Vintage blue Chevrolet Bel Air at COSI

Explore “¡Cuba!” at COSI in Columbus

The Center of Science and Industry delves into the vibrant culture, history and biodiversity of this Caribbean nation.

Cuba spans 4,000 islands and is home to 11 million people, but its rich culture, undisturbed biodiversity and complex history have long remained unfamiliar to many who live in the United States. An ongoing exhibition at COSI — Columbus’ Center of Science and Industry — offers the opportunity to learn about this fascinating place by way of interactive exhibits that tell Cuba’s story through science, the arts and the voices of the people who call it home.

Although it’s located just 90 miles from Key West, Florida, Cuba remains largely unknown to those in the United States as tourism to the island nation has been limited since 1960.

“[Cuba has] a fascinating history, fascinating culture, incredibly diverse people, food, music and traditions,” says Frederic Bertley, president and CEO of COSI. “You can’t hop on a plane and easily get to Cuba, but you can come to COSI and get a great experience of what the Cuban culture — what the people — are like.”

COSI’s “¡Cuba!” offers visitors a flavor of the island nation. Walk down a re-created Cuban street to see a produce stand filled with local crops such as bananas and pineapples, bicycles painted in the nation’s colors and a 1950 Chevrolet Bel Air car representing the classic American automobiles that are plentiful there to this day. Videos, art and words of some of the nation’s citizens offer a deeper look into life in Cuba. The country is also home to many animal species, from tropical fish that live among coral reefs to large owls that reside in rocky caves. These exhibits provide a sense of Cuba’s geography and extreme biodiversity. 

“¡Cuba!” comes to COSI in partnership with the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The institution provides COSI with both permanent and traveling exhibitions that contribute to greater scientific and cultural understanding. 

“We need to think beyond our borders,” says Bertley. “America is an amazing country, and we need to learn our own history, but we need to learn and discover and understand other cultures, other histories, other countries.”

333 W. Broad St., Columbus 43215, 614/228-2674,