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Meet the Microbes: Discovery World exhibit explores the world of germs

Discovery World takes a really, really, really close look at the Human Microbiome with a new program that examines the microscopic world that lives in everyone.

Trillions of microbes make their homes inside every human body, and Discovery World will introduce the Milwaukee public to that microscopic ecosystem. Opening Saturday, May 13, Discovery World’s newest exhibit, Zoo in You, allows guests of all ages to explore this fascinating and complex world inside us that is our microbiome — a dynamic, adaptable, and delicately balanced ecosystem much like any other found in nature.

At Zoo in You, guests can learn who our constant microbial companions are, where they live, how diverse they are, and in what ways scientists are discovering just how important they are to our personal health. Visitors are invited to explore this vibrant world of our inner microorganisms through engaging, interactive, and bilingual exhibits and programs.

“Discovery World is thrilled to bring this exciting traveling exhibit to our community,” said Paul Fladten, Discovery World’s Senior Public Relations Manager. “Zoo in You finds fun ways to explore the fascinating and complex world that lives in all of us while also bringing us face-to-face with the reality that we are made up of trillions of tiny organisms.”

Zoo in You has three thematic areas: Meet the Microbes, Our Complex Ecosystems, and Exploring our Microbiome:

Meet the Microbes

Guests are taken on an interactive journey to learn all about the four major types of microbes that live in and on us! From bacteria to archaea, fungi to viruses, these tiny non-human organisms outnumber our human cells ten to one. Through hands-on activities, visitors can learn about “good” microbes, watch how our microbiome reacts to every day occurrences, and manipulate a marble maze to learn how a newborn baby is first colonized by microbes.

Our Complex Ecosystems

Delve deeper into the lives of microbes with green screen technology to get a “weather report” on the climate conditions of your nose, mouth, gut or skin, and a touch-screen video game that challenges guests to keep gut microbes in balance. Adults and kids alike are invited to explore the eye-opening hand “washing” station to observe just how long it takes to be free of germs.

Exploring Our Microbiome

Guests can get up close and personal with microbes as they answer tough questions and use a microscope to examine real preserved specimens. Visitors can also build their own viruses using puzzle pieces, assemble DNA strands as quickly as possible, and even try their hand at matching DNA patterns to the correct microbes. Plus, a unique photo opportunity allows guests to imagine what they would look like as a microbe.

Zoo in You was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This exhibit was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, Discovery World is Wisconsin’s largest science and technology center that’s fun for the whole family. The 120,000-square foot facility is home to interactive exhibits, fresh and saltwater tanks in the Reiman Aquarium, and a multitude of educational programs.

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Discovery World

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