The Science Factory Children's Museum & Planetarium, located in Alton Baker Park in Eugene, Oregon, United States, is a science and technology center for children, families, and school groups. The 10,000-square-foot (930 Sq mi) museum near Autzen Stadium features changing interactive exhibits, planetarium shows, camp programs, special events and other science and technology-related education programs. The Science Factory is an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a 13-member volunteer board of directors. The Science Factory's mission is: "To engage, excite and inspire children for a lifetime love of learning about science, technology and humanity."
The Science Factory was founded in 1961 as the Southwest Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry (SWOMSI). SWOMSI received initial support from its parent organization, Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) of Portland, but soon after became an independent museum with a board of directors composed primarily of local educators. SWOMSI first occupied the Oregon Electric Railway Station, currently the Oregon Electric Station restaurant, located at 5th Avenue and Willamette Street. During its early years in the Oregon Electric Railway Station, SWOMSI offered exhibits and classes and ran planetarium shows in the Spitz Planetarium, a facility operated by OMSI.
In 1973, finding the railroad station inadequate and the Spitz Planetarium nearing the end of its useful life, SWOMSI's Board of Directors approached the Lane County Commissioners to ask for space in the newly created Alton Baker Park. Following a break from OMSI, SWOMSI became the Willamette Science and Technology Center (WISTEC). Major funding for the new museum was obtained under the Economic Development Administration and each of the consortium members (Lane Community College, Lane Education Service District, University Of Oregon, and WISTEC) contributed substantially to the project, financially and through in-kind services. At that time, the Oregon Electric Railway Station was sold and $50,000 in WISTEC funds were put into construction of the present building in Alton Baker Park.
Science Factory features a planetarium and an exhibit hall with several permanent and changing exhibits.
The Science Factory Planetarium, owned and operated by Science Factory since 2002, seats 100 people. Its star projector is a Minolta series llB under a 40-foot (12 m) Astro-Tec dome. The planetarium also has special-effect projectors, satellite reception capabilities, and Internet access to Pine Mountain Observatory and the Hubble Space Telescope Science Institute. The planetarium offers shows on weekend days.
A large portion of Science Factory's Exhibit Hall can be devoted to temporary traveling exhibits. Notable past exhibits include "Yesterday's Tomorrows", "Magna Carta", "Finding Your Way", "Tech City", and the recent "Your Healer Within."
The Tot Spot
The Tot Spot is an exploration room devoted to children four years old and younger. This exhibit was funded by Selco Community Credit Union.
Renegade the Iguana and Lizard Terrarium
Permanent additions to the Science Factory, these two terrariums house a Green Iguana and a selection of lizards, frogs, and plants.