There's a lot to see at Cascade Meadow! When you visit us, you'll see interactive exhibits on all of the following topics. Click on the topic to quickly scroll down to it, or read about them all, but be sure to come and visit to actually experience each one!



Water Connections
Water is one of the most taken-for-granted and mysterious elements of our daily lives. We turn on a faucet and clean, drinkable water pours out in seemingly limitless quantities. Outside our home, we see ponds, lakes, streams, and rivers containing water of a very different character. Are the two kinds of water connected? Where does our drinking water come from? And what happens to the wastewater that leaves our kitchens and bathrooms every day?

Developed and paid for by Rochester Public Works, Rochester Public Utilities, and the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant, the Water Connections exhibit connects visitors with the different journeys that water takes to supply our lives each day in Rochester. The exhibit explore wastewater, drinking water, and storm water systems.

From Streets to Waterways
The Rochester Public Works Department invites you to discover how our actions on the land affect surface water with this interactive exhibit. Learn why you have waterfront property even if you don’t live near a lake or stream. Discover some pollution culprits and learn how water pollution looks. Become part of the “Keeping it Clean” team - take a pledge for clean water and show others how your are making a difference.

Water Footprint
Each day, Rochester Public Utilities pumps millions of gallons of water for our use. Where does it all go? We know the obvious ways we each use water: cooking, washing, drinking, irrigating, and flushing. But what are the hidden ways water is consumed on our behalf?

Down the Drain
Learn how the different processes at the Rochester Water Reclamation Plant are used to clean our wastewater while recovering energy and nutrients at the same time. The display teaches visitors about the personal actions they can take to help maintain our complex wastewater collection and treatment systems.

Watershed Floor Map
Do you know where the water goes that runs off of your property? This 17-ft floor map looks at the 910,337-acre Zumbro River Watershed where the Cascade Meadow Science Center is located. See if you can find us on the map; Or, take a closer look to see if your home is located in the Zumbro Watershed and follow the path a water drop that falls on your property might take as it makes its way to the Zumbro River and eventually out to the Mississippi River.

All About Aquifers
Water that settles in an underground reservoir of porous rock, sand, or gravel is called an aquifer. Much of our drinking water comes from aquifers, not to mention the water used for agriculture or industry. Because of natural filtration, the water in aquifers is usually cleaner than surface water above. This exhibit will show you how aquifers work, what each rock layer is and does, the difference between surface water and ground water, what aquifers affect your daily life, and what conditions can threaten them.

Wells & Wellheads
Do you know how your water gets to you? Come and learn about old wells and new wells and how they afffect the aquifers on which we depend. Learn about how pollutants can endanger the system. And play a game with marbles representing rainwater! Can you get the rainwater to the aquifer safely?


The Home Energy Connection
For most of us, the energy required to heat and cool our homes, light our living spaces, run our appliances, and manage our daily household tasks is largely invisible. Even for those who carefully track their monthly energy bill, translating units of electricity into the raw materials (coal, wind, hydropower) used to create them isn't necessarily obvious. The Rochester Public Utilities Energy Fun House teaches visitors to explore energy related topics in a fun, interactive way. Topics covered in the 200 square foot structure includes sources of energy, measuring and comparing energy use through common appliances, energy conservation through the Energy Star program, and how to search out and eliminate "phantom" loads.

Powering the City
You and two-to-five others are in charge of managing the power supply to a small-scale city! See how the power demand for the City changes throughout the day. Help prevent blackouts by supplying power by delivering coal to a power plant, speeding up the wind turbine, redirecting the solar collector, increasing the flow through the hydro-electric water turbine or reducing demand from the homes on the grid.

Building Data and Education Kiosk
Interested in how many watts of electicity our wind turbines are generating at that moment? How about how much energy our solar photovoltaic panels produced last month? Step up to the building data and education kiosk to find the answers to these questions and more.


Cascade Meadow Wetlands Contour Map
This touchable map with sculptural details features natural and constructed features such as the building, rain gardens, roads, and parking lot of Cascade Meadow. It also highlights the areas where all seven types of wetlands will be created - and their connection to storm water flow.

Wetlands Mechanical Theater

Wetlands are ecosystems that serve important functions. Over the course of a year, the role that wetlands serve changes with each seasonal change. This fun and interactive mechanical theater helps explain the seasonal cycle: As visitors turn a crank, they see a wetland scene as it goes through a series of changes that highlights its functions throughout the year.


Living with Wetlands
Wetland conservation is not an easy issue as it brings to light the competing demands of development and conservation. In this exhibit visitors can "step into the shoes" of three individuals with different perspectives on wetlands. These individuals include a farmer restoring wetlands on soggy farmland, a wildlife enthusiast using wetlands for recreational hunting, and a commercial developer faced with tough decisions about developing on a wetland area.