Thirst-aid for knowledge and fun awaits at the Cade

By Julie Garisto

When he invented Gatorade in 1965, University of Florida doctor Robert Cade changed the game for thirsty football players. Celebrating Dr. Cade’s innovative spirit and inventive mindset, a family-friendly museum opened in his honor in 2018: The Cade Museum for Creativity and Invention.

With sights, sounds, and playful challenges, the Cade’s colorful exhibits, games and experiments grab and keep kids’ attention. They amuse. They fascinate. They surprise.

Inspiring the game-changers of our future, the spacious museum delights with multisensory exhibits that make science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) fun and inclusive. New museum-wide themes focusing on different areas of invention premiere every season providing new experiences year-round. The Cade powers the community – inside in the museum and outside of its walls through its outreach — with fresh and exciting STEAM-propelled content.

Empathy and a lot of inspiration come with the Cade experience too. Success stories of inventors remind kids that anyone can change the world. Their collaborations prove what we can achieve when we work together.

“The Cade Museum is a unique place in the world where science and art are celebrated as the source solutions to our world’s greatest challenges,” said Jenn Garrett, a Cade Museum featured artist.

So, what should you do first when you visit the Cade?

First, look up. A magnificent rotunda bordered with sunlit glass pays tribute to the mothers of invention: necessity, curiosity, imagination, iteration, and serendipity.

Downstairs, the permanent exhibit, “The Sweat Solution,” takes you through the journey of Dr. Cade’s life and his most famous work.

A stylish spiral staircase calls to mind a DNA molecule or Fibonacci sequence, leading to exhibits like “Reinventing Immunity” that explore our body’s defense system while engaging all of our senses (up through Sept. 2021).

Oh, and before we forget: be sure to take the kids to the museum’s labs to partake of crafty, inventive projects. Personable educators can answer all sorts of questions — especially the ones you didn’t think to ask.

At the Fabrication (Fab) Lab fun and education fit together like copy and paste. The Fab Lab offers the supervised use of a 3D Printer and an old printing press, so junior tech-heads can learn firsthand how printing has evolved.

Next door, art supplies and materials aplenty can be enjoyed in the Creativity Lab.  Rumor has it that messy-fun inventions like slime and putty have been made right there — better than at home, right?

“I love that the museum welcomes all, young and old, from every background to come together to exchange ideas, make discoveries, and forge new ways of thinking,” Garrett added.  “The work that museum staff does to promote creative and inventive thinking among our youth will set the foundation for a lifetime of discovery.”

Open to the public Fridays through Sundays noon to 5 p.m., the Cade offers special programming in between like Cade Camps, Junior Inventor Night, Makers Night, Little Sparks, Story Time and more. Read here for details.