At I Know Science, the Idea is to Make it Fun and Fascinating, Not Dull and Daunting
By Grace Carricarte
“We dream big here. We do not limit ourselves,” says employee Juliette Choiseul, with a big smile on her face. This kind of enthusiasm to learn makes I Know Science (IKS) of Coral Gables a standout family destination. It is a multi-functional concept that was launched in 2012 as a place to enjoy and explore, hands-on, all fields of science – plus a place to purchase the latest science toys. It is a modern, immersive retail experience for families to encourage their budding big thinkers to explore – and love – science.
Store owner Gabriela Brown says she takes weeks, even months, to select the gadgets and gizmos the store features. “We have something for everyone,” she says, and they actually do. Classics like lego sets, building blocks with marble patterns, erupting volcanos – even silly putty taken to the next level with Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty selections that are magnetic, color changing, and glow in the dark.
The range of toys, games, puzzles and projects is boggling: Crystals that grow, earthquake labs, bird houses, telescopes, astronomy, microscopes, lunar rovers, dinosaur skeletons, robotics kits, gross science labs, architectural engineering, compost kits, the science of perfume, bird houses, playhouses, and the yummiest yet, candy making. The marked age ranges go from one to 12 years, but adults can indulge as well. After all, fine motor, gross motor, and intellectual processing skills are essential for cognitive sharpness no matter one’s age or condition. “We’ve had people come in who have children with special needs, and even purchases made for adults with a traumatic brain injury,” says Choiseul.
This store does not just know science, it embraces it and makes it contagious. A birthday party turns into an exciting science exploration. Their science programs include camps, special events, and award winning after-school labs. They also have a list of Today’s Best Toys that can be found here or purchased online, along with other prod- ucts, for delivery or in-store pick up. In general, prices range from $10 – $200.
Most of IKS employees are also aspiring scientists themselves, which adds considerably to its credibility. Choiseul studies biology and is looking into immunology, global health, zoology, and chemistry. Yolanda Pineda is studying to be an astrophysicist and researching technology about how to grow food on Mars. Juliette Natalia Brown is studying environmental science and planetary sustainability. No wonder they embody the importance of environmental consciousness; IKS was even named Gables’ first Green Certified Business as part of the city’s Green Business Program.
“We are more than a place to shop,” says Brown. “We stand for opportunity, equality, sharing the responsibility of raising well-educated children, kindness, and individuality. Science is the greatest vessel for all of this.”