Until November the St. Louis Science Center gives you the opportunity to travel to ancient Pompeii, Italy. Italy is the top of my bucket list, so I take any chance to get closer to the country, plus who doesn’t have a fascination with this city that was wiped out in a day! While my grandfather was in town we took the whole family to check out the exhibit!
When you first enter, you are in ancient Italy before the volcano eruption. Straight away you are greeted by a beautiful fountain with light effects that mimic water reflections. All around are artifacts and information about home life in Pompeii, from decorative gods to somewhat functional furniture. The diet is described in detail, including some not so appetizing sounding seasoning called garum, made of rotten fermented fish (blech). Besides the garum, you get the feeling, as long as you weren’t a servant, life in Pompeii was good!
For my aspiring engineer daughter the computer generated walkthrough of the typical Pompeii home was particularly exciting. Most of the house was built around an outdoor courtyard, which featured artistic and sometimes odd fountains.
Another room introduces you to city life shopping and the sophisticated economy of the area. My daughters had fun using the scales and examining the money system. There are also giant backdrops that make for great photo ops in this room!
In the next room there are busts of prominent leaders and information about theater. Be wary, there is also a section about sexual life, that lucky is cordoned off and clearly marked, so you can keep the kiddos clear!
Then you go into my favorite room, the theater. I won’t give away any surprises, but you will really leave with a feeling of what it might have been like to be in Pompeii on the day of the eruption.
When you leave the theater you open up into a room of the natural formed casts of the victims. This may be disturbing and upsetting for young children. Shoot it was unsettling for me, as you saw whole families huddled together and small children. How you think your child might handle that room should be a serious consideration on whether you visit or not. Personally, I want my children to respect the fragility of being human and feel empathy. Though they were somber, both girls handled it well.
This experience is not free like the rest of the museum. An adult ticket is $19.95 and children are $14.95, but it is much cheaper if you are a Science Center member. The experience is worth it and will be etched in your memory for years to come. Get there before the exhibit is gone in November, or watch for it to come to your town.