In short, in most cases, no. Which is fine, it's great for kids to simply be in an educational-themed area and see that science-related concepts can be fun. So if kids didn't walk out of the Center with a newfound knowledge of the planets and gravity, that's ok. However, I did see that the only way kids could learn in the Science Center (aside from reading all the placards and displays) was the Ask Questions. Maybe they didn't understand why their tower fell down when the activated the earthquake smasher...but if they at least wondered why, then they've learned enough. Maybe they didn't know why the tornado generator only worked if you covered up all the air-holes, but hopefully they learned that there's many things in the world they don't understand. The only way kids...or anyone...actually learns anything is to first realize that they don't know something....and then go figure it out. That's what the Science Center (and school in general) is all about. If you're just shoving stats and facts in kids faces, they're not going to retain a thing.
So today's outing was fun, and maybe even a little educational. I think I learned something about learning. But not science...seriously, they really need to update that place. I guess I need to go more so they have more money.