Body Carnival: The Science and Fun of Being You

Lessons for Brains and Bodies
The Children’s Museum of Atlanta

275 Centennial Olympic Park Drive NW; 404-659-5437; childrensmuseumatlanta.org
When: Through May 27. Mon.-Fri., 10 a.m.-4 p.m.; Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Cost: $12.75 plus tax for adults and children; children younger than 1, free.
Admission is free from 1-7 p.m. on the second Tuesday of each month, when the museum stays open later for “Target Tuesdays.”

   Ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages, welcome to Body Carnival! Upon entering the newest exhibit at The Children’s Museum, our boys dove head first – literally – into the Tunnel of Blood. Inside this space that our 3-year-old dubbed “squooshy because blood is squooshy, Mom,” we saw how arterial plaque prevents blood from flowing properly. The fact that it sounded like “growling bears” earned this  section bonus points. Next, we braved the Dizzy Tunnel, just one of 18 different stations in this exhibit about the science of our bodies. Considering motion sickness is my nemesis, I should not have scoffed at the warning sign. The moment my hands were off the railings and the spinning sensation started, I couldn’t get our 4-year-old out of my way soon enough. It didn’t stop me from going through several more times, however. Wearing bottle cap aviator glasses, the boys had to walk on a yellow line at the Goofy Goggles station. “I can do it!” our 4-yearold boy proudly shouted with each attempt. Unfortunately, neither he nor his brother did, which they refused to believe until I showed them pictures to prove it. We giggled a lot here. At Balancing Act we enjoyed experimenting with the center of gravity by placing metal rings on the arms of wooden dolls with varying bases. Requiring patience and thought, this was frustrating to a smaller visitor sitting nearby. In the Get a Grip center our youngest happily hauled up the heavy hands using ring-shaped handles as he learned how arms are levers and that tendons and finger joints work like a pulley system. My favorite station was Body Challenge. Both boys did the Arm Hang, which our oldest loved “because it was good  exercise,” and Think Fast, which tested reaction time. We liked the Calculation Station where they determined their height, weight, and how much water they should drink daily. We also attended two performances.

Terry’s Terrific Adventure prompted kids to ponder whether items were “sometime” or “anytime” foods and discover how to keep the evil plaque away: by being active, drinking water, and eating good food. After searching for vegetables in the grocery store, the boys got to make and try their own carrot-and-cabbage filled spring rolls as part of the Health and Nutrition show. The only downside was not being able to complete Walk the Plank and Human Yard Stick due to missing parts. As always, The Children’s Museum provided an afternoon of educational fun. You’ll have a blast testing your bodies and your brains at Body Carnival – and that’s no ballyhoo!

– Kat Sabo