Reno has a new resident for three days only, and she’s monstrous — but in a totally educational, fascinating, only slightly unnerving way.
Meet Megan, a 50-foot long, 15-foot wide and 12-foot high inflatable replica of the human body that is gracing the interior of The Discovery for three days only. Yesterday I was invited by Renown Children’s Hospital, who brought her to Reno, to get a sneak peek. So after spending an intriguing Thursday afternoon with Megan, here are my top 6 takeaways.
- You’ll be equal parts fascinated and creeped out when you round the corner to meet Megan: She’s absolutely ginormous, which means there’s something a little alarming at the sight of her. But you’ll soon get accustomed to her magnitude, settling in for the fun part: walking on her tongue and ducking beneath her teeth as you step inside. Yeah, never mind, still creepy. Which brings us to…
- If you have kids who are 5 and older (or if your younger kids have older siblings), be prepared for the anatomical jokes. Technically speaking, Megan is butt-less (the exhibit conveniently omits everything from the waist down), and yet still — you’ll undoubtedly hear something to the effect of “Look Mom, she’s pooping me out” as you exit the exhibit’s — how to put this delicately— posterior. And a word to the wise: Be prepared for endless repetition of the same punchline, because this joke will never get old with your kids. Trust me.
- Your children might go through the exhibit quickly, but I can guarantee they’ll want to go back again and again. Kids love tunnels, forts — basically, anything that makes them feel like they’re back in the womb — and MEGA Body is the ultimate cave. So let them go through it fast, then return with them time and again, pointing out something new each time.
- Repeat after me: “This isn’t a bounce house.” You’ll be saying this over and over, as the interactive exhibit has squishy organs on the inside that kids can’t help but want to touch. Just remind them to do so gently, and you’ll be good to go.
- The fun doesn’t end once she poops you out: Your kids will be talking about this exhibit for days, if not weeks/months, to come. And this dinner table conversation is exactly the point. “I love how it’s this larger-than-life visual to help us talk to our kids about anatomy, to see the structures, and to talk about what they each do,” said Elaine Cudnik, pediatric nurse practitioner with Renown Children’s Hospital. “I’m looking forward to talking to my 4-year-old over dinner about some of the concepts we’re seeing first-hand today.”
- There’s a special time to see Megan if you have a child with sensory sensitivities: Yes, Megan can be overwhelming, but if you visit her between 10 a.m. and noon on Sunday, you’ll experience what The Discovery calls “Discover Your Way” — a time when lights are a little dimmer, noises are a little more muted and the environment is tailored toward families with children on the autism spectrum. And this isn’t exclusive to MEGA Body: The Discovery offers this program of sensory-friendly exploration on the first Sunday of every month from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.
Bottom line (see what I did there?): Go visit Megan. You’ll be glad you did, and your kids will learn fun and fascinating facts about organs, diseases — and what it’s like inside a big, buttless, bouncy body.
If You Go:
MEGA Body at The Discovery
Friday and Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sept. 1, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 2, 12 noon – 5 p.m. (Open to children on the autism spectrum or with sensory processing sensitivities from 10 a.m. to noon Sunday only)
For a complete schedule (Renown Children’s Hospital is bringing mascots, therapy dogs and physicians to the event): click here.