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Inspiring Wonder: von Drehle’s Partnership with the Catawba Science Center

The Catawba Science Center is a place where stingrays and seahorses introduce kids to the marvels of ocean life, a planetarium helps them reach the stars and hundreds of butterflies delight each spring. Since its opening in 1975, the Science Center has played an important role in building wonder, curiosity and knowledge in the area’s children, including those of our founders Steve and Raymond von Drehle.

Steve and Raymond believed strongly in making a positive difference in our community, and forming a corporate partnership with the Science Center was a way of giving back that continues today. von Drehle’s annual sponsorship plays an important role in developing new exhibits that inspire and educate over 60,000 children and families every year.

Always Something New to Explore

von Drehle and Catawba Science Center partnership

One of those families is David Hine’s, our Director of National Accounts. “I have four little boys aged 11, 9, 6 and 3, and my wife takes them there weekly,” he says, pointing out that all von Drehle employees receive an annual pass to the Science Center for their families. “They love going because there are so many different activities and exhibits, and there is always something new to explore.”

The Science Center’s 35,000 square feet feature interactive exhibits that make science real for kids of all ages. In the Gross Lab, they become scientists studying specimens that elicit giggles from even the adults, and in the Tornado Simulator they experience what 78 mph winds really feel like. Other permanent exhibits include Nano, an interactive space where families explore the basics of nano science and engineering through hands-on challenges and the Naturalist Center, featuring a host of live insects and arachnids.

For David’s kids, the aquarium is a real highlight. The freshwater and saltwater exhibits feature aquatic life from around the world, and the space was recently named one of the 150 Best Aquariums to visit in the United States. David and his family love feeding the sharks and the interaction the staff facilitates. “Their willingness to include the kids is a lot of fun,” David says of the Science Center team.

In addition to its permanent exhibits, the Science Center hosts exciting temporary exhibits, including the Hine family favorite (and von Drehle-sponsored!) Flutterby Butterfly Habitat. “My kids are always asking every year when the butterfly exhibit will begin,” he says, talking about the magical experience of not just seeing hundreds of colorful butterflies emerge each spring, but also having the opportunity to feed them sugar water by hand. This year, the Flutterby Butterfly Habitat opens for members on May 7th, and visitors can expect to experience native species like Monarchs and Swallowtails in addition to semitropical species like Queen and Zebra Long Wing Butterflies.

The Joy of Discovery

There really is something for everyone at the Catawba Science Center. While David’s kids love exploring the interactive exhibits, he and his wife love watching them experience new adventures. “To see the joy on your kids’ faces when they discover something new is the best part,” David says, adding “Or even watching them explore something they’ve seen time and time again and it suddenly clicks.”

Being able to play a role in creating those joyful experiences means everything to us at von Drehle. Making a positive difference is one of our core values — in fact, David calls it the “heartbeat” of von Drehle — and we look forward to continuing our long-lasting partnership with the Catawba Science Center.

Interested in visiting the Catawba Science Center with your family? Click here for information on planning your trip, upcoming exhibits and special events. You can also join us in supporting their inspirational work by clicking here.