This game of mini golf promises to make you smarter

We already know miniature golf is fun.

Now it will make you smarter.

A new exhibit at the Boonshoft Museum of Discovery will allow families to enjoy a game of miniature golf at the same time they’re learning important environmental lessons. The show opens Saturday, June 19.

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“Fore! The Planet,” a traveling exhibit created by the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, matches facts about conservation, food chains, water resources and a host of other natural phenomena with a golfer’s skill and problem-solving ability. Players find out about topics ranging from evolution and dinosaur extinction to bird migration and food chains.

“As they play, the golf ball simulates many adventures — from mimicking a house fly on its way to a picnic lunch to demonstrating the challenges faced by a spawning salmon,” explains the museum’s vice president of education, Dawn Kirchner. “There’s even a section on where trash goes and the impact it has on the environment – and on us.”

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Along the fairway, at successive holes, participants face fresh sets of challenges. Competitors are tasked with working through solutions to well-known ecological problems. The more they learn about the subject at each hole, the better they play.

Among other topics explored are natural selection, backyard ecosystems, predator and prey and recycling. The display explores details of the potential damage wrought by both ecological disasters and natural phenomena.

One example is “Butterfly Life Cycle,” where players putt the ball through each of the four stages of a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Another hole focuses on seed dispersal, with the ball representing the seed from the fruit of a tree. Players are then asked to choose which animal will best disperse the seed.

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As players are discovering important facts about the natural world, they are also learning to avoid hazards presented in the exhibition. The end reward, as in every game of golf, is to finish the hole with fewer strokes.

MORE INFO: Visit or call (937) 275-7431.

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