No Published CaptionSun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.
No Published Caption

Sun staff photos can be ordered by visiting our MyCapture site.

BOSTON -- The Museum of Science is a child's dream -- host to all sorts of interactive exhibits that entertain as much as they teach. When I recently visited, everyone is having a wonderful time building their own claw machines or playing with sound waves, but one exhibit in particular is drawing a lot of attention. The brand new 4-D Theater is lit up with eye-popping neon lights and a couple of red lab-coated employees standing around the entrance. The theater is described as an "experience that combines the visually captivating high-definition capabilities of a 3-D film, with in-theater special effects such as wind and snow."

Once inside, we are told there are three, 15-minute movies that play one right after the other -- Dora & Diego's 4-D Adventure, Happy Feet 4-D Experience and Planet Earth: Shallow Seas 4-D Experience.

Dora & Diego's Adventure is by far the most pleasant. Dora, Diego and Boots follow a robotic butterfly that has swiped habitats from the rainforest animals. Pine scent, wind and bubbles help mimic the act of swinging through the forest as we follow Dora. When Swiper, the thieving fox, shows you a banana he has stolen, not only does it pop out of the screen but you can smell the fruit scent as well. As the gang gets into an airplane, you also feel the vibration of the engine in the theater seats. In the arctic, the audience is startled with a spray of cold water as a whale breeches on screen. Finally, Dora, Diego and Boots return all the swiped habitats, successfully ending the story.


Next, we follow the basic plot of Happy Feet as Mumble struggles to fit in while still trying to be himself. This show introduces a more stressful side of the 4-D installment. At one point, penguins swim at the audience and everyone shrieks as plastic tubing slithers in and out of their legs like snakes. More screams ensue after the audience receives a jab in the back when Mumble gets poked with a harpoon. As unnerving as parts of the film were, the music feature includes exciting light shows and seat vibrations as Mumble dances his way into acceptance.

The last show is the most anticipated. We were warned about the "snakes" that appear during the film and everyone is delightfully terrified. The voice of David Attenborough fills the theater, and the audience settles into an uneasy calm as we enter the ocean. We ride waves with a pod of dolphins and watch a huge starfish devour others in its path. Then come the snakes. Something about the curving of their bodies as they swim towards the screen makes them look incredibly real. We receive another bump in the back as one of the snakes slides by the cameraman. Understandably, the kids are not the only ones who screamed this time.

Overall the 4-D experience was exactly how it was described; a 3-D experience with other special effects included. Kids especially seemed to have a lot of fun interacting with the film -- answering Dora's questions, trying to grab the 3-D objects and yelling when sprayed with water. Clearly this 4-D show deserves five stars for fun and creativity.

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