The Schiele Museum in Gastonia offers an educational, fun experience for families. The museum is big enough but not overwhelming. The permanent exhibits are interesting and educational while the rotating ones are a little more hands on and interesting. Currently, the rotating exhibits include an ocean exhibit.
The ocean exhibit, included in admission to the museum and on display until December 31, invites you to play, learn and experience the largest ecosystem on the planet without leaving the Piedmont. Beautiful seashells found on the Carolina coastline as well as other beaches are on display. A large sandbox with magnifying glasses allowing children to look at what makes up sand is a fun, hands-on display for children of all ages. On a higher, more serious level you and your children can learn about the challenges faced and conquered by marine researchers and see displays on biotechnology, commercial fishing, coastal erosion and more. The exhibit also includes various fish, as well as seahorses!
Another exhibit, featureing astronomy, is very interesting and interactive. Children can explore topics from gravity to planet sizes in a very hands-on way.
Additionally, the museum offers five permanent galleries for touring. There are also planetarium shows, at an additional cost and several educational programs that are extra.
Along with the indoor exhibits, the Schiele Museum has a lot to offer outside as well. Nature trails, a wildlife garden, a Catawba Indian Village, a Stone Age Heritage Site and an 18th century farm make up the outdoor exhibits. Many are open seasonally, check with the museum for dates and times.