How to make a Vortex Ring

Remember Alice in Wonderland? And the caterpillar smoking large vortex rings into the air? Well you can make your own giant smoke ring when you go to the 3rd level of the Arizona Science Center. See how below.

Forces of Nature

This is an exciting exhibit that is new for the Science Museum.

What you have is an immersive theater where you can experience the forces of nature in mesmerizing comfort.

You walk up a raised stage with guardrails.

The rails are there so you can watch the show and not be distracted by falling off the platform.

Forces of Nature immersive TheaterForces of Nature immersive Theater

Then the fun begins. You can feel the floor shake from earthquakes and thunder and lightning. There are huge screens where you can watch the weather change. And some nice surprises.

It’s delightful in the summer when you get a misty rain sprayed on you. Then there are heat lamps that give an eerie red glow and you can feel the heat. And huge wind machines that give the effect of being in a storm.

The show seems to run about every 15 minutes or so.

Sybil B. Harrington

So who was Sybil Harrington? You see her name on a sign on this level. Well Sybil had a money problem. In a good way! She was married to a Texas oilman and had a vast fortune to give away after she passed on. So she instructed it be given away. Make a long story short and you can see what happens to a nice donation with the Forces of Nature exhibit at the Science Museum. Problem solved!

The Sybil B. Harrington generosity can be seen in other places nearby. You may notice her name come up at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

How to make a Vortex Ring

Step One

First you place both hands on the sides of the contraption that has smoke coming out of the center. The video below has one hand because the other one is on the camera. Place both hands on the sides so you can get a good flat angle which will force the smoke ring up straight into the rafters.

Step Two

Give the ring a smart, quick push or you get mushy clouds and no smoke ring. This video shows what happens when some kids were whaling on the ring with random clouds. Either way it’s all fun.

Step Three

Enjoy the smoke vortex ring as it shoots into the rafters.

Other cool things on the 3rd level are the various displays that show the effects of nature on our planet. There are hands-on gadgets that let you see the effects of wind over water, water over sand, etc. Kids love it. Big kids too. Then there are the traveling exhibitions like Narnia that share the space on the 3rd level.

To find out more about the permanent exhibits, check out their website at

Return from Vortex Ring to Mesa-Goodlife
Return from Vortex Rings to Arizona Science Center

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