Animal Inside Out

Last week, I took my son and his friend, both age 11, to the Museum of Science and Industry's newest must-see exhibit: Animal Inside Out A Body Worlds Production. The exhibition explores the anatomy, biology and physiology of creatures large and small, with a few humans thrown in for good measure. Admit it. You're curious.

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The last time that physician and pioneering anatomist Dr. Gunther von Hagens's plasticized creatures were on display at the Museum and Science and Industry was in 2011, with the more macabre Body Worlds exhibit, which featured on the human body in all its skeletal and circulatory glory. Animal Inside Out is decidedly more approachable.

The animals on display have been preserved via plastination, a process which replaces fluids with plastics. The plastination process is also able to "peel back" layers of the featured animals, revealing intricate blood vessel, muscle and digestive systems, giving viewers a unique view into the spectacular biological systems that rule nature. You'll have the chance to sneak inside a rabbit's brain and catch a shark frozen in action. (All of the animals featured died of natural causes - so no animals were harmed as this exhibit was created.)

Animal Inside Out

"Usually you see specimens as skeletons or taxidermies. At Animal Inside Out, Museum guests will see animals in a whole new way," said Anne Rashford, MSI's director of temporary exhibits. "The process of plastination, which removes the fluids from the body and replaces them with plastics that harden, allows guests to see the most incredible details of the body."

Some parts of the exhibit might be a bit creepy for some, this exhibit is bound to elicit some interesting, thought-provoking conversations with your kids. There is a plastinated human on view - talking casually on his smartphone - that both shocked and fascinated my son's friend. The giant, plasticized bull testicles elicited a few laughs and jokes (some exhibit panels introduce animal reproduction). Otherwise, no nightmares were reported.

Animal Inside Out

The exhibit is open to all ages, but children under the age of 13 must be accompanied by an adult. Entrance tickets are not included in general admission and require a timed-entry ticket. Tickets are $12 for adults and seniors (age 65 and older) and $8 for children (ages 3-11). Discounted tickets for MSI members are $6. Advance tickets are highly recommended. Final exhibit entry is an hour and 15 minutes before Museum closing.

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