Getting a glimpse of the body’s inner workings won’t require an anatomy class this fall – just a trip to the leading informal science education center in the South Florida region. The West Palm Beach-based South Florida Science Center and Aquarium will let visitors see more than skin deep when the world-renowned Our Body: The Universe Within exhibit debuts on Saturday, October 22. The seasonal exhibition includes approximately 200 real-life human specimens in a fascinating, artful, educational and dignified display. The exhibition is presented in partnership with Jupiter Medical Center and Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. and will be on display through April 23, 2017.
“Our mission is to care for the health and wellness of our community, and education is crucial to the cause,” said Jupiter Medical Center President and CEO John Couris. “When we heard the Science Center was working on this project, we were immediately enthusiastic about the opportunity to partner because this is sure to be a blockbuster exhibit, one that will raise awareness about health, wellness and the unlimited potential of science.”
Appropriate for all ages, Our Body literally goes “under the skin” on an organ and systematic level to reveal the mysteries of human anatomy. Visitors will tour more than 5,00-square-feet of three-dimensional human bodies, specimens and organs, which were preserved using a process known as polymer impregnation.
Polymer impregnation is a relatively new method of preservation whereby bodily fluids are replaced by liquid plastic, which is then hardened to create a solid, durable anatomic specimen that will last indefinitely. Most impressively, the process leaves even the finest, most delicate tissue structure virtually intact, down to the microscopic sphere, making the process invaluable for medical study.
The goal of Our Body: The Universe Within is for exhibit-goers to leave with a deeper understanding of the body’s form and function. Guests will connect on a very personal level with these human artifacts as they use them to better understand their own bodies.
“We hope people walk away with a much stronger appreciation for staying fit and healthy,” said Andrea Bradley, President and CEO of Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. “One way we work to improve the health of our Palm Beach County residents is by providing health information and resources so they have the tools to incorporate healthy behaviors into their daily lives.”
“This is one of the most popular and most riveting traveling exhibitions on the museum circuit, and we know guests will be lining up to get a glimpse of the science beneath the skin,” said Lew Crampton, Science Center CEO. “Normally only doctors and scientists are allowed to see this extraordinary in-depth look at the human anatomy, which makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”
As guests enter the exhibit, they will have the opportunity to examine the human body as a whole. The exhibit continues by examining, in depth, each of the body’s major systems, allowing visitors to see firsthand how they function and relate to other systems. In the human body there are 11 organized “systems” to ensure an individual’s survival, with such functions as metabolism, responsiveness, movement, reproduction, growth, differentiation, respiration, digestion and excretion. The systems are muscular, skeleton, nervous, digestive, respiratory, defense, reproductive, urinary, circulatory, endocrine and hematologic. Each is detailed through beautiful and intricate displays of the human body, paired with signage explaining functions and processes.
“This rare opportunity to see the human body from the inside – to see real-life examples – is also likely to spark an interest in children to seek careers in science and medicine,” continued Crampton. “It is an honor to partner with Jupiter Medical Center and Palm Healthcare Foundation, Inc. to bring ‘Our Body’ to South Florida. Both organizations are well-respected leading authorities in the health and wellness of our community, so having their partnership and support is invaluable.”
Our Body: The Universe Within was developed and provided by the Anatomical Sciences & Technologies Foundation in Hong Kong. The specimens in the exhibition were provided by various accredited Chinese universities, medical schools, medical institutions, research centers and laboratories to further the goals of the Anatomical Sciences & Technologies Foundation which are to promote educational and medical research of the human body.
The South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is located at 4801 Dreher Trail North in West Palm Beach and is open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and on Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Admission to the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium during Our Body: The Universe Within is $16.95 for adults, $12.95 for children ages 3 to 12 and $14.95 for seniors aged 60 and older. Science Center members and children under 3 are free. Planetarium shows are not included in general admission pricing.
The mission of the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium is to “open every mind to science.” Named the 2014 Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches’ Nonprofit of the Year, the Science Center features more than 50 hands-on educational exhibits, a 10,000 gallon fresh and salt water aquarium- featuring both local and exotic marine life, a digital planetarium, conservation research station, Florida exhibit hall, Pre-K focused “Discovery Center” and an interactive Everglades exhibit. In an effort to continue to meet the informal science education needs of the community, the Science Center will soon open an 18-hole mini-golf course, the “Conservation Course,” and more than 25 interactive exhibits in the Science Center’s “backyard.”
For more information about Our Body, or other Science Center programming, please call 561-832-1988 or visit www.sfsciencecenter.org. Like the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium on Facebook and follow them on Twitter and Instagram @SFScienceCenter.