‘Grossology’ exhibit takes different approach to bodily functions


The entrance to the “Grossology” exhibit is a mouth, beckoning visitors to go inside. Photo credit: Floritzel Salvador

On Saturday, Jan. 16 the Gateway Science Museum opened a new exhibit influenced by the science book series “Grossology.”

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Henry, a Chico local, brought his little boy, Callum, to the “Grossology” exhibit for the second time in two weeks.  Photo credit: Floritzel Salvador


“Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body,” the children’s book series written by Sylvia Branzei teamed up with Advanced Animations to create the 2,500-square-foot exhibit full of life-like robotics and games.

As a previous junior high school science teacher, Branzei said the primary goal of this exhibit is for people to leave with more appreciation for science and to understand what is happening inside their bodies.

“It’s important for everybody, not just kids, to understand that our bodies are talking to us, so we need to pay attention,” Branzei said.

Jessica Edmunson, science and educational activities coordinator, said the museum was particularly interested in “Grossology” for its ability to open another dialogue for things that are not usually discussed, along with its educational components.

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A family enjoys the video game that teaches people about the human body. Photo credit: Floritzel Salvador


Unlike most exhibits, touching, climbing and some sniffing is required and encouraged.

The “Skin Crawl Wall” invites visitors to scale the skin-like wall while using warts, pimples and other skin nodules as holds. There is an arcade-like video game called, “Urine The Game” and a station called “Sniff, Sniff” where visitors have the chance to smell four scents and guess what unusual body part is the host: foot, mouth armpit and anus.

As he left the museum with his two kids, Chico local Jake Clifford said, “It was totally fun! Because we like to talk about farts and burps at home.”

The “Grossology” exhibit offers displays that have to do with “gross” parts of the human body. Here the display, “Snot Snot,” talks about how the nose produces snot. Photo credit: Floritzel Salvador


The biggest attraction in the exhibit is “Nigel Nose-It-All,” a water faucet with a runny nose who talks about allergies and snot.

A “Burps and Belches” station is set up so kids can pump liquid from a 3-foot soda can which ends up causing them to release a giant burp. Here visitors can read about the process and causes of burping.

The robotic lifelike machines that were used in the exhibit stunned a lot of museum visitors, even Branzei.

“The first time I saw the exhibit it was like the book totally came to life,” Branzei said. “It was beyond anything I could have imagined.”

A large operation-like game is placed in the middle of the exhibit where the objective is to remove body parts from the cartoon character without touching the sides or else a noise would alarm. But for groups that wish to play a game against each other, the “Grossology” trivia game is the best bet. Four podiums are placed in front of the screen as the players race one another to buzz in the answer to science and biology questions.

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Abby Smith enjoys learning at the exhibit. Photo credit: Floritzel Salvador


The “Grossology” exhibit will be held until May 8 at the Gateway Science Museum located at 625 Esplanade. Museum hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. Ticket prices are $7 for adults and $5 for children.

Michael Arias can be reached at [email protected] or @mikey_arias on Twitter.