ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum's perennial favorite, Toy Science, opens today and runs through January.

ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum's perennial favorite, Toy Science, opens today and runs through January.

Toy Science features a large scale model train set, complete with the fictional town of Canyonville, tunnels and river. ScienceWorks has taken the set, generously donated by former Ashland resident Don Sandburg, and added some special features. A mini camera mounted to the front of the train allows you to experience the track run from a passenger's perspective. At the scale model size, you appear to be traveling 50 mph.

Whether playing with simple machines, magnetism or games of chance, toys give us an interesting glimpse into some fascinating scientific principles. Explore ScienceWorks' balance circus, giant kaleidoscopes and many more exhibits, with toys spanning the turn of two centuries.

Saturday, Nov. 29 and Dec. 13 from 2 to 2:30 p.m., Ellen Siem, professor of physics at Southern Oregon University, is back at ScienceWorks presenting two different live science shows. On Nov. 29 it's "Waves," and on Dec. 13 Siem will be demonstrating "Heat." She will crush a gasoline can with water and boil water with ice.

ScienceWorks will kickoff the 2009 national year of astronomy with two exciting evening events.

On Dec. 2 from 7 to 8:30 p.m., Carla Bitter, education and public outreach manager for NASA's Phoenix Mars Scout Mission at the University of Arizona, will present "Uncovering the Mysteries of the Martian Arctic: NASA's Phoenix Mars Mission." There is no fee for this event but donations are appreciated.

On Dec. 9 from 5 to 8 p.m. meet the starts at an advance screening of SOPTV's world-class documentary "400 years of the Telescope." Seating is limited. Please RSVP to SOPTV by Dec. 1 at 779-0808. Both events will include a light snack and wine.

ScienceWorks is located at 1500 East Main St. The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. Admission is $5 for kids ages 2 to 12; $7.50 for teens and adults; $5 for seniors 65-plus. For more information, call 482-6767.