The Impolite Science of Grossology Returns to OMSI

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Back by Popular Demand, Exhibit Opens September 29

Grossology Exhibit at The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.


This exhibit provides a perfect opportunity for them, as well as adventurous adults, to learn about the body’s ‘distinct inner workings’ in an environment that makes the experience fun!

What makes a nose run? Why does drinking soda make us burp? Where does food travel during digestion? The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) invites visitors to find the answers to probing questions like these and more as they explore all the slimy, mushy, oozy, scaly and stinky gross (yet scientific) things that occur every day inside us. Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body opens at the museum September 29.

Adapted from the best-selling children’s book, Grossology, by author and science teacher Sylvia Branzei, the internationally touring exhibition uses sophisticated animatronics and imaginative features to explain the good, the bad and the downright ugly about runny noses, body odor and the like. Visitors have the opportunity to be a kidney, climb a human skin wall, and walk through a giant nose, not to mention visit the Vomit Center, stop by the Toot Toot exhibit, play Gas Attack pinball, and even slide through a 3-D model of the digestive system.

Grossology’s last Portland appearance at OMSI in January 2001 was so wildly popular, museum organizers were inspired to stage an encore. “Kids are innately fascinated by their bodies and how they work,” says Director of Museum Education David Perry. “This exhibit provides a perfect opportunity for them, as well as adventurous adults, to learn about the body’s ‘distinct inner workings’ in an environment that makes the experience fun!”

As a teacher, writer, curriculum designer and microbiologist, Branzei explains the concept of Grossology as a learning tool. “This is science in disguise,” she says. “If we teach students in their own words, they’ll understand better and actually learn something.”

The Grossology exhibition was created and produced by Advanced Animations, LLC., in collaboration with Branzei and Science World British Columbia. It will be on display at OMSI from September 29, 2012 to January 6, 2013. The price of the exhibit is included in paid museum admission. Members are free. For more information, visit

Exhibition Overview/Highlights:

What’s in a Nose?

  •     Visitors can learn about how their nose functions from the animatronic Nigel Nose-It-All, who covers everything from allergies, sinuses, runny noses and even provides snot trivia.
  •     Microscopes will be available to guests with slides featuring all things responsible for runny noses.
  •     In the Tour du Nose feature, guests enter an enlarged cartoon-like nose where they can explore 10 realistic nasal features.
  •     In the Up Your Nose feature, visitors learn how boogers form by launching pollen balls into an oversized nose, which quickly shoots them back out in the form of a sneeze.

Just Passing Through: Digestion Demystified

  •     Guests can slide through a 30-foot long 3-D model of the digestive system, exploring the track from the mouth to the large intestine.
  •     Urine: the Game helps visitors examine how the kidneys remove waste from the blood.
  •     Backdrops replicated from the title book display pages of interesting facts as well as human models and drawings, plus an endoscopy video showing the digestive process.
  •     At the Vomit Center, guests will take a deep look into the digestive system to find out what causes disturbances in the gut that can quickly become projectile.

Gas Blasts: Trigger Causes of a Not so Glamorous Bodily Function

  •     Gas Attack pinball helps kids keep score of which foods create the most gas in their bodies.
  •     At the Toot Toot display, gaseous inquiries are met with feedback from rubber tubing and air that demonstrates the real science behind passing gas.
  •     The mystery behind burps is unveiled by an interactive cartoon character who drinks soda from a three-foot can. Visitors assist by pumping the can full of liquid while they wait for the build up to create an eruption.

Additional Features:

  •     Y U Stink is an area that challenges guests to match body odors with their sources. The rules are simple: sniff, select, and see your results!
  •     At the climbing wall- a giant replica of human skin featuring “extras” of all kinds- visitors can get an up-close look at common things like pimples, warts, hair, and moles while using these elements as foot holds.

About OMSI
Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) is one of the nation’s leading science museums, a world-class tourist attraction, and an award-winning educational resource for the kid in each of us. OMSI is located at 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, OR 97214. For general information, call 503.797.4000 or visit

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