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Destination: 'Grossology and You' at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Posted December 11, 2014
Updated December 12, 2014

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in Chapel Hill is known for its shows that focus on the stars, planets and galaxies.

But it's a science center too, with popular and free Science Live! programs, monthly science cafes for teens and exhibits. Last month, Morehead premiered its latest fulldome planetarium show and first show that doesn't focus on astronomy and space science.

"Grossology and You" is based on the best-selling Grossology series written by Sylvia Branzei and illustrated by Jack Keely. Morehead also opened up a companion exhibit. Gross Labs explores careers that focus on our body systems.

Before I go any further, let's get right to the point. The movie and exhibit are aptly named. They are gross. There's talk of farts, burps, zits, poop, snot and other matters that are not usually part of polite conversations. 

The animated movie's stars are Scabby, a giant scab; Boogie, a slimy booger; and Flatus, who basically looks like a BM. They competein a game show to determine which of the body's systems are the most important - respiratory, immune and digestive.

You'll see things like exploding pimples, learn more about boils than you might have wanted and hear jokes that involve words like anus.

Anybody who has been anywhere near preschoolers and young grade schoolers has heard it all before - though likely not with the scientific facts that are part of the movie.

"It can make kids feel a little more comfortable to talk about their bodies," said Nick Eakes, a Morehead science educator.

The movie runs a little less than an hour. Morehead rates it as best for ages 8 to 13, but my five-year-old enjoyed it as much as my nine-year-old.

Once you're done with the show, you can head over to Gross Labs, a very interactive exhibit where kids can pretend to apply for jobs such as "poop analyzer" and "snot surveyor." The small exhibit in a former classroom lets kids explore the various shapes and sizes of poop; see how many germs are in common household objects like sponges and cell phones; and find out what kind of foods give us all gas in an exhibit that includes fart sounds (and an "excuse me").

It's all in the name of good fun and education. The exhibit connects visitors to real-world science careers that explore germs and body functions.

Admission to Gross Labs is free. Planetarium show tickets are $7.68 for adults and $6.51 for seniors, students and children.

Morehead Planetarium is open on a weekend schedule during the winter, but will be open extra days during the holidays. Those days include this Friday, Dec. 22-Dec. 23, Dec. 26, Dec. 29-Dec. 31, and Jan. 2. "Grossology and You" will be at Morehead through February.

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