Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Exhibit: The AstraZeneca Human Edge at the Ontario Science Centre

This month the Ontario Science Centre has opened its first new permanent exhibit in seven years. The AstraZeneca Human Edge combines cutting edge research with exciting, interactive experiences to challenge our assumptions about our own limits and educate visitors about the achievements of the human body. Boo and I attended a preview event last week, and even though the exhibit wasn't 100% complete I had a really hard time getting him out of there when it was time to leave! There's lots of interactive stations and manipulatives to engage the kids, and lots to learn about the wonders of our bodies.

First stop was the climbing wall. Just a low wall for the kids, with padding on the floor. A huge hit with everyone there! I believe a higher climbing area was still in the works when we visited.

The Human Edge includes over 80 individual exhibits, centred on five themes: In the Beginning, Mind and Body Limits, Personal Limits, Pushing Past the Limits, and Outer Limits.  "In the Beginning" is about birth and genetics, and is quite interesting. But I will warn you that there are exhibits discussing eggs and sperm, as well as on how the baby leaves mom's body. There is no discussion of how the sperm gets where it needs to go, and Boo didn't ask, but I thought you should know what to expect if you have younger kids!

Quintuplets. They look cozy, hey?

Have you ever been to the CN Tower and walked on the glass floor? Well, this exhibit has a similar feature. Walking through a darkened, elevated room, the lights suddenly come on to reveal a glass floor with a deep drop underneath. The drop is accentuated with mirrors. Thankfully the glass floor is framed on both sides so if, like me, you are particularly afraid of heights, you can walk beside it instead of over it. As you exit there is an information panel about fear and heart rate. It's pretty cool.
At this interactive station you race against a competitor you design. You can decide if he/she will be athletic and healthy or not. Then pump a pedal as fast as you can and see how you compare! Boo tried every combination I think.

Checking out an actual elephant heart. Kinda big, hey?
My little scientist.
I've hardly touched on the breadth of exhibits included in the Human Edge. It's definitely worth a visit (or more), and since it's a permanent exhibit you'll have many opportunities to check it out. The Ontario Science Centre is always a great outing with the kids, and it's great when new content can be discovered. Trying to fill the days over the holiday break? Why not head to the OSC!

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