It took about half a dozen visits to the TELUS World of Science Edmonton for me to convince my 4-year-old twin daughters to visit The Body Fantastic. There was just something about that giant face that greets you as you walk in the door that made them feel a little uneasy about the exhibit. I don’t know if it was the one googly eye, the giant nose, or the gaping mouth with its oversized, bumpy tongue.
Then, finally, one day they agreed to give it a try. As my A approached the tongue for a cautious inspection, something else caught E’s attention – a glowing, white robot known as the RoboThespian. She started to wander toward it – until it talked and moved, causing her to leap back about six feet and grab my arm.
Needless to say there are surprises around every corner inside The Body Fantastic – and it’s all presented in the style of an old-timey carnival. Signs everywhere compel you to: “Look if you dare!”, “Try your luck!” and “See!” Something remarkable.
It’s an incredibly interactive gallery that appeals to kids in a big way. There are stations to sniff (both the good and the not so good!), sounds to make (think of some you might rather not hear in public) and plenty of hands-on fun.
Just how long can you hold your balance on a wobbly skateboard? How does food pass through our large intestines? Do you have the reaction time of a lion tamer? Why does a crazy carnival ride make you feel so dizzy?
You can even test your blood pressure! (I think I can safely skip my annual physical with results like this, right?)
Opportunities to press buttons, turn cranks, jump on equipment, and of course, take cool photos, appear all over this permanent gallery. Perhaps its piece de resistance (at least for the younger crowd) is the far back corner, known as the Gallery of the Gross. There may be no better way to get kids interested in science than by appealing to them at the lowest level – potty humour!
The Gallery of the Gross features yucky smells, microscopic beasts, and of course, instructions on how to play a symphony of bodily functions! The entire section is separated by a curtain of tiles that look like they’re made from gooey green slime.
We spent the better part of an hour playing our way through The Body Fantastic. On our way out we stopped to see the RoboThespian again. My daughter continued to cling to my arm, but this time she was also a keen listener to the animated, glowing robot.
As we walked out, I asked E what her favourite part of the TELUS World of Science is. “The Body Fantastic” she said with a sly smile. I posed the same question to A, who gave me a big grin and her typical answer:
***July 31, 2019 Update – The Body Fantastic will be closing on September 3, 2019 to make way for a new gallery!***
When: Open daily during science centre hours until September 3, 2019!
Where: 11211 – 142 Street, Edmonton
Cost: included with day admission or annual pass