Been There, Done That: Brain – The Inside Story at the AMNH
On the heels of watching Megamind, we were in a brainy mood. Luckily the American Museum of Natural History was too. Their new exhibit, Brain, The Inside Story, was a lot of fun, and there are facinating takeaways for all ages.
You enter into darkness, and are presented pulsating lights moving along wires hanging from the walls and ceiling, a cool representation of the intricate communication network of neurons firing through the mind. (The display was created by Spanish contemporary artist, Daniel Canogar). After that intro, you are lead to watch a film of a dancer who is preparing for a recital, while next to the screen, a giant brain lights up as the parts of the brain are explained as she uses them.
After that, it's a free-for-all of interactive activities - some more interesting for adults and some great for kids. Both would enjoy the color test where there were 10-15 colors listed on the wall, written in different colors (red – written in orange, yellow – written in green, etc.) You had to say aloud the color it was written in (rather than the word itself) and see how fast you could do it. It is surprisingly difficult to keep your brain from being distracted by the written word.
There were hands-on neuron simulators, blurry pictures of sports, music and political figures that were recognizable despite their inexactness and numeric and pictoral memory games. Most tellingly, there was an interactive video where a mom told a child that he couldn't have a cookie. Then kids using the interactive could choose their next move (e.g. listen to mom or grab the cookie), while the monitor told all the feelings and physiological changes (stress, sweat, rapid heart) that would result from their actions. Needless to say, I saw 10 kids take this test, and each and every one of them opted to disregard mom's advice and steal the cookie. Not so sweet!
In our obligatory pass through the gift shop we got the obligitory squishy brain ($5.00), where when you squeeze it, the eyeballs pop out.
Totally recommend this. Go early or purchase tix in advance (we took two trips to the museum this weekend as Saturday was sold out ).
Now thru August 15, 2011, @ American Museum of Natural History – Central Park West at 79th Street.