Ever wonder what animals look like inside out? If your answer is something along the lines of, ‘that’s disgusting,’ a new exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry just might change your mind.
Chicago Parent recently had the chance to walk through “ Animal Inside Out,” an exhibit that displays more than 100 plastinated animals, from baby camels to full-size giraffes to an ostrich with outstretched wings. Plastination, which removes the fluids from the body and replaces them with plastics that harden, lets visitors see everything from the animals’ muscles to organs to blood vessels to the internal circuit of the nervous system.
The exhibit is fascinating and amazing, but it’s also not for everyone. These are real animals, often with the skin and eyeballs on one half of their body and the muscles and organs showing on the other. While some of the kids in the exhibit were intrigued and excited to see the details of the inside of a giraffe or reindeer, from intestines to muscles frozen in action, other kids found the exhibit a little too graphic. And very young children, who are used to all the interactive aspects of the museum itself, may find it hard because this is a ‘no touch’ exhibit.
We talked with one mom who visited the exhibit with her 5-year-old and 7-year-old daughters. Her younger daughter was quickly bored with looking at the animals, while her older daughter was fascinated and wanted to understand every detail of each animal’s inner workings.
My daughter, who hopes to become a nurse someday, said the exhibit was one of the best she’s seen in a long time. She studied each animal and read the accompanying information about it. She was also glad to know, thanks to a sign at the very beginning of the exhibit, that no animals were killed for this exhibit.
But because there are things like a dog with just its blood vessels showing, a horse head cut into three sections, and a plastinated human male at the end of the exhibit, it’s best to use your judgment with your children before deciding whether or not to take them into these galleries.