Monday, May 18, 2015

The Academy of Natural Sciences: Animal Grossology

Things are going to be pretty disgusting this summer at the Academy of Natural Sciences, and by disgusting, we mean downright slimy, smelly, and squishy!  Animal Grossology oozes it's way into the museum starting May 16th until August 30th and will certainly be leaving a lot conversation about gross subjects behind.  The exhibit is fun, interactive, and a great way to learn about those topics that are usually looked at as inappropriate to talk about.

We love how Animal Grossology is set up so that even the more squeamish of visitors get to have a good time.  You're welcomed by a friendly parrot who explains how natural everything that you are about to see is and how humans are really the oddity when it comes to our bodily functions (standing in line to go to the bathroom??).  From there guests begin with more benign stations about hairballs, the different colors of blood out there, and owl pellets.  Everything is hands on, and before you know it, you're learning about blue blood and helping the cat get a hairball out.
Right in the center of the exhibit is a cow demonstrating how these common farm animals have very uncommon digestive workings (four stomachs for a very good reason!).  From there we were drawn next to the upbeat "Slime Game" where contestants listen to a panel of animals talk about themselves and then choose who they think is the slimiest before the correct answer is revealed.  Right next door the Grossology Zoo was a very popular part of the exhibit.  Read and listen to learn all about different dookie and then use the triggered binoculars to match the poo to the animal who did it.
Another popular part of the exhibit was the Belch-a-Baby where you not only discover what animal burps out its own young, but you can help try to get their babies to safety.  We also thought the Scents station was pretty clever.  Smell some really natural stinks and learn what they mean and how they got there.  Nearby, visitors discover the horror of how long tape worms can actually grow (including an unsettling time pulling a rope to see just how long that is - ew!).
As strange as it sounds, we really enjoyed the Vomit Slurpers station with the HUGE friendly housefly who is all too ready to tell visitors all about where he gets his food from.  The station that we wound up being the most squeamish about was the Blood Sucker Blow-Up.  If you've ever encountered a mosquito, leech, or tick, you'll understand why.  Fortunately this was toward the end of the exhibit, so by that time we were pretty desensitized to any kind of yuck.
Believe it or not, Animal Grossology completely normalizes (and even makes fun) the usually avoided topics of slime, blood, poop, and vomit.  Just like the more appealing parts of nature, even disgusting bodily functions are there for a reason.  For even more gross, visit the exhibit on Wednesdays for live dissections of worms, urchins, squids, and even a cow's eye, and check to see when the Cart of Curiosity is coming around.  (And don't forget to take the quiz at the end of the exhibit - were you paying attention or just going EW!?).

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  1. I'm sure my kids would love the section on poop...

  2. My boys loved the poop lol- Cheryl Gross

  3. This looks fun! I'm sure the kids would love it!

  4. We love bugs and all things gross, so this looks right up our alley!