Major Support from Royal on the Eastside/Subaru of America Completes Funding for Augmented Reality Sandbox Exhibit

Since opening in mid-November 2019 WonderLab’s latest exhibit, Sandscapes, has proven popular, engaging and, according to one visitor: “Super fun!” The interactive sandbox uses augmented reality (AR) technology to project colors onto kinetic sand, representing topographical features that change as visitors move the sand around. Users can carve rivers, form volcanos and build mountains with rotating ecosystems that include rainforests, deserts, mountains, the Arctic and even our own Indiana Uplands region. This earth science exhibit is best suited for visitors age 6 and older – but everyone seems to enjoy this unique museum experience.

Funding for the SandScapes exhibit was provided, in part, by Royal on the Eastside/Subaru of America. They have served the Bloomington community for over 50 years, selling new and used cars from Audi, Subaru, and Volkwagen. Royal on the Eastside/Subaru of America have been generous supporters to WonderLab in the past, including providing major funding for the newly opened Science Sprouts Place.

Visitors will find SandScapes on the second floor of the gallery. Since opening, museum-goers have been happily playing their way through the world building different formations in various ecosystems. 

“I could not stop playing with it!” one museum visitor was heard to exclaim. 

Visitors can also make “rain” pour down over the biomes using the provided rain sticks. Through AR technology this rain water will react appropriately to the specific biome. In the desert the water greens up thirsty plants then evaporates quickly. In the Appalachian biome a river runs through a forest valley, cresting its banks. With so many ways to play, this exhibit has proven itself an excellent addition to WonderLab’s collection. 

“Sandscapes is amazing!” said another visitor “…and I heard that adults had just as much (and maybe more) fun than their kids!”

Many guests have come to the museum specifically to see SandScapes and the sandbox is rarely found without a group of visitors busily creating, exploring and talking with each other about what is going on. The timed switch between biomes creates constant new challenges. Interactive exhibits cards suggest specific challenges each with photos with examples of different landscapes. Do you love the tropical island biome complete with volcanic activity? Then grab the card on archipelagos and discover more about the landscape of Hawaii! 

In its short time at the museum, SandScapes has made a lasting impression on the WonderLab family. It provides the opportunity to explore and gain knowledge of different landforms around the world without leaving the comfort of Bloomington. All are encouraged to come down to the museum and play the day away in environments from all over the world. 

SandScapes is located on the second floor of the gallery. SandScapes is recommended for ages 6 and up. SandScapes is made possible through generous funding from Royal on the Eastside/ Subaru of America and from the Brabson Library and Education Foundation.

WonderLab is an award-winning science museum located at 308 W. Fourth St. on the B-Line Trail in Bloomington, Indiana. The museum is open to the public from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 – 5 p.m. on Sunday. General admission is $9, and children younger than one are free. For more information call (812) 337-1337, or go online to or WonderLab’s Facebook page.