Megan Orr, Opinions Editor // Illustration by Natalie Heaman
Playing tourist this weekend, my friend and I went to Science World. I was reluctant to spend the $20+ on admission, but there was a sense of nostalgia that drove me to do it. I have never been to Science World here, but the Science Centre back in Calgary was home to many school field trips and weekend adventures when I was a kid. Additionally, this same friend and I made the trip to Edmonton when we were teenagers to their Science Centre for the first Body Works exhibit in Alberta.
The plinko-like display outside of Science World is nearly identical to the one outside of the Science Centre in Edmonton. I was excited. Who knew what wonders awaited us inside – I’m guessing that the front desk people knew there weren’t any, but decided against warning us about it.
First of all, this place is definitely not meant for two adult women, looking for something exciting to do on a Saturday afternoon. We walked into the main area, where there were a bunch of interactive games that didn’t appear to be much more interesting than the ones you would find in a doctor’s waiting room. We weren’t wowed, to say the least. The most interesting thing we found was an explicit video about sex, which we didn’t even get to watch because there was a group of pre-teen boys hogging it. I also found out some interesting facts about myself. I have roughly the same body composition of a woman in her sixties, right down to the dimply bubble butt, front paunch and lopsided breasts, as was depicted in a literal, lifesize golden statue of the female form nearby. Also, I weigh somewhere between a giant beaver and a bighorn sheep. Really just some cool stuff about my body that I wasn’t expecting to have to deal with at Science World.
The two of us, along with all of the young families, featuring screaming children galore, wandered around aimlessly from exhibit to exhibit. I noticed that everything was interactive there, which means that everything is covered in nastyass germs. Any self-respecting adult in their right mind would not even consider touching anything here. Snot-nosed kids were running around, butting in front of us as we were trying to play the Harry Potter song on the giant Big-style floor keyboard. Again, this is not a place for adults. I wonder if people thought it was weird that we were choosing to be there? It was.
The real treat was in realizing, after walking around for half an hour going, ‘Is this it?’ repeatedly, that there was no feature exhibit running. When I asked a volunteer, “Are you between feature exhibits right now?”, I already knew the answer. Like a fool, I checked the website too late, while we were standing there after already paying and saw that their Game Changers exhibit ended on Jan. 9 and their next one, on numbers in nature, which was supposed to have a giant mirror maze, didn’t start until Feb. 22. Her response, “Features are upstairs”. We had just been there, and there was nothing. Then she said, “But it’s empty right now”, to which, I asked my initial question again and she confirmed, confusingly, that I was right. They have no feature for another month and a half.
Now to the point: how can Science World still charge full admission while they have no feature exhibit? Everything else is basically just a playground with science facts – an absolute waste of time. We left immediately and headed to a bar. There was no recouping our losses.
If only I had trusted my instincts in this instance. I was lured in by the exciting idea of doing the Instagram-able mirror maze, or perhaps ending up on a fail compilation somewhere titled, ‘Young woman with the body of a 60-year-old runs into mirrors for 45 minutes straight trying to escape maze at Science World’. I knew, in my heart, that this would not be like the Science Centre of my childhood, but instead, I let myself be convinced that I could still enjoy it as an adult. Of course, I know better. Everything is a huge disappointment once you’re past 17 years old, but it’s rare to find an experience that is so disheartening that it not only ruins your day but also your body image and childhood all at once. Thanks a lot Bill Nye for making me think that science rules, you liar.