Animal Secrets

Background 

With funding from the National Science Foundation, OMSI created two bilingual (English/Spanish) versions of Animal Secrets: a 2,500 sq. ft. traveling exhibition and a permanent exhibition for our early childhood exhibit hall. Animal Secretsinvites young children and their caregivers to explore the hidden habitats and secret lives of forest animals.

Challenges 

Create an immersive exhibition for young children that can be used to foster literacy in both Spanish and English. Design the exhibition to promote parent-child interaction, co-play and learning, all within immersive environments that easily accommodate adults and children.

Solution 
Evaluation & Visitor Studies

The Animal Secrets exhibits were extensively prototyped. Prototypes were each tested individually with visitors and all the exhibit prototypes were set up and tested with families, offering a “sneak preview” of the exhibition. This process allowed the team to evaluate the overall experience for visitors and to make changes in the final exhibits to create a more engaging exhibition.

Fabrication

Through dramatic play and multi-sensory, hands-on activities, visitors discover nature from an animal’s point of view as they explore immersive naturalistic environments, including a stream, woodland, meadow, cave, and naturalists’ tent. Many of the large environmental elements, such as the Discovery Tree, which has a chipmunk’s den in its base, and the life-size bald eagle’s nest, were cast from natural materials and retain all the rich texture of the natural world.

Traveling Exhibitions

Animal Secrets features 21 interactive experiences with bilingual graphic panels. Each exhibit component is designed for ease of transportation and maintenance. OMSI Traveling Exhibits has toured the exhibition to venues across the country, thanks to its wide appeal and bilingual development team.