Animal Inside Out is Gunther van Hagens' must see exhibition of 2016 with over 100 REAL preserved animals and specimens. You can visit the exhibition during Life's normal opening hours and entry is included with the centre's regular admission.
Due to the nature of the exhibition, it is recommended for children aged 8 and over. Life do advise that you know your children best and don't place any restrictions should you wish to take younger children with you. My three children are aged 5, 7 and 9 and are very curious about the world around them. They aren't particularly sensitive and I discussed what they would see beforehand and they were all excited.
I've included a few images from the exhibition to give you an idea of what to expect. There were lots of children there when we visited and it didn't feel gruesome at all to us.
|Blood vessel capillaries|
|Inside a human bone|
I think the horse and bear were perhaps what could be considered the most disturbing but my three didn't raise an eyebrow, in fact the biggest comment was we couldn't believe how huge the bear was.
|Inside a rabbit|
|Capillaries of an Ostrich|
I think it's important to point out that no animals were harmed in the making of this exhibition - it has all been possible thanks to links to zoos and veterinary schools.
The final part of the exhibition really took our breath away - the elephant in particular was stunning and we couldn't get over the scale of it. Again the kids were just as fascinated as us and we were faced with a barrage of questions as we walked around.
|Cross section of a cow|
Heidi (7) did make a few comments as we walked around, especially when faced with parts of her favourite animals (especially the cats). She wasn't upset but just a bit sad that they were no longer alive I think. All three children thoroughly enjoyed the exhibition though and it is such a good place to start conversations around anatomy that may not have happened otherwise (yes including how you can tell an animal is male or female).
From a grown up perspective I think this has been my favourite ever exhibition at Life. I studied Biology at A Level (and then part of a Genetics degree) and it certainly reignited my passion. I think if I had attended this exhibition as a child myself I would have left feeling inspired and possibly even encouraged to follow a career down this route.
There is so much more to enjoy.......
|Conducting experiments in the Experiment Zone|
We loved the Planetarium & watched 'Live Skies' which is a 30 minute guided tour around the stars, planets and international space station above us. This was a lovely immersive experience and the host was funny and enthusiastic. We have certainly been encouraged to re-visit Kielder and check out the dark skies again. Apparently you can see around 3000 stars here compared to about 40 stars in the city centre. Amazing!
|Jack's having fun creating music|
|Heidi is setting up a system of cogs|
If you visit, I would highly recommend dining in the cafe. Food is fresh, reasonably priced and they stock Canny shakes which are a local business who donate 5% of thier profits back to Science at Life.
In conclusion, I think you know your own child. If they are curious, ask questions and don't have a sensitive nature, I think they will love Animal Inside Out and I would 100% recommend taking a trip. When they say this exhibition is 'must-see' I definitely agree and think you would be mad to miss out on an opportunity like this to hopefully inspire your children or at the very least start lots of conversations around life and anatomy.
Life Science Centre hosted a blogger's afternoon and we were provided with complimentary tickets. We were not obliged to write about our experience. All thoughts are our own.