Monday, October 25, 2010

Animal Grossology: a special exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

What it is: This exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences is inspired by the children's book series by Sylvia Branzei, and features child-centered interactive exhibits about all that deliciously yucky stuff: slime, burps, vomit, poop, and so on. It holds about 12 separate displays, all of which are interactive: one frog belches its babies out after incubating in the male's mouth, and the exhibit has kids launching little green balls with spring-loaded pistols into an area with different obstacles. Another has the four parts of a cow's digestion all lit up and moving. The favorite among kids was the submarine from which you can crawl up and slide down through the guts of a moray eel.

What we liked: When we were there, the exhibit was completely uncrowded and we really got to spend time with each display. While both my four- and my two-year old girls enjoyed it and interacted with everything, my four-year-old actually understood the idea, and remembered things about the color of different animals' blood, or how poops differ among species. There was a docent occasionally offering explanations, and they could really explore freely without getting in trouble. Most exhibits needed a little parental setup: a little time to explain how to work the display, explain rules and maybe put in the science explanation too.

What we would change:
We sincerely had nothing but a good time, but I could see how when it's crowded the exhibit could be too much. First thing in the morning, especially Saturdays when there are no school groups, are probably ideal.

Website and other important information:

Exhibit website:

Dates and Times: The exhibit runs October 2, 2010 until April 24, 2011. The exhibit is open 10-5 daily, except Sundays when it opens at noon. On first Fridays it stays open late until 8pm.

Admission: Entry into the museum itself is free, but the exhibit costs $8/adult, $5/senior or student, and $4 for kids 5-11. Kids 4 and under, and Museum Friends, are free.

Address: 11 Jones St., Raleigh, NC 27601

Phone Number: 919.733.7450


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