This article was written by Derek Delmar and originally posted to his blog, I AM CALGARY. Derek is a lifestyle blogger and Calgary Influencer, promoting people’s stories, family-friendly activities, and cool destinations in and around the city. He and his wife love all-things family and they love to travel. Derek can be followed on Instagram and Facebook.
The 100-plus exhibits of mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish that are on display in various forms at Telus Spark’s Body Worlds exhibit take the visitor on a journey from invertebrate water creatures through to the sophisticated structure of upright, biped humans.
The extraordinary technique of plastination, developed by German anatomist Gunther von Hagens in 1977, enables us to see the miracle of life’s intricate anatomy of numerous specimens on display in various creative yet realistic arrangements.
Muscles, skeletons, digestive systems, cardiovascular system and neurological systems are laid bare for us to see.
The variety of species on exhibit is a drop in the proverbial ocean of what could be displayed.
The travelling exhibition – which must be a logistical nightmare to relocate and set up – does a phenomenal job exposing visitors to a diverse variety of species, animal sizes, and biological systems.
From the tiny display of comparative heart sizes of a carp, frog, snake, pigeon and rabbit, to the towering mass of the graceful, galloping giraffe, there is much to see and assimilate.
Taking the time to slow down and appreciate the awesomeness of what’s on display is a real challenge.
I was awed by the opportunity to actually hold and examine a human heart and also shake hands with a de-gloved human arm.
One of the many neat things about the exhibit is the fact that there is something that will appeal to everyone.
Children will no doubt be transfixed by the massive bull, the camel and her calf, or the towering giraffe.
Adults will be intrigued by the way the cardiovascular and neurological systems have been captured and presented.
However, the common theme of the entire exhibition of reconstructed animals is that they are all very graphic!
For many of the exhibit items – particularly when viewing the subcutaneous mechanics of a limb or even an entire animal – one can, perhaps, disassociate from the identity of the original being.
However, for those exhibits where remnants of the skin or furry covering is still in place or has been partially peeled away, or where the face is still intact, it makes these eerily more personal and real.
Despite this, I was amazed at how engaged and interactive the busy groups of kids were that visited the exhibition on the day of my outing. I don’t recall hearing anyone objecting to what they were seeing. There was also no sign of pale-faced, puking guests who couldn’t stomach the displays.
While visitors will be captivated, there are numerous exhibits where guests may see their domestic pet stripped down to its “under-garments” or bare bones.
I couldn’t help but wonder what author Beatrix Potter might have thought upon seeing the matrix of blood vessels of a rabbit and a duck, side-by-side in a glass box. Would she have written differently about Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck?
Will children be left wondering whether Santa will be able to deliver their gifts this Christmas once they see the deconstructed galloping reindeer duo that seem to be preparing to take flight? One can almost picture them with a sleigh in tow.
And how will viewers respond to the segmented horse head, the cut-away of the camel’s internal organs, the muscle-structure of the striding bull, or the anatomy of the faceless human?
There is no doubt about it: Seeing the Body Worlds: Animal Inside Out exhibition (running until 1st March 2020) is worth every dollar you spend on your entry to the Telus Spark Centre.
If some members of your party are a little less interested or become somewhat squeamish about the exhibit, there is no shortage of other interactive displays to see around the rest of the Centre.
Visit the larger-than-life IMAX nature shows at the Dome Theatre or learn about the weather phenomena affecting Calgary and our surroundings in the Earth & Sky exhibit. Interact with the engaging Energy & Innovation displays or diffuse some pent-up energy at the outdoor Brainasium play park. Browse through the Spark store that offers a treasure-trove of toys, souvenirs, and gift ideas.
These are just some of the regularly updated exhibits and activities that are always on display at Telus Spark, which has something for every member of the family to engage and interact with.
This place is most definitely not just for kids, but will certainly unleash the inquisitive kid in everyone!