Children make their own snow at the Western Science Center’s Science Saturday

Mark Collins’ children, twins Arwen and Arya, ages 5, and big sister Kori, 9, delight in making their own snow under the direction of Western Science Academy students Giena Buri and Aileen Luke at the Feb. 4 Winter Science Saturday at the Western Science Center in Hemet. Valley News/Tony Ault photo

Close to 100 elementary school children took advantage of creating magic snow, making snow slime and learning the science of hot chocolate and more “winter science” presented by the Western Science Center Saturday, Jan. 4.

The center presented the program free to all children during their first “Science Saturdays” of 2020 with more Science Saturdays planned for the first Saturday of each month through May 1. Helping with the interactive science displays were students from the Western Science Academy, West Valley High School Navy JROTC and students from Mt. San Jacinto College.

The February Science Saturday placed the emphasis on teaching children about why there are winters and the many different scientific and natural events that happen during the season. There were 11 tables, each with a special experiment they could perform or a display of different winter phenomenon like, how solid ice turns into gas. They learned about why winter happens, the winter sky, thermal conductivity, science of frost, states of matter, magic snow, staying warm, adapting to cold, the science of snowflakes, snowman slime and the science of hot chocolate.

Parents accompanying their children asked almost as many questions as their children did, learning new things about the winter season.

The next subjects for Science Saturdays at the center, 2345 Searl Parkway in Hemet include: “The Science of Electricity, Feb. 8; “The Science of You,” March 7; “The Science of Engineering,” April 4, and “The Science of H20,” May 1. Science Saturdays are offered free with a grant from Southern California Edison and donations from benefactors interested in forwarding science education to children of all ages.

The first Science Saturday of the year kicked off the Western Science Center and museum’s winter schedule with continuing museum displays, “Tiny Titan: A New Look at Haplocanthosaurus,” and “Life in the Ancient Seas.” There are ongoing displays of the thousands of ice age mastodon fossils that were dug up in the excavation of Metropolitan Water District’s Diamond Valley Lake Reservoir.

Large fossil pieces from “Max,” one of the biggest mastodon fossils found, were recently determined to be a new species of mastodon. Coming April 18, at the center is the Inland Empire Science Festival with displays and information from museums, universities and organizations celebrating local science.

Paleontologists at the science center are continuing to make new discoveries of animals from the ice age and before that once roamed North America.

The museum’s hours of operation and programs are available at or by calling (951) 791-0033. The center is an independent nonprofit organization and depends upon public support, donations and grants to bring high quality programs and exhibits, along with free family events for the region.

Tony Ault can be reached by email at