Plantastic! A fun new interactive science exhibition at World Museum Liverpool

A fun new interactive science exhibition reveals the wonderful world of plants from trees and shrubs to fruit and vegetables and flowers and herbs – and shows how they interact with people, animals, insects and each other.

‘Plantastic!’ Open 13 February – 5 September 2010 is aimed at 7 to 14-year-olds and their families with plenty of activities to keep both younger and older visitors entertained.

PlantasticForty great interactive mechanical and multi-media exhibits and games uncover the secrets of this amazing world where visitors enter a magical realm with giant leafy canopies, massive seed pods, huge root systems and strange man-made trees.

There are areas where visitors can relax and be inspired by nature or find out more about topical issues and their effects on plants such as biodiversity and climate change.

‘Plantastic!’ explores the following themes:

• Moving – plants may not have legs but they can still move!
• Feeding – plants don’t need to go to the shops for food….. they make their own.
• Reproducing – it’s not just about the birds and the bees … plants have a sex life too.
• Surviving – plants existed long before the dinosaurs and have found countless ways to adapt and evolve.
• Key to the exhibition is the message that while we use plants in our daily lives, often without realising, they are essential for our own and the world’s survival.

John Millard, director of World Museum, says:

“Visitors suspend reality in the five themed zones which take them through new experiences in a fun and revealing way. Plantastic! aims to change perceptions about our astonishing natural world.”

Some of the highlights from the exhibition’s zones are:

Moving features super seeds, edible fruit and exploding seeds. Visitors can blow on a huge dandelion and watch the seeds fly away. A four-foot high pile of real-looking dung illustrates how seeds are dispersed by animals. Visitors can speed up or slow down film of a squirting cucumber as it bursts and spits out seeds.

Feeding has a scary giant Venus flytrap that lives off insects that land in its jaws. Visitors crawl through a tunnel underneath a tree – they meet underground creatures, a mole and rabbit. Leaves and flowers move with the sun and a multi-media game allows children to try their hands at caring for plants. The process of photosynthesis is explained – how plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

Reproduction looks at pollinators such as bees and how pollen can be carried on the wind. Visitors have an insect’s eye view of flowers, see pollen grains on a massive scale or test their powers of smell.

Surviving shows how plants have evolved and adapted. Visitors play a multimedia game to select their defences against some predators. They feed a character with wild fruits and plants to see which are tasty and which are to be avoided. Food chains are illustrated to show the subtle balance of nature. Amazing fossil prehistoric plants are seen from hundreds of millions of years ago.

Providing focuses on how people use plants to eat and survive. There’s an exciting quiz based on a food store. Trees are instruments in an enchanted musical forest. Visitors play a pinball machine to collect wild fruits. We meet plant ancestors and see how they lived – and also learn how to reduce our carbon footprints.

Thorny Issues are debated with four exhibits that tackle some topical issues. Visitors hear some of the arguments surrounding the issues and compare their viewpoints to those of previous visitors to the exhibition.

World Museum William Brown Street, Liverpool L3 8EN

Admission FREE Open 10am-5pm every day Information 0151 478 4393