Outside In is the Academy’s children’s discovery center. Designed for children ages 3–8 and their parents, Outside In is a warm, welcoming place where inquisitive youngsters can investigate a forest, visit the seashore, see and touch live animals, and much more. Comfy seats allow parents to relax and help children explore science—up close and hands-on.
We asked our Outside In coordinator Sean Stallworth a few questions so you can get to know him!
SS: I’ve been an Outside In Coordinator for the past five years. I’m responsible for the day-to-day running of the exhibit, which includes training staff, presenting animals, animal maintenance and care, and most importantly creating the ultimate visitor experience.
ANS: What’s your favorite thing about being an Academy educator?
SS: It has to be the wow factor I’m able to create, when someone is introduced to something they never thought about, and it totally blows their mind. It’s at that moment you have greatest opportunity to educate.
ANS: What is most challenging for you about working in Outside In?
SS: My most challenging part of managing Outside In actually turns out to be one of the best experiences in the space as well. It’s when an older guest discourages a younger guest by being totally disgusted by or afraid of something we bring out, and then the younger person shows that older person that it’s ok. It’s role reversal at its best!
ANS: What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened in Outside In?
SS: I was presenting a tarantula in Outside In, when out of nowhere a burst of air shot across the tarantula and she took off running up my arm. She stopped directly on the back of my neck in a really awkward way where I couldn’t reach her, so I had to wait until a trained staff person was able to come out and get her. The funniest part of all is that a visitor caught it all on video. I like to think I handled it calmly and smoothly no matter what the video shows.
ANS: What is your favorite animal in Outside In?
SS: I would have to say it’s the arachnids. The tarantulas, scorpions, and vinegaroons are my favorite, but don’t tell the snakes.
ANS: If visitors spot you in Outside In, what questions should they ask you?
SS: Anything and everything, I love talking to everybody about any topic, so if you see me, a simple hello would probably spark up a conversation. You’ve been warned.