Keeper of the Plans

New Exploration Place exhibit full of interactive superhero games

A replica of half of the 1966 George Barris Batmobile is at the “Hall of Heroes” exhibition.
A replica of half of the 1966 George Barris Batmobile is at the “Hall of Heroes” exhibition. Courtesy

Superheroes are everywhere these days.

They dominate the big screen with big-budget blockbusters, and even the small screen, with shows like “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” now on Netflix.

Now Exploration Place is getting in on the craze.

On Saturday, Exploration Place will debut its latest traveling exhibition, “Hall of Heroes,” an ode to superheroes and the science behind them.

The exhibition, designed by Stage Nine Productions out of Sacramento, Calif., will be at Exploration Place through the end of 2017.

It’s sort of a blend of science and science-fiction, and it’s hyper-interactive.

A lot of the stations in the “Hall of Heroes” are like arcade games – a station demonstrating agility skills is similar to “Dance Dance Revolution,” and there’s a robotic arm that you can control like a claw game.

“Ultimately it has to be fun first,” said Troy Carlson, CEO of Stage Nine Exhibitions. “It has to be a topic that engages, and this is a fun topic.”

The exhibition is divided into four sections, each providing a glimpse into different eras of comic books, and the social and political forces that collided to create that era’s heroes.

Some of the highlights: a replica of the 1966 George Barris Batmobile, an interactive wind tunnel, a grip-tester, and other interactive exhibits.

Carlson said his company specifically designs exhibitions like this to cater to curious children.

“They want to touch, they want to feel – we wanted to make everything as hands-on as we could,” he said. “It engages them and keeps the information in snippets. We know the amount of words people will read – if you get too long-winded, they just walk on.”

To accompany the traveling exhibit, Exploration Place has a new film screening in the Boeing Dome Theater and Planetarium, “Supervolcanoes,” which technically could fall under the “superhero” mantra.

Much of the museum’s programming through the summer will be superhero-themed, as a tie-in with “Hall of Heroes.”

The traveling exhibit will be at Exploration Place longer than most – a typical traveling exhibition is at the museum for about three months. Christina Bluml, director of marketing for Exploration Place, said “Hall of Heroes” is at the museum longer to compensate for the amount of time museum staff are spending to renovate its permanent “Design, Build, Fly” exhibition set to open in early December.

The arrival of a replica of a Xiphactinus’ head on Wednesday, April 5, 2017, at Exploration Place is a preview of the updates that are going on at the science center. The creature is an ancient fish that lived millions of years ago in the seas cov

Hall of Heroes

What: New traveling exhibit opening Saturday and running through Dec. 31

Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays and noon-5 p.m. Sundays; closed most Mondays

Where: Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean Blvd.

Admission: Adults, $9.50; ages 65 and older, $8; ages 3-11, $6; ages 2 and under free

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