Gross! COSI picks body exhibit

Staff Writer
Columbus Parent

Elijah Staley excitedly climbed the stairs into the giant mouth and slid down through the esophagus, landing in the stomach. He then crawled out through the oversized rectum, ending up in a giant pool of, um, fake poop. "That's my favorite part!" the 5-year-old said as he scanned the room at the Grossology exhibit at COSI Columbus.

His mom, Thea Staley of Cincinnati, laughed as she watched her son scamper off to the Toot Toot giant fart display. It's fun to be 5. "This is a great way to teach kids about science," Staley said, noting that the family traveled to COSI especially for the science exhibit. "He's already learned all the science terms."

Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body is a traveling exhibit on display at COSI through May 9. Based on the best-selling book series Grossology, the exhibit features giant animatronic displays of body parts and bodily functions, aimed at teaching children the science behind how their bodies work. Heavy on the truly gross stuff.

From the Vomit Center and Urine the Game to the Tour de Nose and the Gas Attack displays, the exhibit teaches children about science in their own words, COSI spokeswoman Kelli Nowinsky said.

One of the more popular features includes a skin climbing wall, which is a replica of human skin complete with things such as pimples, warts, hair, moles and other skin blemishes, she said. "It teaches children why their bodies produce some gross things at times," she said. "The giant nose has lifelike features such as nose hairs so kids can see and understand how the nostrils work. Other displays offer kids a chance to smell various odors your body produces to let kids know how that works," she said.

The 6,000-square-foot exhibition features 20 interactive displays and games, costing COSI $140,000 to rent until May, Nowinsky said. COSI hopes the exhibit will continue to attract crowds above the center's normal attendance, particularly through spring break, she said. "The exhibit has traveled the country for the last seven years and has had a very positive response from the public," Nowinsky said.

For Nishad Prabhu and Hamza Abdullahi, both 12, the best (and grossest) display is the Nigel Nose-it-All display, which features a giant character with an oversized nose that drips large drops of snot. "Ugh," Prabhu said with a laugh as he leaned in to get a closer look. "That's so disgusting."