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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Leonardo Da Vinci was ahead of his time, making discoveries in engineering, flight, anatomy and music, not to mention painting the “Mona Lisa”.

The Carnegie Science Center opened a new exhibit about Da Vinci, including 31 hands-on areas they created especially for kids.

Photo Credit: KDKA

From physics concepts like gears and pulleys, to engineering ideas like a bicycle and bridge, to art masterpieces like the last supper and the Mona Lisa, Da Vinci’s mind and hands were always at work putting his ideas to paper.

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“A lot of people don’t know that he was the first to think of a helicopter or a bicycle or the camshaft or the flywheel or all these things that we use in our daily lives over and over,” said Tom Zaller, who is with the company that created the exhibit.

Da Vinci’s drawings, like flying machines that he based off of birds and bats, and a bridge designed to be constructed in ten minutes for the military.

Photo Credit: KDKA

Bellicia Kenndey, a sixth grader at Schiller Middle School on the North Side, explains why Da Vinci would often write his notes in reverse.

“He wrote these backwards because he didn’t like the fact of other people being able to see his ideas and being able to steal it,” Kenndey said.

The students are learning how a helicopter flies. Sixth grader Gabe Osorio got his to go several feet high.

“I had to do some engineering,” Osorio said.

The breath of research and invention is awe-inspiring and kid inspiring.

“It motivates me to think I can do more than one thing,” said Alexis Thompson, a seventh grader at Schiller. “I don’t have to focus on one subject. I can learn about art and history and learn about a lot of other things.”

Osorio added that the hands-on activities inspired him to want to build more things.

Da Vinci the Exhibition is in the new PPG Science Pavillion at the Carnegie Science Center through Sept. 2. You do need a separate, timed ticket, which can be combined with science center admission or can be separate.

For more on tickets and prices and for more on other things to do with your kids, go to Kidsburgh.org.

Kristine Sorensen