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Outdoor Activities, Indoor Comfort

UPMC SportsWorks at the Pittsburgh Carnegie Science Center

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By Kimberly Powell

What does it feel like to race down an Olympic bobsled track? Why do muscles 'burn' after a workout? UPMC SportsWorks, a large, permanent exhibit at the Carnegie Science Center, explores the science of sports in a way that's fun and fascinating for people of all ages. Located in its own building adjacent to the Science Center and across from Heinz Field, UPMC SportsWorks contains 40+ exhibits spread out over 36,000 square feet, making it the largest science and sport exhibition in the world.

A great way to beat Pittsburgh's unpredictable weather, UPMC SportsWorks contains thrill rides and activities in six major theme areas: Safe Adventure, Try it Yourself, Sports & Science, Virtual Sports, Mini Golf Math, and UPMC SportsWorks JR.

  • Safe Adventure puts your inner daredevil to the test. For example, you can scale a 25-foot rock Climbing Wall, get fastened into a bungee harness over a trampoline at Bounce, or pedal a unicycle high above the exhibit gallery on the death defying High Cycle.
  • Try it Yourself gives you a chance to be part of the game as you gain perspective about the challenges faced by athletes and the people who work behind the scenes of sporting events. Enjoy taking on  a 'virtual' Jackie Joyner-Kersee on a 40-foot track in Olympic Sprint, or discover what it's like to film and judge a sporting event in the Broadcast Truck and Be the Judge.
  • Experience countless ways to test your gaming know-how and inner strengths in theme area Sports & Science, where you can engineer a Parachute Drop, or test your Reaction Time, Vertical Jump, and Hang Time.
  • For those that have dreamed of skiing down treacherous slopes, speeding around racetracks, or jumping over sandy dunes, Simulator Xtreme will take you there. This virtual experience and others can be undertaken in Virtual Sports where you're catapulted through real video of high-adrenaline adventures, using interactive controls to maneuver the course in Snowboarding, Hang Gliding, Virtual Sports, and others.
  • A four-hole Mini-Golf Math tests your math and physics knowledge. Momentum, centripetal force, velocity, mass, angles, and arcs come into play as you putt over illusions, up ramps, and down chutes.
  • Another interactive section—designed just for kids three to seven years old—is UPMC SportsWorks JR. JR. Obstacle Course creates a play zone for your youngsters to crawl under arches, climb across a rock wall, and skip over river stones. Other components include throwing rubber baseballs in JR. Pitching Cage, learning about daily exercise with JR. Exercise Equipment, and pedaling a mounted bike that generates energy to light a bulb.

 UPMC SportsWorks offers real full-bodied, physical experiences, like rock climbing and sprinting, as well as state-of-the-art simulators to take you places you wouldn't likely experience, such as cruising down Olympic bobsled runs, or hang gliding over the Grand Canyon. This ensures fun for people of all ages and physical ability levels. The warehouse-like space has the look and feel of a sporting event: sports sound effects, special lighting, banners, stadium-style concession stand and souvenir shop, scoreboards, video monitors featuring famous clips of athletes setting world records, and an assortment of real artifacts, including the 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates World Series Trophy, and Three Rivers Stadium seats, cafe chairs, and tables.

Carnegie Science Center and UPMC SportsWorks are located on the North Shore across from downtown Pittsburgh. For more information on times, prices, directions or programs and exhibits, for the Carnegie Science Center or UPMC SportsWorks, please visit the Carnegie Science Center Web site or call (412) 237-3400. The Science Center provides free on-site parking to its visitors.


URL: http://pittsburgh.about.com/library/weekly/aa_upmc_sportsworks.htm

2003 Kimberly & Albrecht Powell. Licensed to About.com.  All Rights Reserved.

Photo © Carnegie Science Center. Used with permission.

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