If riding a bike across a cable in the air, watching metal shavings dance to "Technotronic," and differentiating moose poop from dinosaur dung sounds like a good time to you, then check out the Arizona Science Center on 6th Street and Washington.
The 120,000 square foot facility houses tons of interactive exhibitions on three floors, covering topics like biology, geology, weather, and technology. The current featured exhibition is Goose Bumps: The Science of Fear, so visitors can also get the beejeezus scared out of them with loud noises, scary animals, and electric shocks in a controlled environment.
We visited the AZ Science Center on Saturday afternoon with a different goal: to ride the SkyCycle, a yellow bicycle suspended on a thick cable almost 15 feet high, across and over the lobby. We ended up staying for several hours to play with various exhibits, jockeying for position among the hundreds of screaming kids and teenagers.
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The exhibits on the first floor are all about anatomy and psychology, and include a real piece of human brain tissue. The real crowd-pleaser was the video of Stanley Milgram's experiments on obedience, where participants had to administer electric shocks to others on demand. Conducted in the early 1960s, the Milgram experiments now almost resemble a primitive form of the TV show Jackass. People were chuckling at the footage.
Since we're more potty humor enthusiasts than sadists, our favorite activity was this exercise where we had to match blocks of real feces cast in resin to their respective animals. Did you know that pig poop looks an oblong ball of sticky hay?
On the second floor, the main attraction is the SkyCycle. Riders can pedal forward and backward across a 90-foot long cable over the lobby, safely harnessed to the bike with a net beneath them. It's contagious -- once onlookers see someone peddling over their heads, they proclaim something like "Whoa! I wanna do that!" and rush up the stairs.
Visit the Arizona Science Center between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., seven days a week. Admission costs $12 per adult non-member; admission is free for kids age 17 and younger. Call 602-716-2000 for more information.