Access The City – Body Worlds Exhibition

Body WorldsIn between viewings at the NYICFF last Sunday, we visited the Body Worlds Exhibition in… Times Square. Insert scary sounding ‘duh duh duuuuhhhhh’ here, as we had to brave Times Square 2 times this week! The other was to shop with 6 young teens girls!  It’s been a busy week for us heading in and out of the city!

Body Worlds is a fresh take on Bodies: The Exhibit that traveled around North America, and eventually landed in South Street Seaport for years.  It’s since closed, and Discovery Times Square is currently hosting this one on West 44th Street.  Admission ranges from $19.50 to $27 a ticket, depending on age, and they also offer group rates for field trips.  It’s not a bad price when you consider the extent of work that goes into the exhibit, but it took us less than an hour to go through – so that’s something to consider when dropping almost $100 for a family of four.  We bought our tickets on travelzoo.com for only $17 a piece!  So look around for a discount.  They are definitely out there.

At 14, Laine is a good age for this exhibit.  I took her when she was just 13, but she was much more engrossed in the exhibit than last time.  We are also learning systems anatomy right now, so the pieces on display were much more interesting to her than the previous time.  Any younger than 13, and I think the exhibit would be a bit extreme.  It’s literally bodies with the skin removed, and tables of organs and bones laid out.  Some of the organs are diseased, having ailments like cancers or ulcers.  There are also unborn babies on display, which my daughter found fascinating, but others might find a bit traumatic.

Certainly, the Body Worlds exhibit can be considered graphic and some might call it irreverent to our bodies.  I’m a science nerd though, and think that learning through seeing is such a valuable way to understand and appreciate our incredible bodies.  If you are thinking of visiting this exhibit, keep in mind that if it’s a part of a human, it will be on display.  There will be nothing covering delicate areas, or private parts!  Be sure your whole group will be alright with this.  Also, prepare your children and teens for what they will see.  While I believe what you learn from this exhibit outweighs the uncomfortable nature of some of the displays, they might react immaturely, inappropriately, or with laughter or even disgust.  Talk to them about how to stifle inappropriate comments, and encourage them to ask questions, or simply walk away from a display that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Above all, remind them before, and during the exhibition, that the bodies on display belonged to someone.  They aren’t molds or sculptures.  People donated their bodies for this purpose after death, that we might learn from them.  That deserves respect, and at the very least, for people not to call them gross.  Be sure your kids understand this before heading in, and gently remind them during if they need it!

Laine’s said it was hard to say there was a ‘favorite’ part, since seeing an exhibit like this isn’t something you get excited over, but just something you learn from. She would tell you the things the liked seeing the best were the unborn babies in various stages, because even while it was sad, it was so incredible to see them as they are forming.  She also thought the digestive track was most interesting, as well as many of the various bones and skeletons.  It gave her a better understanding of their size and shape, and helped her visualize what she is learning.  She had great questions throughout the exhibit, and that showed me that she is comprehending what she is learning about.

All in all, I’m very glad we went to Body Worlds.  I would have liked to see a few more exhibits that were interactive, since it’s a very ‘hands-off’ kind of place.  Videos explaining things, or touch computers would have been a nice touch.  You cannot take photos inside the exhibit other than at one specific place about halfway through, so leave the fancy cameras behind.  There is a free bag check, but they weren’t accepting coats when we were there.  Otherwise, it’s well worth the adventure into Times Square!

Have you been to DTS?  Their exhibits are always changing, and they also have a Lego exhibit right now.  They’ve also got a bakery and a really cool gift shop.  If you’ve been, or are going, I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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