Trillions of microbes make their homes inside our bodies, and the Delaware Museum of Natural History will introduce you to them! Opening January 27, DMNH’s newest exhibit, Zoo in You: The Human Microbiome, allows guests of all ages to explore this fascinating and complex world inside us that is our microbiome—a dynamic, adaptable, and delicately balanced ecosystem much like any other found in nature.
At Zoo in You, guests can learn who our constant microbial companions are, where they live, how diverse they are, and in what ways scientists are discovering just how important they are to our personal health. Zoo in You has three thematic areas: Meet the Microbes, Our Complex Ecosystems, and Exploring our Microbiome:
Meet the Microbes
Guests are taken on an interactive journey to learn all about the four major types of microbes that live in and on us! From bacteria to archaea, fungi to viruses, these tiny non-human organisms outnumber our human cells ten to one. Through hands-on activities, visitors can learn about “good” microbes, watch how our microbiome reacts to every day occurrences, and manipulate a marble maze to learn how a newborn baby is first colonized by microbes.
Our Complex Ecosystems
Delve deeper into the lives of microbes with green screen technology to get a “weather report” on the climate conditions of your nose, mouth, gut or skin, and a touch-screen video game that challenges guests to keep gut microbes in balance. Adults and kids alike are invited to explore the eye-opening hand “washing” station to observe just how long it takes to be free of germs.
Exploring Our Microbiome
Guests can get up close and personal with microbes as they answer tough questions and use a microscope to examine real preserved specimens. Visitors can also build their own viruses using puzzle pieces, assemble DNA strands as quickly as possible, and even try their hand at matching DNA patterns to the correct microbes. Plus, a unique photo opportunity allows guests to imagine what they would look like as a microbe.
Zoo in You was produced and is toured by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. This exhibit was made possible by a Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Locally, Zoo in You is sponsored by DuPont and the Delaware College Investment Plan.