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Wichita’s Exploration Place summer exhibit is all about dogs


Exploration Place’s new summer exhibit, Dogs! A Science Tail opens on May 27 and ends on September 5. Guests will discover how dogs navigate by learning how they see, smell and relate to humans. (May 21, 2022)

The Wichita Eagle

Exploration Place is going to dogs this summer.

The traveling exhibition “Dogs! A Science Tail” – which includes a robotic demonstration dog, photos of local dogs and areas where visitors can compare their senses and abilities to dogs and even build a dog – is on display at the science center until September 5 .

Alongside the exhibit, a 47-minute film about six service dogs called “Superpower Dogs” is shown in the IMAX dome at Exploration Place. Additionally, a rescue dog stunt team, which appeared on “America’s Got Talent!” will feature 13 shows from June 16-19 at Exploration Place’s outdoor festival plaza, which will include a purpose-built 35,000-gallon pool.

Kansas families with children in K-12 can visit Exploration Place for free with one-time, all-access passes through the state’s Sunflower Summer program, which runs through August 14. Families can download the Kansas-funded Sunflower Summer app. Department of Education, to request passes. Several other attractions also participate in the program. The all-access pass includes movie tickets at the dome. Tickets to the Canine Dogs Stunt Show, $8 discounted, sold separately.

Exploration Place’s new summer exhibit, Dogs! A Science Tail opens May 27 and ends September 5. A guest looks through a simulation that shows what a dog sees and hears. (May 21, 2022) Jaime Green The Wichita Eagle

The exhibit, created by the California Science Center, is fully bilingual, with all storyboards, visuals, and narration in English and Spanish.

“We don’t get many exhibitions that are done 50/50 like this,” said Victoria Mitchell, Director of Exhibitions and Programming.

For Adam Smith and Mitchell, who have direct experience with dogs, visiting the exhibit while on a run in Albuquerque helped them learn even more about dogs.

“The greatest thing about this exhibit for me as a dog lover and owner for 35 years was simply the amount of empathy it created for me for my dogs,” said Smith, President and CEO. from the direction of Exploration Place. “Someone told me that dogs have bad eyesight, but I didn’t know how bad it was until this show. I was able to understand how they need to use their hearing and smell, which compared to humans are superpowers and are really important to them.

Mitchell, who had worked in a veterinary clinic for six years, said she, too, learned a lot.

The exhibition includes several games, interactive and tactile stations and a lot of information on the origins of dogs, their experience of the world and the care of dogs.

Among the games: Test your running speed against the dogs and others (Olympic champion Usain Bolt, for example), play some Jeopawdy tricks as told by the host of the quiz show “Jeopardy”, today Now deceased, Alex Trebek (called Alex Trebark), guess the tasks of certain dogs, such as a therapy dog, a sheepdog or a bomb-sniffing dog, based on their descriptions, and teach commands with your voice and your bodily actions to a virtual dog.

“I run as fast as a Pomeranian or a typical 10-year-old kid (according to the running game chart), so I’m not a fast runner,” Mitchell admitted.

To include local dogs in the exhibit, Exploration Place curated 1,000 photos submitted by local dog owners into the Wichita flag design. Visitors can also upload photos of their dogs to a pin-accessible website and the photos will be displayed digitally on one of five screens in an exhibit section.

In the dog breeding exhibition section, visitors can build their own dog with model parts, depending on what different body features can do, such as long and droopy ears, medium tails and thick tails.

At least twice a day, Aibo, a fully robotic dog that learns and acts in real time, will give demonstrations.

“She’s insanely cool and she’s so cute,” Mitchell said. “She’s plastic with no fur but she walks like a dog, talks like a dog, blinks, wags her tail and is as realistic as you can get for a robot.” Aibo can also snuggle up when held.

Exploration Place’s new summer exhibit, Dogs! A Science Tail opens May 27 and runs until September 5. Guests will experience how dogs navigate their way by learning how they see, smell and bond with humans. (May 21, 2022) Jaime Green The Wichita Eagle

The IMAX film “Superpower Dogs” tells true stories of six different assistance dogs, including an avalanche rescue dog and a pair of bloodhounds who help save endangered species in Africa. The film is narrated by actor Chris Evans, who played Captain America in the Marvel Universe film series.

For the canine stunt shows presented by the Canine Stars team, Exploration Place will erect a 35,000 gallon pool where the dogs will perform diving tricks. During the 13 shows spread over four days, the adopted dogs will also perform other stunts rarely performed by an everyday companion dog.

Shows will take place at Exploration Place Festival Plaza, an outdoor space next to the science center, at 10:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. daily June 16-19 and a 6:00 p.m. show on Thursdays during the museum’s nighttime hours. Dog show tickets, $8 discounted, are sold separately from museum admission tickets.

‘Dogs! A Science Tail exhibition

When: until September 5

Where: Exploration Place, 300 N. McLean

Hours: 10am-5pm Monday-Wednesday, Friday-Saturday; 10am-8pm Thursday

Admission: Exhibition only: $11.50 for ages 12 to 64, $10 for ages 65 and over, $8 for ages 3 to 11, and free for ages 2 and under and members. All-access pass, which includes tickets to the IMAX movie “Superpower Dogs”: $17.50 ages 12-64, $15 ages 65+, $12 ages 3-11, and free for ages 2 and under and the members. Kansas families with children under 12 can get free one-time passes to Exploration Place using the Sunflower Summer program ( until August 14.

More information: 316-660-0600,