What kids like: Most of the displays offer intuitive, easy-to-use interactive components, with big buttons and dials a kid can't resist pushing. The kids we took most enjoyed sitting in front of a tank of water and trying out various tools such as a miniature boat propeller to change the sounds coming through their headphones. Also popular was the soundproof jamming room, with a microphone, percussion instruments and other electronic sound-makers -- all setting the scene for a raucous ad hoc musical romp.
What parents like: This exhibit certainly guarantees at least one hour out of your day when you tell your kids to listen and they will. You'll also want to tune in. The sounds are beautifully done, and you get a chance to witness many moments in nature that would otherwise go unheard by a human ear. From the baconlike snapping noise of a shrimp flexing its "wrist" underwater to the crack of deep ocean arctic ice or the flute-like trill of a thrush, you'll find the show a welcome respite from the
For younger ones: There's a zone for the 6-and-younger crowd offering cool neon green soft building cubes, a wacky concave mirror ("Hey, Mom, I'm upside down!'') and a ball maze that will keep the tots engaged.
Afterward: Check out the museum's gift shop, which is packed with educational toys, visit the Bay View Cafe or step outside to gaze at the Bay and beyond. There are many other exhibits, classes and shows offered throughout the museum. The university neighborhood is always hopping, with trendy boutiques and eateries all along College and Telegraph avenues. (College is probably a little more kid-friendly.)
-- Kari Hulac, staff writer