Plan Your Next Field Trip Today!

Discover. Experiment. Create. Play. LEARN.

Those are just a few of the things your students will do during their day at the Clay Center. From hands-on exhibits to interactive workshops and live action performances that bring learning to life, the Clay Center provides a wealth of opportunities for your students to put their classroom work into action and experience important educational concepts in a tangible way.

Enhance your studies of science, technology, engineering, art and math in the Avampato Discovery Museum. Journey across the globe and beyond the galaxy with giant screen films and planetarium shows in the awe-inspiring Digital Dome. Meet historic figures or see literary classics come to life on stage in the Maier Foundation Performance Hall.

At the Clay Center, your students will connect with the world around them in a place that encourages them to ask questions, think critically and figure out the answers through their own discovery. Contact us today to plan your adventure.

Happy exploring!

Al Najjar
President & CEO

Avampato Discovery Museum Exhibits

My Town

Enter a town much like Charleston but on a kid’s scale. In My Town, the kids have the jobs, get to spend (imaginary) money, and participate in fun activities every day! Will your child be a veterinarian today? What about a mechanic? They can even be mayor! The possibilities are endless in this hands-on city of fun!

Maier Foundation Music Studio

Generously underwritten by the Maier Foundation, the Maier Foundation Music Studio is a place where visitors make and explore music together. Visitors see, listen to, move to, and create their own music; examine the scientific foundations of music they hear; and explore the mathematical concepts of rhythm, pattern, and harmony.

WaterWorks

In WaterWorks visitors play and work with water along sweeping flow routes, dramatic waterfalls, controlling the water to animate and energize everything in its path in an expression of water’s power. Along the way, they will experience the potential, kinetic and mechanical energy of water.

Healthy Me

Focusing on the human body in motion, Healthy Me will provide a safe environment for guests to test their physical skills, and help them learn why regular physical activity is essential to their health.

Ashton’s Climbing Sculpture

See all three stories of the Clay Center from a new perspective as you climb a work of art. From kids to adults, everyone can take part in this interactive exhibit.

Guests must be at least 40” to climb

Juliet Art Museum Exhibits

Optimum by Suddenlink Interactive Art Space

Explore art in new and exciting ways! The Juliet Art Museum is now home to a brand new, interactive Art Space! In Art Space guests of all ages can explore basic art principles while having fun!  Spin the wheel of color and learn about the basic elements of color and color theory.  How do we perceive color and what the context of color?  Explore digitized art and the basics of digitized illustrations on our giant pixel wall!  Test your balance by making your own mobile, create your own mural and curate your own exhibition!  The creativity doesn’t stop there – budding film makers can explore stop motion animation and make their own films.

Material Pulses: Seven Viewpoints & Stitching Our

The newest exhibition on display in the Juliet Art Museum is focused on the art of quilt-making presents seventeen works by seven fiber artists representing the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Curated by internationally renowned artist and teacher Nancy Crow, Material Pulses contributes to the dialogue of contemporary textile arts.

Charles Jupiter Hamilton

The lively, provocative work of beloved Charleston artist Charles Jupiter Hamilton can be seen throughout our city, in homes, restaurants, businesses, and the vibrant West Side Wonder Mural. Hamilton passed away last year. To honor him, the Juliet Art Museum will display a selection of paintings, sculptures, and prints demonstrating his varied techniques.

Lab Information

STEM Labs

City Builders

Plan out your own city in this fun civil engineering workshop! Learn how to use a map legend, construct a simple building from Legos, and then “lay down” roadways for special Ozobot robots to drive on.

  1. Grades: 1st – 2nd
  2. Focus: Civil Engineering and City Planning
  3. Capacity: 40 Students

 

Science Investigators

Someone broke into our Laboratory, and we need you to help get things back to normal! The culprit left behind some clues and its up to our new scientists to figure out who did it! 

  1. Grades: 1st – 2nd
  2. Focus: Formulate Questions and problems and then carry out investigations related to those questions
  3. Capacity: 40 Students

 

 

Fossil Exploration

You’re on an expedition to study and classify real fossils in this adventurous hands-on workshop. What can we learn from environments long ago by studying fossils? You’ll have to join our exploration squad to find out.

    1. Grades: 2nd – 5th
    2. Focus: Analyzing and Interpreting data from fossils (Environments and other factors)
    3. Capacity: 40 Students
Lunar Landers

We’re coming in for a safe landing in this fun engineering challenge! Can you find a way to slow your craft’s descent and secure the payload as your vehicle lands on the moon’s surface? We will discuss engineering challenges and gravity in this hands-on lab.

  1. Grades: 2nd – 5th
  2. Focus: Engineering Design Process and Gravity
  3. Capacity: 40 Students
Rocket Engineering

In this high-flying lab students will learn the basics of engineering and rocket science to design and prototype an aircraft that can fly.

    1. Grades: 3rd – 5th
    2. Focus: Engineering Design Process
    3. Capacity: 40 Students

 

Robot Navigator

 In just one hour, students will construct and program a robot that can navigate the room autonomously.

    1. Grades: 6th – 8th
    2. Focus: Computer Programming and Logarithmic Thinking
    3. Capacity: 25 Students

 

Acoustics and Sound

Get a deep dive into the science of sound in this fun workshop. Learn about the concept of S.H.M.R.G. and how to listen to the world around you.

    1. Grades 6th – 12th
    2. Focus: Principles of Soundwaves and the Elements of Music (Sound, Harmony, Melody, Rhythm, Growth)
    3. Capacity: 40 Students

Art Labs

Colorful Coil Pottery

Learn how to sculpt a cup using the coil method in this fun hands-on workshop! You can mix in primary colors as you build a 3D coil cup to take home.

    1. Grades: 1st – 2nd
    2. Focus: Color Mixing and Coil Pottery Basics
    3. Capacity: 40 Students
Starry Night Watercolor

Learn about the work of Vincent Van Gogh and create your own starry nightscape! You’ll explore with watercolors and crayon resist to make a one-of-a-kind masterpiece!

    1. Grades: 3rd – 8th
    2. Focus: Watercolor Resist
    3. Capacity: 40 Students

 

Perspective

Experience how artists from the past used perspectival devices when learning to draw in this fascinating workshop. Make your own Renaissance drawing grids and create a graphite drawing in our current exhibition or the Susan Runyan Maier Sculpture Garden (Weather Permitting).

    1. Grades: 6th – 12th
    2. Focus: Perspective
    3. Capacity: 40 Students

 

Science Alive Demonstrations

Science in Motion

Hang onto your hat as we see and feel the strength behind different types of forces! Balanced and Unbalanced forces get unpacked as we launch rockets, pull tablecloths, and apply lots of force in this energetic demonstration!

    1. Grades: Kindergarten – 8th (Scaled based on Grade Level)
    2. Focus: Balanced and Unbalanced Forces
    3. Capacity: 150 Students per Demonstration
States of Matter

Let’s talk about the stuff of the universe – MATTER! Everything is made up of matter, so let’s discover how matter can transform from one state to another. Are there more than three states of matter? Find out in this interactive science show!

    1. Grades: Kindergarten – 8th (Scaled based on Grade Level)
    2. Focus: States of Matter
    3. Capacity: 150 Students per Demonstration

 

Caperton Planetarium and Theater

The Caperton Planetarium & Theater is closed for exciting renovations!! Visit the Clay Center on Facebook for updates regarding progress and reopening date!

Films

Magic Treehouse

Follow Jack and Annie, stars of the Magic Tree House book series, as they meet a helpful astronomer and then travel into outer space, looking for answers to a mysterious riddle!

    1. Grades: Kindergarten – 3rd Grade
    2. Focus: Learning about Astronomy and the job of an Astronomer
America’s Musical Journey

America’s Musical Journey tells the story of the unique cultures that gathered together to innovate and create new forms of thought and music in America. Unique in its narrative power, this film challenges students to see the intersection between art, history, language, and science.

    1. Grades: 3rd Grade +
    2. Focus: History of Music in America
Dinosaurs of Antarctica

From the Permian through the Jurassic, journey to the south polar landscapes of Antarctica hundreds of millions of years ago. Roam the primitive forests and thick swamps with bizarre dinosaurs and colossal amphibians. Enter a surreal world of bug-eyed giants and egg-laying mammals—where survival means enduring the sunless, six-month polar winter surrounded by meat-eaters with night vision. Join intrepid Antarctic scientists on a quest to understand the ice continent’s profound transformation—and to predict the future as humans drive dramatic change.

    1. Grades: 4th Grade +
    2. Focus: Dinosaurs and their environments

Live Shows

Planet Hoppers

Join us for a ride through the Milky Way Galaxy! Your students will become honorary astronauts and decide where we fly as we learn about all the planets in our solar system.

    1. Grades: 2nd – 4th
    2. Focus: Planet Overview
Seasonal Skies Shows

Come along with us as we journey through the night sky and learn how to find constellations to observe. Follow us as we fly to distant galaxies and relate them to the current astronomy news of today.

    1. Grades: 5th +
    2. Focus: Constellations and Current Events in Astronomy

For specific information about curriculum and educational standards, visit our Schoology page.