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Last chance to embrace JoyLab at Saskatchewan Science Centre

Kids enjoy the bathtub and bubbles experience at the Saskatchewan Science Centre's JoyLab.
Kids enjoy the bathtub and bubbles experience at the Saskatchewan Science Centre's JoyLab. Saskatchewan Science Centre / Facebook

A popular exhibit created by the Saskatchewan Science Centre in Regina comes to a close Sunday.

JoyLab is a collection of curated experiences designed to give visitors Instagram-ready moments.

The exhibit was inspired by Ingrid Fetell Lee’s book Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness.

“We used her aesthetics in each of the vignettes you see throughout the exhibit,” said Sandy Baumgartner, science centre CEO.

JoyLab was created to mark the 30th anniversary of the Saskatchewan Science Centre. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

“That really brought that bit of science – I call it a sprinkle of science – into what brings joy.”

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JoyLab opened June 7, 2019, with 12 stations featuring hula hoops, a bathtub of plastic bubbles and giant ice cream cones.

READ MORE: Saskatchewan Science Centre celebrates 30 years: ‘I was so amazed’

Baumgartner said the number of vignettes is now closer to 20, with the addition of new experiences and visitors engaging with the exhibit in unexpected ways.

“For example, we’ve got a (text) definition of happiness that wasn’t intended necessarily to be one of those moments and visitors created that experience,” she said.

More than 1,000 photos of the experience have been shared on Instagram with #ThisIsJoyLab. Instagram

While the exhibit will travel to another Canadian city in 2020, Baumgartner said a JoyLab “testing room” will remain at the science centre.

“So there will always be something new to come and experience, and for us to get an idea of the types of experiences people want to see,” she said.

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The selfie connection

JoyLab also explores selfie culture, and whether social media sharing is empowering or narcissistic.

Baumgartner said what staff noticed is most visitors engage with the stations in groups, whether it’s family or friends.

At the end of the JoyLab experience, visitors share all the things that make them joyful. Daniella Ponticelli / Global News

“What we have found is it’s really creating that social gathering place for families to come, have some fun, take some photos and enjoy the experience,” she said.

Baumgartner noted since JoyLab opened, the number of visitors to the centre increased by 20 per cent.

READ MORE: Sask. Science Centre wins award for best-designed washroom in the world

“The nice thing is we’re seeing a different audience,” she said. “We’re seeing that hard-to-capture millennial crowd that might have grown up at the Science Centre, but have lost interest and have now come back.”

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JoyLab closes Jan. 5 with a new exhibit slated to open in the space this summer.

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