Take the kids to ¡Cuba! for a hands-on learning experience
Discovery Place Science
Think our latest traveling exhibition is just for adults? Think again. The opportunities for learning inside the ¡Cuba! exhibition are quite varied, especially for school aged children. Here are a few types of lessons you can teach your kids when you visit ¡Cuba! now through January 1:
Children (and adults, honestly) might be surprised to learn that Cuba is not a single island. It is, in fact, made up of 4,000 individual islands. This type of island grouping is called an archipelago. The island nation is located just 94 miles from the tip of Florida and its geography is remarkably varied – from remote forests and deep caves to broad wetlands and dazzling coral reefs.
Inside the exhibition, use the wall map to orient your youngsters to Cuba’s location, geography and other basic information. Then, learn more about the geography of Cuba in specialized sections focused on some of the country’s most unique biodiversity. You’ll meander through the Zapata Wetlands, peek into the Humboldt National Park, admire the Gardens of Queen Marine Reserve and more.
Four centuries of foreign control, from Spanish colonization starting in the 15th century to U.S. influence in the 20th, ended in 1959 with a revolution led by Fidel Castro. Nationalization of businesses and private property precipitated a trade embargo with the United States, and closer ties to the Soviet Union. While economic hardships worsened after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, income inequality is lower in Cuba than in any other Latin American country, partly a result of investments by the socialist government on universal health care and education. Yet scarcity and curtailed civil liberties affect many aspects of Cuban life.
Don’t miss the 10-minute “Understanding Cuba” film at the beginning of the exhibition for a deeper dive into the history of Cuba. The video provides a balanced synopsis of Cuban history, starting with the arrival of people to the island some 6,000 years ago.
Cuban history has shaped the diversity and daily life of its people, and Cubans have had to adapt and respond to historical events. The boulevard running down the center of the exhibition offers glimpses into the changing economy, featuring everything from a bicitaxi (part bicycle, part cab) used as a small-scale business opportunity and a guarapo sand selling cold drinks made from freshly pressed stems of sugarcane plants.
The exhibition also includes a tobacco shed that showcases the leading export and its impact on Cuba, a fruit and vegetable cart and an old American car that represents the Cubans’ creative response to a decades-long U.S. trade embargo.
Today, Cuba is home to about 11 million people. They trace their ancestry to indigenous people, Spanish colonists, slaves from Africa as well as immigrants from the Philippines, China, Europe, the Canary Islands, Jamaica and Haiti. Cuban traditions – including dance, music and visual arts – reflect this multicultural heritage.
Throughout the exhibition, you’ll find personal stories and voices of Cuban people from all walks of life. A designated “Artists at Work” area pays close attention to the creatives in Cuba and what their art has to say about the country.
While Roman Catholicism predominates, many religions coexist in Cuba. Many people follow orisha religion, a spiritual practice with West African roots that is sometimes called Santeria.
A special area of the exhibition is dedicated to honoring and explaining the various religions of Cuba and provides many learning opportunities.
See it before it’s gone
¡Cuba! the exhibition runs through January 1, 2020. Don’t miss this limited-time opportunity to discover the dynamic country of Cuba. For ticket information, click here.