The Museum of Science and Industry just made keeping our families healthy a little easier.
"You! The Experience" takes visitors on a journey through body, mind and spirit in a way that's relevant, interesting and even fun. More than 50 interactive stations within the 15,000-square-foot permanent exhibit, which opens Oct. 8, teach kids about everything from the role of laughter in our lives, to setting sleep patterns and examining what and how we eat.
From the "Laughter Garden," where movement motivates a variety of faces to laugh, to the human-sized "Hamster Wheel," which provides real-time feedback on how your body responds to aerobic activity, my sons loved making things move.
Beyond the physical fun, "You!" provides a very personal experience. Cameras and screens predict how you age inside and out based on your life choices and the giant heart uses digital imagery to beat in time with yours. As my son jogged, he watched the heart beat faster and learned how activity affected both the blood flow and electrical impulses in his heart.
Meanwhile, my other son used the "Vein Viewer" to watch his blood pulsing via an infared camera. The boys loved battling each other at the "Compete to Relax" game, which read their brainwaves to move a ball between them.
The exhibit goes beyond simple scientific anatomy by examining why we behave the way we do. By showing us the direct relationship between the choices we make and the way our bodies react, the exhibit teaches without preaching. You can even take the experience home. At several spots you input your personal data and "record" it onto your admission ticket. You can then access your experience at home via the museum's Web site.
With everything this exhibit has to offer, families should leave themselves plenty of time to explore. "You! The Experience" is included with general admission. General admission will be free on weekdays from Oct. 8-30. For more information, visit www.msichicago.org.
Alena Murguia lives in Berwyn, Illinois along with her husband and three growing sons.
See more of Alena's stories here.