The South Florida Science Museum is bringing energy
conservation and Florida history to their outdoor, interactive
science trail with a solar train display. Aptly named the
“Solar Express,” the official opening of the interactive
display is scheduled for Sept. 1.
Visitors will have the opportunity to push buttons and in
order to move two model trains around a G-Scale sized town, as
well as activate other mobile displays, including a carousel,
within the “town.” One child will be selected to receive a
model train set, conductor’s hat and be the first to push
the button and start the train.
The solar panels are hooked up to a charge
controller, deep cycle batteries and a power converter that
converts 12 volts DC to 110 volts AC. This allows the reserve
power to be stored for days, even during cloudy periods.
“Florida is the Sunshine State, so it
makes sense to design the train system with solar power,”
said Rick Newman, founder of the Boca Raton-based
HighTechScience.org. “I wanted to design the Solar Express
to help increase environmental awareness for children and
families. Also, Florida was founded on its railroads so it
gives a bit of a local history lesson, too.”
The Solar Express layout contains a 1950s
model cattle/freight train and a passenger train. “It
harkens back to the established East Coast Railroad days, when
train travel was still a large part of daily
transportation,” Newman said.
The model town and train set up contains
more than 500 pieces including model houses, a windmill, farm
and other details. The entire exhibit was donated by Newman
and other alternative energy corporate sponsors.
“It makes a wonderful addition to our
outdoor science trail, which has seen a lot of expansions and
renovations recently,” said museum exhibits
designer/director Carlos Santos, who assisted in designing the
Solar Express layout, including the creation of the solar
panel supports and control housings. “The Marshall
Foundation recently helped restore our wetland area and we
have new butterfly beds planted as well. The Outdoor Science
Trail is a true gem, and the Solar Express is the perfect
The South Florida Science Museum is
currently in the middle of the public phase of a 54 million
dollar capital campaign to build a state-of-the-art science
This unique and comprehensive center will
be a symbol of the community’s cultural strength and
commitment to education. The South Florida Science Museum is
located at 4801 Dreher Trail North, West Palm Beach in the
north end of Dreher Park.
or call 832-1988 for more details.