Simple Machines at Play

Humans have always looked for better ways to do things. SIMPLE MACHINES AT PLAY explores six special mechanical devices — the simple machines — that have transformed our world by letting us do more work with less effort. While simple machines are used to make work easier, in this expansive outdoor exhibit they’re the basis for play too! Climb, race, lift and slide — moving your body and engaging your mind on the way to a better understanding of these inventions.


With the Lever Lift, you’re strong enough to lift your friends in a giant globe! Race down one of two exhilarating ziplines In Just Plane Zippy, but don’t forget to look up at the simple machine right above you. At Acceleration Plane, place weighted wheels at the top of each ramp and let go to see how gravity works against friction. Go for a spin on The Wheel Deal and learn firsthand how a wheel and axle makes work easier. Lift a bowling ball with ease with Pulley Power — a feat made possible by a simple machine. In Wedge It, use one kind of wedge (your hands and feet) to scamper up a wedge-shaped climbing wall. Slide down the ridges — or threads — of a screw in the Screw Slider. Ready for an adventure? Scale the three-story-tall Luckey Climber to get a birds-eye view of the simple machines in the exhibit.

Mason Elementary School

In the 2015 Battle of the Brains, a group of students from Mason Elementary earned top honors for their big ideas about simple machines. Their concept had big impact: simple machines — and the complex machines they combine to create — offer a mechanical advantage and make work easier. The team worked with architects, engineers, construction managers and designers at Burns & McDonnell — as well as Science City staff — to bring these ideas to life.