COSI Exhibits Explore Fast Cars, Deadly Poisons

Julanne Hohbach
A diorama depicting Columbia's Chocó rainforest is part of COSI's new “The Power of Poison” exhibition.

If you haven’t been to COSI lately, the science center has two new exhibits that are worth checking out—plus five more on tap for 2019.

Right now, visitors can learn about “The Power of Poison,” thanks to the ongoing relationship with the American Museum of Natural History, as well as a hands-on Hot Wheels-themed exhibit. Next year, families will find a wide range of topics to suit many interests, from deep-sea exploration to Muppets, reptiles to unicorns.

New Perspective on Poison

“The Power of Poison,” the second companion exhibition to the American Museum of Natural History Dinosaur Gallery at COSI, explores toxic substances and their roles in both historical and modern-day contexts.

The exhibit, which opened Oct. 20 and continues through Jan. 13, also challenges visitors to put the impact of poisons into perspective. For example, salt is dangerous in high doses, yet people can’t survive without consuming it.

Travel through a Colombian rainforest to see how animals leverage toxins to their advantage, and explore the use of poison in mythology, folktales and literature (including Snow White, Harry Potter and the witches of Macbeth). Families can flip the pages of an “enchanted book” whose words and pictures appear and disappear, see a live show that explores the roots of toxicology, and gather clues to solve three mysteries. Don’t miss the live golden poison dart frogs, aquarium, Chilean rose hair tarantula and Gila monster.

Hot Wheels

Car lovers will want to speed over to “Hot Wheels: Race to Win,” which offers the chance to play and learn with die-cast and life-size vehicles. The STEM-focused traveling exhibit, from the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis and Mattel, celebrates the toy’s 50th anniversary and includes numerous hands-on activities.

Visitors can participate in a Pit Stop Challenge to change tires and refuel the car; see racing parts and memorabilia; and race Hot Wheels cars on four different tracks. Hot-rod enthusiasts will appreciate getting a look at a 2018 Acura TLX from Honda R&D Americas and a 1964 Chevrolet Impala SS from Jim “The Rev” Herring of Delaware. Catch it through Jan. 6.

Upcoming Exhibits

COSI also has announced the 2019 exhibit schedule, which offers a combination of natural sciences and imaginative themes. Mark your calendar for:

  • “Crocodiles: Ancient Predators in a Modern World,” which will feature loads of information about crocodilian species as well as live baby alligators and crocodiles. Look for it Jan. 26 to May 5.
  • “Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids: Mythic Creatures” will take over the AMNH rotating gallery space Feb. 23 to Sept. 2.
  • “The Jim Henson Exhibition: Imagination Unlimited” is a traveling show from the Museum of the Moving Image that features more than 20 puppets (including Kermit the Frog, Bert and Ernie), memorabilia and interactive elements. Check it out May 25 through Sept. 2.
  • “Unseen Oceans” will take over the AMNH space from Oct. 19 to Feb. 2, 2020. This traveling exhibition explores the remote reaches of the world’s oceans, the creatures that dwell there and the technologies scientists are using to learn more about them.
  • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Secrets of the Sewer,” a fall exhibit for younger guests, allows visitors to solve puzzles, work their way through mazes and obstacles, learn about ninja tools and immerse themselves in the TMNT universe. Catch a dose of turtle power Sept. 21 through Jan. 5, 2020.

Both the Hot Wheels and Poison exhibits are included with standard admission. For more information, go to