Film buffs will need to beware. Their curiosity about how movie monsters are made will be quenched with Exploration Place’s newest traveling exhibit, “How to Make a Monster: The Art and Technology of Animatronics.”


Film buffs will need to beware. Their curiosity about how movie monsters are made will be quenched with Exploration Place’s newest traveling exhibit, “How to Make a Monster: The Art and Technology of Animatronics.”

Exploration Place visitors will experience the behind-the-scenes visual effects that are used to make these creepy creatures. Gaining the insight about such techniques as sculpting, fur blending and the design/installation of animatronic components might even inspire some to create their own creature feature, according to an Exploration Place news release.

Exhibit highlights include:

• A visitor will become a puppeteer, maneuvering “Junior” the dinosaur, and studying how the creature’s internal mechanisms work.

• Visitors will create different moods and tone using lighting effects, such as color, direction and UV.

• Visitors will learn the intricate steps it takes to craft an always-fascinating animal: the werewolf.

• Visitors will touch the guts of an alien from the movie “Pitch Black.”

• A visitor will control a site gag and discover how stunt work, animatronics and split-second editing produce a comical scene.

“How to Make a Monster” features the work of Visual Effects Academy Award Winner (for the movie “Babe”), John Cox and his company John Cox’s Creature Workshop, based in Australia (John Cox’s Creature Workshop Pty Ltd. : Design and Fabrication of Static and Articulated Characters).

Cox has more than 30 years of experience in the visual effect industry — his company specializes in the concept, design and manufacture of fantasy creatures, characters and realistic animals. Large-scale projects include “Nell’s Island,” “Hook,” “Scooby Doo,” “Crocodile Dundee in LA,” “Pitch Black” and “Jackie Chan’s First Strike.”

“How to Make a Monster” is included in general museum admission and is free for EP Members. The exhibition will be at Exploration Place through Jan. 10.

Exploration Place offers visitors of all ages interactive environments, hands-on experiences, Kansas’ largest domed theater, imaginative spaces and outdoor recreation, all located on a 20-acre site along the scenic Arkansas River in downtown Wichita. It will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in 2010.

New Year’s at Noon

Exploration Place will feature New Year’s at Noon from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

Wrap up your holiday season with this event for the entire family, the price of which is included in general museum admission; it is free for members.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., activities located in the Grand Hall include:

• Face painting.

• Moonboun-ce/slide.

• Disc jockey.

• Clowns.

• Popcorn.

• Cotton candy.

At 10:30 a.m., there will be Bubble Fest activities:

Science of the Bubble Presentation — Find out the facts about bubbles while making bubble wands, bubble painting, and studying geometric bubble shapes. At 11 a.m., see the Bubble Man performance. At 11:30 a.m., bubble stations open. There will be bubble painting in Grand Hall, bubble wands in Discovery Room 1 and geometric bubble shapes in the FETCH! Lab. The stations close at 2 p.m.

At 11:45 a.m., head to the Grand Hall for the “countdown to noon” and dramatic balloon drop.

Climate change exhibit

“DOUBLEXPOSURE: Photographing Climate Change Traveling Exhibition” also is on display.

Global warming is a hot topic today, and it generates a heated discussion with many people. With this traveling exhibition, visitors will see this discussion come to life as they view dramatic photos of glaciers in Alaska and Switzerland. Visitors will compare one set of photos taken in the early and mid-1900s by mountaineer Bradford Washburn, to a newer set taken between 2005 and 2007 by writer/photographer David Arnold.

After seeing these photographs visitors will decide for themselves if this is tangible evidence global warming exists.

“DOUBLEXPOSURE” also includes recommendations on how to make our society more “green” with the hope that these efforts will ease any drain on our natural resources.

This exhibition was produced in partnership with the Boston Museum of Science.

The exhibit will be at Exploration Place through Jan. 10.