cardboard rocket or take in a panoramic view from the top of a mighty oak tree.

The Bishop’s new Mosaic Backyard Universe

Becky Facer, The Bishop's education program manager, says that at the Mosaic Backyard Universe “children are guiding their own exploration.” For example, the Science Shed provides backpacks containing educational tools that prompt children to learn about different sections of the backyard. A backpack geared toward astronomy may lead a young explorer to interact with the solar scale model and build his or her own constellation. Other backpacks cover paleontology, geology, biology and engineering.

The space will also welcome field trips for kids in pre-K programs up through third grade. Beginning in November, field trips will adhere to one of four themes: life science, earth and space science, physical science or connections, which links together different science fields.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is located at 201 10th St. W., Bradenton, and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and noon-5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $8.95-$23.95 and free for kids under 2. For more info, call (941) 746-4131 or visit the museum's website.

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