Spooky Science and The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Written by Norman Gidney. Posted in Discovery Science Center, Features, In the Parks

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Published on October 25, 2013 at 5:00 am with 1 Comment

The Discovery Science Center in Orange, Ca is probably one of our favorite local places to go and go have family fun.  There is never a dull moment at this interactive hive of learning.  Each season they bring something new and interesting in to enjoy.  This year is no exception.  Not only do they bring back the popular Spooky Science, they roll out a fun, creepy, cool exhibit based on Ripley’s Believe it or not.

Spooky Science

Spooky Science has returned, running from now until October 31st, to offer a special brand of gooey, gross, and fun learning that kids seem to really enjoy.  We brought our own kid, Alex, from the Just Ask Alex videos, to explore and give us his opinion

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Immediately he went straight for the Spider stand and began collecting stamps to mark his learning progress.   Did you know the difference between and insect and a spider?  Insects have 6 legs, spiders have 8.  Spiders are unique in that they spin webs to catch their prey.  Did you know that there is a spider large enough to catch and eat birds?

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Another wild learning station displayed a large collection of pumpkins.  Our particular favorite was the Fairytale Pumpkin.  Who knew there were so many distinct varietals of these halloween gourds.

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Alex seemed to really enjoy the exhibit overall.  The collection learning the random facts about weird and creepy things got his mind working and the sinister cogs in his brain spinning.  The highlight, of course, was the slime making station.  Using normal household chemicals, assistants help kids create their own small baggie of gooey slime.

Then, of course there was  the 3D spooky maze.

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The maze, is more a demonstration of the ChromaDepth technology than a maze.  Brightly colored, blacklit art covers the passageways, seeming to literally pop off the walls.  It’s an interesting visual trick that is fascinating and entertaining, without the scares.

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The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

But this Halloween Season, the cube is home to The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not! , running now until January 5th.  What is it?  It’s a nicely fleshed out exhibit that not only holds a large collection of Ripley’s oddities and objects, but it also explores the science behind them.

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One of the more fascinating aspects the exhibit covers are the extremities of nature.  For instance, you can measure yourself against the world’s tallest man.  His name was Robert Wadlow.  Born in 1918, died in 1940, Robert measured a staggering 8 feet 11 inches. Here at the science center they have a life-size animated figure of this gentle giant that you can stand next to and measure yourself against.

In the jaws of a Megaladon shark.

In the jaws of a Megaladon shark.

Another rarity is a replica of a prehistoric snake named Titanboa.  Kids will have fun climbing and crawling in and around this fiberglass creature.  While adults may ponder running into this creature in the wild and shudder.  Pretty fascinating stuff.

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One major highlight for us was the explanation of shrunken heads.  These aren’t a figment of  the imagination.  No, they are very real!  In fact the science center has three actual shrunken heads on display!  So gross, so scary, so interesting.  Guests are even told how natives took human heads and miniaturized them.

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But Ripley’s exhibit isn’t all about the gross and terrifying.  There is a wild collection of art that was inspired by Mr. Ripley’s curious collection.  Have you ever seen a camel made up entirely of children’s toys?  Or perhaps you would be interested in artist Willard Wigan created sculptures so small they fit into the eye of a needle?

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Camel toy!

There’s a lot to enjoy.  But if these exhibits do nothing for your younger ones there are fun little kiosk games that they can play as well, answering questions based on wheat they have seen in the ensemble of oddities.

The bonus is that this new traveling exhibit is included in museum admission.

There will also be special events held each remaining weekend in October too.  From the Discovery Science Center Website…

October 12-13: Unbelievable Magic
You won’t believe your eyes this weekend as we present an astonishing magic show that will have you rethinking the idea that seeing is believing. Come see a live magician perform a fun magic act!

October 19-20: Creepy Crawlers
Join us this special weekend as we highlight our six and eight legged friends through shows and activities that will have you itching all the way home! Come check out presentations with Dr. Sue’s Insect Zoo and an NHM Entomologist where you will learn all about bugs and their habitats and food sources. You can touch them with your own hands, or just sit back and watch them do their creepy-crawly-thing!

October 26-27: Jack-O-Lanterns
Get into the Halloween spirit with this special weekend festival filled with pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns. Check out a special display of expertly designed Jack-O-Lanterns and see a giant pumpkin from Tanaka Farms!

 

If you haven’t found anything for you and your family to do this Halloween, this is a wonderful place to go.  Creepy but fun, spooky but not scary, the Discovery Science Center is a wonderful alternative for families this Halloween season.

 

About Norman Gidney

Norman Gidney, also known as Fishbulb, produces and edits many of the articles on MiceChat. Tune in every Tuesday for the Orlando Parkhopper and every Friday for In The Parks. But you'll also find his photos in the Weekly Round Up, SAMLAND, and numerous other columns on the site.

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1 Comment

Comments for Spooky Science and The Science of Ripley’s Believe it or Not are now closed.

  1. Very cool! That seems like the kind of thing that would come through our science museum, COSI – hopefully it will someday!