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Miniature Sequoias & the Sierras

Most of us here at Monster City Studios are fascinated with miniatures and scale models. Realistic, whimsical or caricature, all of them are welcome here! When we were presented with the change to build a 70 foot long compressed version of the Sierra Nevadas last year we jumped right at the chance.

The Imagine U Children's Museum in Visalia, California asked us if we could build an interactive, outdoor display that could educate the local children on where much of our water comes from and what that water can do to help us. Of course we took on the challenge that eventually became "The Wonderful Water of the Sierras" exhibit. We built the entire exhibit from fiberglass cast in rock molds pulled from giant boulders! The mountains feature over 100 exterior grade pine & sequoia trees, some of which are nearly 3 feet tall! The river & rapids flow at nearly 3000 gallons an hour...

The journey starts at a small, old-fashioned style water pump. Pumping the handle makes a rain cloud open up over the high Sierras which in turn simulates rain water or snow melt. This water runs down many small creeks and consolidates into a river. The river backs up into an old logging lake behind a small concrete dam. Water flows over the face of the dam and courses either to a rubber duckie launch pad, where kids can launch rubber duckie races or to a whirlpool exhibit and on to the operating water wheel. Kid's can open an irrigation valve that lets water flow over an old fashioned water wheel. When the water wheel moves, bright LED lights turn on inside the mill house, helping to explain the transfer of hydro energy to electrical energy.

Downstream, the river flows past a 1:23.1 scale farm and barn as well as a working windmill. The water ends up in Lake Imagine U where kids can see whose duckie won the river rapids race.

Check out the video below to see the action...

Give us a call at 1-559-498-0540 is you have any questions!

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