Grossly Educational Exhibit Arrives at Turtle Bay


Snot. Boogers. Farts. Burps. Gas. Poop. Zits ...  

Excuuuuuse me? No apology necessary. It's a special day at your local museum where topics once considered disgusting and distasteful are embraced as educational and thought-provoking learning opportunities. Plus, animated characters like Stinky, Burp Man, Nose-Picker, Barf Baby, Barf Man and Crowd Pickers provide colorful ways to illustrate why bodies produce "mushy, oozy, crusty, stinky gunk."

Granted, Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body may not resemble your grandmother's childhood museum experience. But then, your grandmother probably didn't know that:

• The human bladder can comfortably hold about 2 cups of urine.

• Notrils take turns inhaling; first one nostril is in charge for a few hours, then the other nostril takes over for the next 3 or 4 hours.

• Feet sweat because soles have about 250,000 pores that squirt about a quarter of a cup of liquid each day.

• In some cultures, mothers suck snot from their babies' noses and then spit it out.

• In yet other cultues, urine is still used to tan leather.

• People produce between 1 cup to 1/2 a gallon of gas each day.

•  A sneeze shoots out of the human body at about 100 miles per hour.

• Humans swallow about one quart of snot each day.

• Ear wax coats the insides of ear canals to trap nasty stuff like dirt, dust and even bugs. The ear wax naturally dries up and forms little balls that drop out when we yawn, chew or swallow.

• Noses are at their optimum smelling ability when people are about 10 years old, which is why kids probably notice gross smells more quickly than grown-ups.

Who knew? ... Well, anyone who's paid attention to Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body, an exhibit that opened this weekend at Turtle Bay Exploration Park in Redding and will be there through Sept. 5.  

In addition to a plethora of gross written trivia, the exhibit also includes hands-on, interactive features, such as a "Gas Attack" pinball game, and the "Burp Machine," and "Urine: the Game." Little museum visitors can also ride on on the GI slide, climb a replica wall of human skin, and shoot "pollen" balls into a giant nose and wait for the nose to blast out the balls with a sneeze.

There's even a giant table with a sorry-looking flattened fellow whose body is reminiscent of a smaller version of the "Operation" game, but where the object is the same: Use the special tweezers to remove body parts without touching the sides so a buzzer won't go off.

Toby Osborn, the park's marketing and sales officer, said that it took one week for park staff to assemble the exhibit, which arrived via four giant trucks. He said some parts were especially memorable.

"We really struggled getting the nose inside the room," Osborn said. "It took about 10 guys to get it in here."

Osborn, whose personal favorite part of the exhibit is the previously mentioned 10-foot-by-14-foot nose, said the exhibit has "something for everyone" - but especially children. He said school tours are already booked for the next couple of months.

The exhibit Grossology is 10 years old, and in that time has toured the country. It's based upon the book by the same name by science teacher Sylvia Branzei.

Grossology is a ticketed exhibition. Admission is $3 for members (Adults, Children & Seniors). Guest admission is $5 for adults and $3 for Children and Seniors (plus Park admission, $14 for Adults and $10 for Children and Seniors - Park admission is FREE for Members).

 The park is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.

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7 Responses »

  1. I know this is going to be a wonderful exhibit, but I'm really unhappy about the extra price added on to the admission. We are TB members and enjoy going all the time. An extra $17 for me to take the kids to see this exhibit just doesn't sit right with me, but we will suck it up and go anyway.

    • Doni, the admission price is $3.00 for everyone - children and adults....we went there today.

      It is a super fun exhibit, and there were lots of activities and new things to learn. We really did enjoy it...despite my grumblings up above.

      • I didn't say that quite right. Park admission is free to members Let me go clarify that. Thanks, Grammalyn. (Here's how T.B.says it on its site: Grossology is a ticketed exhibition. Admission is $3 for members (Adults, Children & Seniors). Guest admission is $5 for adults and $3 for Children and Seniors (plus Park admission, $14 for Adults and $10 for Children and Seniors - Park admission is FREE for Members).

  2. Alas! This is what our wonderful North State museum has become. Designed to exhibit the history, geography and culture of upper Sacramento Valley, it has devolved into a roadside tourist attraction. Hidden away is the remarkable collection of native baskets (one of the finest collections in the world). The beautiful Ansel Adams collection, which the 'museum' owns and which was donated under the assumption that a least pieces of it would be on view ...gone! What a waste and what a sad end to a nice dream.

    • Also soon to be gone; the parking lot, the cafe and the lovely gift shop with the water be replaced by a multi story hotel and an 88 seat restaurant (think Rivers!)

      What are they thinking?

  3. Okay, a wonderful exhibit to display gross body fluids to show kids information they no doubt already know about. Why? And the Turtle is charging extra to see this side show. Why?

    I'd like to see the Ansel Adams photos. I have a large Adams hanging in our living room of Half Dome in winter at Yosemite National Park. He was a giant of Photo art.

    This grossology exhibit is nothing to sneeze at.

  4. Thank you all for the comments! Here are some responses to your questions:

    1) We charge extra for blockbusters like Grossology because they are large, complex shows that are expensive to rent, and we believe our community still deserves to view these shows.

    2) Grossology is designed to spark children’s interest in science, using topics to which they can relate.

    3) The Ansel Adams collection is traveling but we plan to have it here at Turtle Bay in 2012.

    4) We are continuously rotating baskets from our collection on display for the public. They are typically in the large glass exhibit case next to the art gallery entrance.

    We hope to see you at Turtle Bay this summer!


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