HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - When it opened in April of 2012, the $30 million Infinity Science Center in Hancock County was touted as the next big tourism draw on the coast. After a slow start, the center is now seems poised to realize that lofty goal.
Visiting Infinity is like, well, blasting off to another world. But education is the main goal at Infinity. So how do children react to a slimy experiment? Vicki Bess is a Visitor Relation Specialist.
"They say Oooooh and Ahhhh, can we touch it, can we take it home. And we try and show them things that they can actually do at home. We can give them the ingredients at home that they can actually make slime and some of the other things that we have here," Bess explained.
Exhibits are another major attraction, and are constantly evolving, according to Exhibits Manager Paul Foerman.
"It's very important to keep fresh exhibits, because return visitors to Infinity is very important. We aim to inspire the next generation of explorers through the Infinity Science Center. For example, the exhibit behind me is the Chandra Space Observatory. These new panels just went up last week," Foerman said.
In addition to the continuing improvements to the exhibits here at the Infinity Science Center, and the ongoing educational opportunities for students, the center has done something in the past few months that has never been done before.
"Well, we are alive and healthy. We are now operating in the black," Executive Director John Wilson said. "Our operating income is covering our expenses and we're incredibly excited about that. But we're also excited about the fact that we are poised for growth."
He added that part of that growth is promoting the science center.
"We're getting a big digital sign that will go out front. That will be coming in around December. Over 50 percent of our visitors come off the interstate."
Wilson said that Infinity is also family friendly.
"We have families come here with toddlers all the way to teenagers and there is something here for all of them to do."
Admission at Infinity ranges from $5 to $10, depending on age and the size of the group. The center is averaging about 60,000 visitors a year.
As part of the educational mission at Infinity, more than 300 South Mississippi students will be able to talk live for 20 minutes with two astronauts abroad the International Space Station. The event is next Tuesday afternoon and will be broadcast by NASA TV.