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Arts and Entertainment

'Animal Grossology' brings the yuck factor and science together at Discovery Place
New exhibit opens June 1
 
Published Wednesday, May 29, 2013
by Michaela L. Duckett

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PHOTO/DISCOVERY PLACE
Animal secretions and other gross facts of life are explained in the exhibit "Animal Grossology" at Discovery Place.

Get ready to be totally en-GROSS-ed.

Plop into an interactive exhibition that takes a slightly different view of Fluffy, Fido and the rest of the animal kingdom when “Animal Grossology” opens at Discovery Place on June 1.

Featuring sophisticated animatronics, interactive learning games, and imaginative animated characters adapted from the best-selling “Grossology” children’s book series by author/science teacher Sylvia Branzei, the exhibition oozes with disgusting science. Get a fresh take on some of the more disgusting things animals do and how blood, vomit, pellets and more can be fun, funky and fascinating.

“Sometimes big science concepts and language can be overwhelming and confusing to kids,” said Robert Corbin, Discovery Place’s vice president of learning experiences. “But we all know that slime, vomit, and other gross stuff fascinate your average 5- to 14-year old. What better way to engage them in real life science topics?”

“Animal Grossology” introduces scientific concepts in ways that make kids giggle. They’ll learn that cows are one of the gassiest animals on Earth and actually produce the greenhouse gas methane and why the dung beetle is nature’s living pooper-scooper.

There are plenty of fascinating facts for adults as well. Find out why scientists are studying slug and snail slime production for clues in treating cystic fibrosis while examining the science behind some of the grossest animals on the planet, from vomit munchers and slime makers to blood suckers and dookie lovers.

“Animals can be stinky, slimy and disgusting, but even excreta-eating insects have a purpose and often make our lives easier,” said Corbin. “There is a fine line between the ick factor and the science factor, and understanding things better can make them less disgusting and more interesting. Science is sometimes just plain gross, and this is a chance to dig deeper into the reasons why animals do what they do.”

Exhibition highlights include:

Dookie Lovers – It’s a doody to think about, but poop solves the answer to many animal mysteries and some creatures depend on it for survival. In the Dung Ball Rally, visitors become a scarab beetle and compete against others in a challenging chase. Party Pooper will test your brain as you track which animal left doo-doo in the penguin’s icehouse.

Blood Suckers – Examine different blood-sucking critters and how and why they suck blood, including leeches, which can be used after some surgeries to help with healing. Learn the four different colors of blood and match the blood to the animal, while finding out how you can protect yourself from diseases transferred by ticks, mosquitoes and other bugs.

Slime Makers – Ever get slimed? Slime is a very important ingredient for many animals and provides many important functions such as motion, digestion and defense. Play the Slime Game and vote for the slimiest critter, dive into the ocean and take an underwater or have a “touchy feely” experience with something squishy, scratchy, spiny and scaly.

Vomit Munchers – Regurgitate the fascinating science of animals and how and why they vomit. Visit the Chew Chew Express where you’ll learn how a cow uses four stomachs to aid in digestion or try the Pellet Purge to discover what an owl had for lunch. This exhibit area spews chunks of knowledge including wisdom from a large talking fly sitting atop a cookie, who announces that he vomits on food when he lands on it and then laps up the barf.

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