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 anewscafe.com 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.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.