It’s one thing for the Science Center of Iowa to have fun, interactive experience platforms that permanently reside inside. It’s another that they bring fantastic traveling exhibits like “Facing Mars,” “Body Worlds,” and “Da Vinci – The Genius” on a regular rotation. Now, the Science Center has one-upped themselves by bringing in a brand new exhibit, “National Geographic Earth Explorers.” When I say brand-new, I mean it. This is the world premiere of the exhibit. As I was told at the media preview on Thursday, it was shipped directly from the factory in which is was created. Representatives from National Geographic are on hand for this weekend’s grand opening and are going to be a great resource for families and future explorers to converse with as they walk the exhibit.
“National Geographic Earth Explorers” takes visitors through 5 primary areas of our planet: the oceans, rain forests, mountains and caves, polar regions, and the savannas. Each area gives you a look into the kind of equipment used by the explorers, the wildlife they encounter, and what it takes to live and work in the extremes of each area.
The polar region area was particularly my favorite. The cabin gives you a look at how the scientists live and even how they eat. While in the region, the explorers are forced to eat 2.5x the amount of calories we regularly eat at home. There’s a small puzzle that visitors can use to help create an average day’s meal based on the needed caloric intake. It’s pretty fascinating stuff.
You can even find out more about new technology called “Critter Cam” where scientists place cameras on animals like sharks and elephants so we can see exactly what they see in their day to day lives. There’s several examples of the “Critter Cam” on display.
The exhibit also offers a “second screen” opportunity. Before you leave for the Science Center, download the “Earth Explorers AR Experience” app for your iPhone or iPad (only works on Apple iOS devices). Then, bring your device for some added extra fun for the kids. They can collect virtual items and even get a look at some 3D animations of animals or insects that they would encounter in the various regions. It’s a natural progression for Science Center exhibits and makes them even more interactive.
“National Geographic Earth Explorers” opens to the public this Saturday and there’s big events planned all weekend in the exhibit. As always, the exhibit is included with your regular Science Center admission. Take the whole family and do some exploring this weekend!