Do You Need a Purifier in the Nursery?

Do babies need an air purifier in the nursery to be healthy?


Published:

Every year, there is a new must-have item for the nursery. First hygienic diaper disposal units, then wipe warmers. Now, air purifiers are among the latest hot nursery gadgets.

How much is hype and how much is helpful? Is nursery air dangerous? Do babies need an air purifier to be healthy?

The answer is — "It depends." According to the National Safety Council (NSC), "indoor air often contains higher concentrations of hazardous pollutants than outdoor air." The NSC fact sheet explains that one downside of more energy efficient homes is that air becomes trapped and stale inside, locking pollutants indoors.

"Children breathe in 50 percent more air per pound of body weight than adults do," says the NSC. Since we spend 90 percent of our days indoors, and 65 percent of that time in our own homes, home air quality matters. In fact, the NSC says that indoor air can be up to 100 times more polluted than the air outside.

Studies to determine the risks and effects of this fairly recent hazard are still new and conflicting. Many side effects of exposure to indoor air pollutants mimic other conditions, such as colds or allergies. "Common symptoms of exposure to indoor air pollutants include: headaches, tiredness, dizziness, nausea, itchy nose and scratchy throat," says the NSC. "More serious effects are asthma and other breathing disorders and cancer."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there are many causes of indoor air pollution, including: household cleaners, second-hand tobacco smoke, smoke from heating sources fueled by oil, wood, coal, gas or kerosene, fumes from household chemicals, pesticides and even construction materials themselves.

How severe the reaction is depends on many factors, including the age of the baby, prior exposure to pollutants and exposure of the mother during pregnancy.

Air purifiers and their manufacturers are careful to avoid claiming that their products reduce the risk of asthma or other health problems. But worried parents are quick to put the news reports together with claims of cleaner air and conclude that air purifiers are a new necessity for a healthy baby.

Experts hesitate to go that far. Maeve O’Connor, MD, is on staff at Carolina Asthma and Allergy Center. She is board certified by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, and an expert on respiratory illness. "None (of the air purifiers on the market) have actually been scientifically proven to remove allergens from air or decrease allergy or asthma symptoms," says O’Connor. While some studies show tiny decrease in air-borne allergens, says O’Connor, such a change is not likely to be enough to be "statistically significant."

"The risk factors for infant asthma include being exposed to second-hand smoke," says O’Connor, who lists other risks as early viral infections, being born prematurely, having a mother with asthma, and the presence of dust mites and cockroaches in the home.

HEPA filters and air filtration units don’t trap the particles left behind by mites and roaches, says O’Connor. The units are more efficient at trapping pet dander. O’Connor says that filtration units in individual rooms are more effective than whole-house systems, and are most effective if switched on right after vacuuming, when particles have been stirred up into the air.

Filters and filtration units, says O’Connor, "are not the end-all-be-all." The good news is that there are simple, inexpensive ways to reduce many indoor pollutants that can affect babies’ breathing.

Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters can help, says O’Connor, if they have a tight seal on the collection bag. "Studies show they are reasonably efficient," she says. Getting rid of carpets and going with tile or wood floors, nixing overstuffed furniture and clearing out piles of dust-collecting stuffed animals also helps. Avoid strong-smelling household cleaners, candles and air fresheners. To discourage dust mites, O’Connor suggests the use of mite-resistant mattress and pillow covers (not plastic). These covers keep the mites from burrowing into soft bedding.

Wet-washing hardwood floors frequently also helps to cut down on dust and irritating particles. Wash bedding at 130°F to keep mites away, and always wash new clothing, since mites can get into fabrics in the warehouse.

If there are pets in the house, keep them out of the baby’s room. Wash pets frequently to cut down on dander. "I feel like telling someone to get rid of their pet is a losing situation for all of us," says O’Connor.

Smoking is one of the leading causes of infant breathing problems, says O’Connor, and one of the most avoidable. Avoid smoking in the car and do not smoke in the home at all — even when the baby is not present. If an adult does smoke, encourage the person to wear a designated jacket that can be removed and left outside to keep from bringing smoke particles back into the home.

So do air purifiers in nurseries help? Used in combination with other techniques to keep indoor air free of irritants, a purifier in the room might help to incrementally decrease pollutants, which might be significant for a baby that is especially sensitive. Until studies can turn up results that are more conclusive, air purifiers fall into the same category as chicken soup — it may help, and it can’t hurt.
 

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August 2015

All scouts must bring their merit badge books and come prepared with requirements one and two complete. Scouts be sure to bring a snack, water bottle and a lunch. Registration is required.

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Latta Plantation Nature Center
5225 Sample Road
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Telephone: 704-875-2312
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Levine JCC
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Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
4150 Yancey Road
Charlotte, NC  28217
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Sponsor: Q4KIDZ and Detailed Block

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McDowell Nature Center
15222 York Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-588-5224
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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
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Telephone: 704-806-6900
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Museum of York county
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Rock Hill, SC  29732
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Telephone: 803-329-2121
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Discovery Place KIDS
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Kannapolis Branch Library
850 Mountain Street
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Reedy Creek Nature Center
2900 Rocky River Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-432-6459
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Beatties Ford Road Regional Library
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Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-416-3000
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The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
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Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

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Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
View map »


Telephone: 803-348-6010
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More information

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Cost: $7-$9, children under 5 free

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551 S. Tryon St.
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304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Telephone: 704-664-2927
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Cost: $6-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Using animatronics and interactive technology, this traveling exhibit enlarges and brings to life the hidden world of insects through a variety of robotic creatures 40 to 120 times their size....

Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
View map »


Telephone: 803-348-6010
Website »

More information

Follow the story of Gastonia-based Tony's Ice Cream, enjoy displays of Ice cream production equipment and memorabilia. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

Explore a gallery of rare instruments, experiment with the science of sound, and rock out with real keyboards, drums and guitars. Museum hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 10am-6pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $12-$15, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
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A continental perspective on wolves today and those that once roamed the Carolina Piedmont. Includes audio and interactive components. Museum hours: Tues., Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $3-$6

Where:
Museum of York county
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
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Mooresville Public Library
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Cost: Free

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McDowell Nature Center
15222 South York Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-583-1284
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Museum of York county
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
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Using animatronics and interactive technology, this traveling exhibit enlarges and brings to life the hidden world of insects through a variety of robotic creatures 40 to 120 times their size....

Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
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Telephone: 803-348-6010
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Features dynamic interpretive kiosks, hands-on components, and objects on loan from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. Museum hours:  Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
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Storytelling, book sharing, songs and participatory activities. Hours: 10:30am and 1:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Branch Gastonia Library
1555 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
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Telephone: 704-868-2164
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Follow the story of Gastonia-based Tony's Ice Cream, enjoy displays of Ice cream production equipment and memorabilia. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

Explore a gallery of rare instruments, experiment with the science of sound, and rock out with real keyboards, drums and guitars. Museum hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 10am-6pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $12-$15, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC
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Telephone: 704-664-2927
Website »

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Cost: Free

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Mint St. and Romare Bearden Park
800 S. Mint St.
Charlotte, NC
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Cost: Free

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West Boulevard Library
2157 West Blvd.
Charlotte, NC  28208
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Telephone: 704-416-7400
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Cost: Free

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Charlotte Main Library
310 North Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
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Telephone: 704-416-0100
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Cost: Free for memebers, $5 for non-members

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway, Comporium Ampitheater
250 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
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Website »

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Listen to a talented line-up of national musical acts with family and friends. Enjoy the food and craft beer selection.

Cost: $5 parking fee

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
Charlotte, NC
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Website »

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Features dynamic interpretive kiosks, hands-on components, and objects on loan from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. Museum hours:  Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Picture book sharing, finger plays and songs, nursery rhymes, and other activities. Hours: 10:30am and 1:30pm.

Cost: Free

Where:
Main Branch Gastonia Library
1555 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-868-2164
Website »

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A continental perspective on wolves today and those that once roamed the Carolina Piedmont. Includes audio and interactive components. Museum hours: Tues., Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $3-$6

Where:
Museum of York county
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Follow the story of Gastonia-based Tony's Ice Cream, enjoy displays of Ice cream production equipment and memorabilia. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

Explore a gallery of rare instruments, experiment with the science of sound, and rock out with real keyboards, drums and guitars. Museum hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 10am-6pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $12-$15, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Using animatronics and interactive technology, this traveling exhibit enlarges and brings to life the hidden world of insects through a variety of robotic creatures 40 to 120 times their size....

Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
View map »


Telephone: 803-348-6010
Website »

More information

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Wear brightly colored clothing and closed toe shoes. Other materials will be provided.

Cost: Free

Where:
Anne Springs Close Greenway
250 Dairy Barn Lane
Fort Mill, SC
View map »


Telephone: 803-547-4575
Website »

More information

Developmentally appropriate toys for children. Special community guests will be available to discuss child development and behaviors.

Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Public Library
304 South Main St.
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-664-2927
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More information

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Cost: $8, includes museum admission

Where:
Charlotte Nature Museum
1658 Sterling Road
Charlotte, NC
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Telephone: 704-372-6261
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More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mooresville Town Lawn
413 North Main Street
Mooresville, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-663-7026
Website »

More information

Follow the story of Gastonia-based Tony's Ice Cream, enjoy displays of Ice cream production equipment and memorabilia. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

Using animatronics and interactive technology, this traveling exhibit enlarges and brings to life the hidden world of insects through a variety of robotic creatures 40 to 120 times their size....

Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
View map »


Telephone: 803-348-6010
Website »

More information

Features dynamic interpretive kiosks, hands-on components, and objects on loan from NASA and the Smithsonian Institution. Museum hours:  Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$10, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-866-6900
Website »

More information

Explore a gallery of rare instruments, experiment with the science of sound, and rock out with real keyboards, drums and guitars. Museum hours: Mon.-Fri., 9am-4pm; Sat., 10am-6pm; Sun., noon-5pm.

Cost: $12-$15, includes museum admission

Where:
Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

A continental perspective on wolves today and those that once roamed the Carolina Piedmont. Includes audio and interactive components. Museum hours: Tues., Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $3-$6

Where:
Museum of York county
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

A street festival featuring a Labor Day parade, a full carnival, kids crafts, inflatables, live entertainment, pony and train rides and more family activities. Hours: Fri., 6-10pm; Sat., 9am-9pm;...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-708-1261
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mint Hill Library
66840 Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Charlotte, NC  28227
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5200
Website »

More information

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Cost: $7-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
Harvey B. Gantt Center
551 S. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-547-3700
Website »

More information

Face Painters. Balloon Artists. Caricature Artists Strolling magician. Fifth Street Beats and Steve Langley for some live entertainment.

Cost: Free

Where:
Romare Bearden Park
300 S. Church St.
Charlotte, NC  28202
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Mountain Island Library
4420 Hoyt Galvin Way
Charlotte, NC  28214
View map »


Telephone: 704-416-5600
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free.

Where:
Tryon Street Patio in front of Discovery Place
301 N. Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-372-6261
Website »

More information

Listen to a talented line-up of national musical acts with family and friends. Enjoy the food and craft beer selection.

Cost: $5 parking fee

Where:
U.S. National Whitewater Center
5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free with paid admission to Raptor Trail

Where:
Carolina Raptor Center
6000 Sample Road
Huntersville, NC  28078
View map »


Website »

More information

Follow the story of Gastonia-based Tony's Ice Cream, enjoy displays of Ice cream production equipment and memorabilia. Museum hours: Mon.-Sat., 9am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $6-$9, includes museum admission

Where:
The Schiele Museum
1500 E. Garrison Blvd.
Gastonia, NC  28054
View map »


Telephone: 704-806-6900
Website »

More information

A street festival featuring a Labor Day parade, a full carnival, kids crafts, inflatables, live entertainment, pony and train rides and more family activities. Hours: Fri., 6-10pm; Sat., 9am-9pm;...

Cost: Free

Where:
Stumptown Park
120 S. Trade St.
Charlotte, NC
View map »


Telephone: 704-708-1261
Website »

More information

A continental perspective on wolves today and those that once roamed the Carolina Piedmont. Includes audio and interactive components. Museum hours: Tues., Sat., 10am-5pm; Sun., 1-5pm.

Cost: $3-$6

Where:
Museum of York county
4621 Mt. Gallant Road
Rock Hill, SC  29732
View map »


Telephone: 803-329-2121
Website »

More information

Using animatronics and interactive technology, this traveling exhibit enlarges and brings to life the hidden world of insects through a variety of robotic creatures 40 to 120 times their size....

Cost: $10-$20, includes museum admission

Where:
South Carolina State Museum
301 Gervais Street, Loading Zone D
Columbia, SC  29214
View map »


Telephone: 803-348-6010
Website »

More information

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