Aside from the opening chords of The Electric Slide and the sound of someone yelling “free gently used shower curtains,” few humans understand what makes the body move. Gain a deeper understanding with today's Groupon: for $25, you get two admissions to the Body Worlds & The Brain exhibit and all museum exhibit halls at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) (up to a $50 value).
The world-traveling exhibit Body Worlds has captured the wonderment of more than 33 million people worldwide with artful displays that expose the inner workings of real human bodies. The collection of 200 bodies and organs have undergone plastination, a process invented by Dr. Gunther von Hagens that perfectly preserves all organs and tissues of the specimen while allowing doctors to arrange it in any dynamic pose. Each subject's epidermis is removed to reveal elaborate musculature, bone formation, and veins, as well as a build-up of frustrations long trapped under the skin. Many of the subjects arch in graceful, sporting poses, revealing the powerful beauty of human bodies. Part sculpture, part health lesson, Body Worlds also allows patrons to take a close look at smoke-damaged lungs and brain matter affected by neurological disease. The neurological emphasis of this exhibit lets humans study one of the body's most amazing organs, the brain, which is rivaled in mystery only by the secretive gallbladder.
The entire Earth spins inside of OMSI, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. It's as if visitors have launched into outer space, where they can see everything—clouds forming over North America, hurricanes churning in the tropics, and millions of animals in migration. Night falls, and the major cities light up Earth's continents like misshapen Christmas trees. Just then, the planet disappears, and in its place rises a spinning orb of fire and violent solar storms: the sun. The display, appropriately titled Science On a Sphere, is actually a 6-foot animated globe powered by a series of video projectors. It serves as the perfect centerpiece for OMSI's Earth Hall, which explores geology, tectonics, and everything else that makes Earth a living planet. The hall's exhibits let visitors control wind turbines and launch satellites into space.
Earth Hall is only one section of the museum, however. More hands-on activities wait within Turbine Hall, where kids design bridges and boats. Visitors can tour the USS Blueback, a U.S. Navy attack submarine that guarded the Pacific for 31 years, or gaze towards the heavens inside of Kendall Planetarium, which uses real-time 3D graphics to transport audiences into the very heart of black holes. Even Theory, the onsite eatery, has an educational focus. The restaurant's displays explore food sciences while Chef Ryan Morgan and his team use local ingredients to cook meals in full view.
Although every corner of OMSI sparks scientific curiosity, the museum's educational programs take things one step further. The faculty hosts astronomy camps and teaches 50-minute interactive labs in which kids might make soap or dissect a squid—a requisite skill for any future biologist or sushi chef.
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