ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - It had enough air to fill 21 hot air balloons, or nearly 145,000 bike tires. On Monday morning, all that air inside the St. Louis Science Center’s EXPLORADOME came rushing out, to the delight of more than a dozen children clutching their windmills. With its deflation, the EXPLORADOME offered one last learning experience for Science Center summer campers, who now know a little bit more about air pressure.
Science Center President and CEO Bert Vescolani says it’s bittersweet to see the big, vinyl dome go, but it was around much longer than intended. It opened in 1997 as a temporary space to house exhibits and events, but it worked well, so it stayed put. Now, it just isn’t needed anymore.
“When Boeing Hall was built two years ago and opened up, it allowed us to have the opportunity to do special exhibits in a different place,” explains Vescolani.
Another reason? The Science Center has struggled financially, and the dome costs $200,000 to keep open each year.
Now that the dome is gone, Vescolani says the newly empty space will become an indoor/outdoor experience, and more details will be released within the next few months. While the specifics of the new exhibit will be a surprise, the dome shocked almost everyone, deflating quicker than even experts anticipated.
“I thought it would be a half hour to 45 minutes,” says Vescolani, “so I’m very shocked it came down as fast as it did.”
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