The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Skylerr Patterson
Staff writer 

Trippin' Again: Take science in hand at center


Last updated 7/17/2021 at 2:21pm

Skylerr Patterson

Amarillo's Discovery Center is an interactive science experience.

Editor's note: As we begin to see COVID-19 in our rear-view mirrors, travelers are cautiously returning to the roads. This series offers destination options for eastern New Mexico-area residents looking to get away for a few days.

The gift of discovery. Lifelong learning. Engaging the individual genius within yourself. All of these things are an opportunity provided by Amarillo's Don Harrington Discovery Center.

The Don Harrington Discovery Center and Space Theatre is a nonprofit interactive science experience dedicated to making science exciting, relevant and interesting to all types of learners. The center was established in 1976, and has since grown into an advanced educational experience.

The Discovery Center is full of opportunities to interact and enjoy science.

Today it has five permanent exhibits, six seasonal exhibits, and one traveling exhibit. The permanent exhibits include the Outdoor Science Park, the Space Gallery, Kinderstudio, Critter Row, and the Giant Ant Crawler.

The Science Park is on the southeast side of the center's entrance. It features outdoor activities, including a fossil dig pit, chair lift and tennis ball launcher, two life-size animatronic dinosaurs, and more.

The Space Gallery is dedicated to exploring weather conditions and how they work, not only on Earth, but also on other planets.

The Kinder Studio is for ages 0-6. It includes imaginative and interactive areas from a climbing structure to a tumbling play space.

Critter Row introduces guests to animals from different regions, and allows for an up-close look at these species.

The Giant Ant Crawler features a giant ant farm that guests are able to explore. It is a personal way to learn and examine the life of an ant.

What you can expect:

On top of the five permanent exhibits, the Don Harrington Discovery Center also has plenty more to explore, including a traveling exhibit: Toys: Inside the Story. Seasonal exhibits include Maker Metropolis, Planetary Landscapes, Sun Earth Universe, Nano, Imagination Playground, and Geared Up: Futures in STEM.

The Space Theatre is a full dome planetarium that allows visitors to explore space and time. The Space Theatre shows are included in the general admission price, and full capacity is 90 people.

Yes, the Discovery Center hosts birthday parties.

The Helium Monument:

The Helium Centennial Time Columns Monument was set up in Amarillo in 1968 to honor the 100th anniversary of the discovery of helium. The monument was airlifted from Interstate-40 and Nelson, to its current location at the Discovery Center. Amarillo was chosen for placement due to its role in the U.S. Government's helium reserve and gas production from the Cliffside Gas Field.

Each leg of the Helium Monument contains time capsules. The first was opened in May of 1993, and the second was opened September 2018. Funding was provided by individuals, and private and public organizations.

Hours and admission:

Summer hours are Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. And Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m. These hours will go through Labor Day.

Children under 2 get in free, for children 3-17 it is $9, for adults it is $14. There are discounted prices for students, seniors, and military -- each $11.

There are also various membership options.

Where is it:

The Don Harrington Discovery Center is a two-hour drive, northeast of Clovis. The address is 1200 Streit Drive in Amarillo. Remember, that's the Central time zone.

More information:


Phone number: 806-355-9547


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