“Circus! Science Under the Big Top” opened at Exploration Place
Visitors to the new “Circus! The Science Under Big Top exhibit can try contorting their bodies to fit an acrylic box. Courtesy picture
You don’t have to run away to join the circus. The circus – in the form of a science-focused exhibit – comes to town all summer long.
“Cirque! Science Under the Big Top” opens Friday, May 26 and runs through September 4 at Exploration Place.
Billed as showing the science behind the show, “Circus!” includes rides where visitors can guess “Who Dung-it?” in a display of fake excrement, learn about the psychology behind circus sounds and learn about the maestros of circus music. One exhibit will show how the brain lights up when experiencing humor, while another will allow visitors to enjoy the smells of carnival food.
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There’s even a show tent with interactive screens. During a pre-opening tour, Daniel Bateman, Exhibits and Program Manager for Exploration Place, showed how visitors can test their strength against strongman Mighty Atom and get a reading of their strength, from the Tiny Terror level. In another area of the tent, an X-ray screen shows the path of the sword in the act of swallowing Countess Vanessa’s sword. Visitors can even try contorting their bodies to fit inside an acrylic box (smaller and more flexible people are probably best left).
In another immersive exhibit, kids can dress up in costumes ranging from circus animals to ringmasters.
There will also be two harnessed attractions, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Visitors can try a wire act from 9 feet in the air or feel like a trapeze artist with the use of bungee cords and a trampoline.
Tickets to participate in harnessed attractions will be available at a kiosk in the exhibit. Only six passes for each attraction will be available for each 30-minute time slot and will be distributed at the start of each hour. The minimum height requirement to participate is 46 inches, and the maximum weight allowance is 250 pounds for the bungee acrobatics act and 400 pounds for the high wire act. Close-fitting, well-fitting shoes are required for the high thread count.
To keep attendees safe, a dedicated team has been hired to follow safety protocols and manage harnessed attractions, Bateman said.
If you don’t have the opportunity to try the tightrope, there is a screen where you can test your balance as if you were walking a tightrope.
“It’s something that anyone, no matter their size, height, shape or weight can try,” Bateman said.
The Circus!” was created more than 20 years ago by the Ontario Science Center in Canada and has since traveled across North America and parts of Asia, said Mike Chisholm, project manager at the Ontario Science Center who oversaw the installation at Exploration Place this week.All display information panels appear in English and French, Canada’s two official languages.
To accompany the theme of the exhibition, Exploration Place has programmed four nights of an interactive screening of “The Greatest Showman”, the 2017 film starring Hugh Jackman as PT Barnum, founder of the famous traveling circus Barnum & Bailey. Film screenings at 7 p.m. on June 8, 15, 22 and 29 will include performances by local musical artist and former “American Idol” contestant McKayla Stacey. Tickets are $18.
A second exhibit will also open Friday at Exploration Place, along with “Circus!”
“Pixel Palace,” an in-house created exhibit that will run until October 22, uses advanced motion sensor technology, touchscreens and projection screens to create an immersive experience in the game room. The exhibit includes an Everbright wall, a sort of high-tech version of a Lite Brite screen that has dials that can be turned to different colors, rather than lighted pegs. The wall will eventually be on permanent display elsewhere in Exploration Place, Bateman said.
‘Circus! Exhibition “Science under the marquee”
Where: Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd.
When: Friday-Sept. 4; hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with extended hours until 8 p.m. on Thursdays
Admission: $12 for 12-64 year olds, $10 for 3-11 year olds and 65 and over, free for members and 2 years and under for exhibitions only.
Budget tip: Kansas families with children in kindergarten through 12 can visit for free using the single-visit All Access Pass available through the Sunflower Summer app, which is funded by the Department of Education. State. The program also allows two accompanying adults to visit for free. The program runs until August 13 or until funds run out.
More info: 316-660-0600 or exploration.org